The Union Recorder

April 23, 2013

Jury duty hoax calls frustrate locals

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —

Starting Wednesday, April 18, court clerks and sheriff’s offices across Georgia began receiving concerned calls relating to missed jury duty. The number warning the listener of serious punishment turned out to be a hoax.

Citizens in Baldwin and adjacent counties began receiving telephone calls or text messages notifying them of missed jury duty suggesting an immediate call to 704-319-7254, according to Baldwin Superior Court Clerk and Jury Manager Rosemary Phillips.

Those calling the number hear a male voice stating that multiple jury summons have been ignored via the United Postal Service and email, which is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Then, the voice tells the caller to choose a fine or prison sentence. 

“Most people get in a panic when they hear ‘you didn’t show up for jury duty, and you have to arrange for 30 days in jail or pay a $500 fine’,” Phillips said. 

At the end of the message, the voice announces the call is a joke, urging call recipients to pass the number on to others.

The prank call via humorhotlines.com served as an annoyance for the Baldwin County clerk’s office last week. The court related prank is a first for Phillips.

“It’s the first time in 46 years I’ve had it happen,” she said. 

Neither the clerk’s office nor sheriff’s office send text or email messages to communicate with jurors. Jury subpoenas are mailed between three and four weeks ahead of trial dates.

“We only communicate with jurors through the mail unless someone has missed a court date,” Phillips said. “Then, the sheriff’s office contacts them directly not like the call was saying to do.”

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