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Tell it to the judge; jury no-shows get a stern lecture

Ever had to do jury duty? Some of us would rather go to the dentist. But you may want to think twice about ignoring that order to report.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:

TAMPA — If you're one of the 387 people who skipped jury duty Monday morning in Hillsborough County, be warned:

A judge is coming after you.

Struggling to seat a panel for trial, Circuit Judge Gregory Holder decided he would do something to show Monday's no-shows there are consequences for dodging duty.

He issued an "order to show cause," which will summon absentees to a hearing Nov. 4 for questioning. Those without legitimate excuses could be fined $100 or put in jail for six months for contempt of court. If Monday's absentees don't show up that day, Holder said he will issue arrest warrants.

Skip O' Rourke / St. Petersburg Times viaAP

Circuit Judge Gregory Holder holds a jury summons as he addresses a room full of residents who did not show up for jury duty last month on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex in Tampa, Fla. The group of 246 people got a stern lecture on responsibility and a civics lessons from Judge Holder, who made sure everyone stood and recited the "Pledge of Allegiance" first.



Skip O' Rourke / St. Petersburg Times via AP

Dovay Compton explains to Circuit Judge Gregory Holder why he did not show up for jury duty during a summons for residents who did not show up for jury duty last month on Friday, Nov. 4.

Skip O' Rourke / St. Petersburg Times via AP

People raise their hands to affirm they would attend jury duty in January 2012 in response to Circuit Judge Gregory Holder, as he addresses residents who did not show up for jury duty last month on Friday, Nov. 4.