- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - About 1,800 New Castle County residents have received unusually urgent jury duty summons.

The News Journal reports (https://delonline.us/LjfUTg ) that officials are blaming a system error for summons giving people less than two weeks’ notice, instead of the usual month. With the jury form, residents received an unusual letter in which jury manager Andrew J. Brennan apologizes for the short notice “due to certain circumstances.”

A “system error” related to drawing potential jurors from a new list of Delaware drivers and voters meant more than a week of juror summonses weren’t sent out, said Superior Court Administrator Maureen Frederick. It is unclear whether it was a computer or human error.

Once the mistake was discovered, Frederick said urgent notices were sent to make sure the Superior Court had enough prospective jurors. Officials are investigating what went wrong and taking steps to make sure it won’t happen again, she said.

“We apologize for any inconvenience,” Frederick said. “These things happen.”

It is important for prospective jurors who received the short-notice summons contact jury services if they cannot serve, Frederick said.

Mark Fisher of Brandywine Hundred, who received one of the urgent notices, said “it created immediate anxiety with juggling family and work.” But he was able to work it out and push his service until July.

“I contacted jury services and they were more than willing to postpone my summons date,” he said.


Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., https://www.delawareonline.com

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