Circuit court clerk: Missed jury duty message is prank

Published 3:31 pm Monday, June 3, 2013

A message circulating about missed jury duty in Chilton County is a prank.

Chilton County Circuit Court Clerk Glenn McGriff urges residents to remember that any communication about jury duty would come directly from his office–and to never give out personal information over the phone or through email.

“This is not the way we do business,” McGriff said about the prank.

Several residents have reported receiving text messages about missed jury duty. One such message was obtained by The Clanton Advertiser and read:

“The Chilton County Courthouse had your name on a failure to appear list in the newspaper. There is a 24hr number to tell you why. Call ASAP.”

The message also contained a number to call. When dialed, a recording tells the caller about an “urgent message” from the “National Justice Center” about missed jury duty.

The caller is given the option to either pay a $500 fine or set up a 30-day prison sentence. However, the caller eventually is given a message to “forward this number to your top 10 most gullible friends and attempt to trick them into thinking this is a real failure to appear message, in much the same way that whoever has given you this number has apparently tricked you.”

The call ends with a laughing noise.

McGriff said the prank serves as a good reminder to residents about how the jury duty process works.

“We don’t do that; we don’t run people’s names in the paper,” McGriff said. “You can call me or anybody in my office and we’ll excuse you, if you have a good enough excuse. We’re not going to have you arrested, and we’re not going to send people out to get you.

“True jury duty is serious, and if you’re not excused, you’re expected to attend. But this is a scam.”