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Man volunteers for jury duty, upset by number of no-shows

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REDDING, Calif. - Ronald Lovell heard about the number of people in Shasta County failing to answer their summons for jury duty.

Frustrated that this is so common, he decided to volunteer his service.

"Someone who's committed a heinous crime walking free simply because people didn't show up for jury duty, that's not acceptable," Lovell said. "You're turning this person loose to do this again and you're making a mockery of the justice system."

He wanted people to think about if it were their family member that was targeted by the criminal that was then set free because of a dismissal.

Lovell said jury duty is "the last real grip where we're effective in what takes place in our government."

He adds that this is one of the few things citizens can do to help with the crime and he notices some people that complain about crime are also skipping jury duty.

"It seems to me that the same people that complain about the government are the same people that don't bother to vote and the same people that complain that they have jury duty," Lovell said.

He called the Shasta County Courthouse and asked to be marked down as someone who will actually show up for jury duty when they need more people.

His idea is to make a list or "pool" of Shasta County residents who are willing to serve when needed.

Court Executive Officer Melissa Fowler Bradley said the number of people that don't show up has increased across the state in recent years.

She said the June summary showed about a 50 percent attendance rate. That means half the people either failed to appear or got an approved excuse. Bradley said 50 percent for June was a good month. Often times its near 30 or 40 percent.

If you fail to appear, your fine can be anywhere from $250 for a first offense to $1,500 for multiple offenses.

Bradley said although there may not be enough volunteers to start the kind of "pool" Lovell suggested, there is already an option to volunteer for jury duty.

You must have the following qualifications:

- Legal U.S. Citizen

- At least 18 years old

- A resident of the county

- No felony convictions

- Not currently serving on a grand jury

- Sufficient knowledge of English

- Not subject to conservatorship

If you qualify, you can volunteer by calling Jury Services at (530) 225-5645.

Once you have put your name on the volunteer list, you should be summoned within the following weeks.

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