INDIANAPOLIS – Seventeen people who either missed jury duty or ignored court summons face arrest as part of a crackdown by Marion County's superior court judges.
The judges, who issued the warrants Tuesday, hope the prospect of an arrest for contempt of court will spur more potential jurors to respond when they're called to duty.
Despite months of publicity and public-service ads about the get-tough policy, the county's no-show rate for potential jurors remains at just below 50 percent.
"People have a responsibility to respond. We're talking about taxpayers' money and the inconvenience of people who do show up. It bogs down the system," said Glenn Lawrence, the court's administrator.
The warrants issued include nine people who ignored summonses to mass court hearings called in November for people who missed jury duty from Oct. 22 to 26. Another eight showed up to those hearings, received a new jury assignment — and then didn't show up again.
Court officials declined to release the 17 names, but Lawrence said he might make them public later this week.
Once the individuals surrender or are arrested, they will be processed at the jail and will then have to pay $50 to satisfy the $500 bond set for each, officials said. Each person is being held in indirect contempt of court and will get a hearing date.
The sentence for indirect contempt, neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, is entirely up to a judge's discretion, but could mean community service or even jail time.
Those being targeted were among more than 200 people who failed to show up to the mass hearings in November, out of 325 summoned. The current crackdown involves cases where someone from the person's home signed for the certified mail, signaling they knew of the hearing.