SUMMIT COUNTY - One by one, over 30 jurors were called before a judge in Summit County Thursday. Instead of helping to reach a verdict, they found themselves the center of a possible punishment.
The jurors were suppose to be a part of a jury pool consisting of 96 jurors in all, 36 failed to appear. The case is a high profile one involving three Vernal men accused of raping a 9-year-old girl. The case was moved to Summit County, but when not enough jurors showed, the judge was forced to declare a mistrial.
"There seems to be an administrative issue," said Walter Bennett, a juror.
Bennett and over half the jurors who appeared Thursday claimed they didn't receive a yellow slip in the mail. The slip is a jury summons request. On the back is a step-by-step process of what to do next. That slip comes in a packet that includes a questionnaire. Many of the jurors say they got the questionnaire, just not the yellow slip.
"My wife saw something on the news this morning and said, 'ohh, you're in trouble,'" Bennett joked.
In fact, a handful of jurors were in trouble. Two no-showed once again. That forced the judge to issue $500 bench warrants for their arrest. Other jurors received 8 hours of community service. Still, the majority were excused without punishment. Some of them seemed to have legitimate excuses.
"Although we like to believe the individuals who told the judge they didn't get a yellow card, we're fairly certain that yellow cards were included in all the packets," said Geoffrey Fattah, Communications Director for Utah State Courts. However, Fattah did admit that since the court case was moved from Vernal to Summit county, some of the paperwork may have been confusing to the jurors.