Ottawa County,OK-Getting a summons for jury duty is probably the last thing Walmart shoppers expected to get in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. However, the county was short jurors, and while public summons are rare, there wasn't any other way around it.
Shoppers at the Walmart location off Highway 69 in Ottawa County were greeted by police presence Tuesday, but not for reasons you may think.
"There is no way we can get these out by mail, get them returned, get the court clerk notified, get the judges office notified,” said Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Detective Derek Derwin.
20 citizens were handed jury summons for an upcoming court case.
Because of the short turn around for the case, the court needed to assemble a jury quickly. Potential jurors were handed the order to appear while walking through the Walmart doors.The selection process was completely random.
Traditionally, jury summons are sent out from the mail from the court clerk at the Ottawa County courthouse, but officials say that takes a back seat when it comes to mental health hearings.
Detective Derwin says cases like these are rare, and the last time the office served summons in public places was more than 4 years ago.
"Most jury dockets are scheduled a year in advance. So we know when one jury docket is coming and the next. In a case like this, we don't know when this jury trial is coming, and it's usually very fast notice," he explained.
Detective Derwin also says the response from the summons seems relatively positive, but it's more about your right as an American.
"It's a civic duty for a citizen to serve on a jury."
According to Derwin, citizens do not have to be registered to vote to be selected for jury duty, but must live in the county, and must not have any felony convictions.