Posted 8/11/15 (Tue)
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
On Monday, Aug. 3, many Watford City business employees were caught off guard or a bit surprised when a member of the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office was out on Main Street summoning prospective jury members.
“Some of the jurors who were summoned to appear for jury duty on Monday morning did not appear,” said Northwest Judicial District Judge Robin Schmidt. “Without an adequate amount of prospective jurors, a trial cannot proceed forward. Therefore, I asked the Sheriff’s Office to bring seven random, qualified jurors to the courthouse so we could move forward with the trial.”
Unfortunately, that meant that the prospective jurors were forced to take more time out of their day than they normally would have and were asked to return to the courthouse at a later time that morning.
“The Sheriff’s deputy quickly brought seven people to the courthouse and we proceeded with the trial,” stated Schmidt. “Monday’s events highlight why it is so important to appear when you are summoned for jury duty. Failure to appear negatively impacts litigants, law enforcement, and your fellow McKenzie County residents who do appear when summoned for jury duty.”
According to McKenzie County State’s Assistant Attorney Stephenie Davis, the right to a trial by jury is held as one of the most vital in the criminal process. Thus serving as a juror is one of the most important roles citizens can play in the justice system.
“The State’s Attorney’s Office appreciates Judge Schmidt using her judicial discretion in requesting the Sheriff’s deputies to locate additional qualified jurors,” said Davis. “And to the Sheriff’s deputies for taking the time to do so. Additional thanks to the people who responded to their summons for juror duty and to the seven people who agreed to serve when asked by the Sheriff. Without them, this case could not have moved forward.”
“I want to thank all of the McKenzie County residents who have appeared for jury duty,” Schmidt added. “Whether or not they are chosen to actually serve on the jury, their presence is vital to the administration of justice.”