Woman 'humiliated' by arrest for missing jury duty

A 64-year-old woman was drinking coffee in her pajamas when deputies arrived earlier this year. She eventually was handcuffed, placed in a patrol car and photographed at a jail.
AP Wire
May 15, 2014

 

Lydia Bell's offense? Missing jury duty in Traverse City — two years ago.

Bell was shocked by the arrest. She wasn't living in Michigan when a jury summons was sent by mail. She explained it to Grand Traverse County Judge Philip Rodgers on April 7, but he still ordered her to pay $50.

Weeks later, the experience still stings.

"I was humiliated big time," Bell told The Associated Press.

Bell and her husband had lived on a busy road in the Traverse City area and relied on a post office box, not their rickety roadside mailbox. She figures the jury notice was placed in the mailbox in 2012, months after they had moved to Oregon.

County Clerk Bonnie Scheele declined to comment on Bell's case Tuesday but said members of a jury pool must notify the court if they move. Bell apparently had filled out a questionnaire months earlier that qualified her for jury service.

Bell moved back to Michigan, settling in DeWitt, near Lansing. Clinton County deputies visited in late March or early April and said there was a warrant for her arrest in Grand Traverse County, 175 miles away.

Bell posted $500 bail and reported to the northern Michigan court. She got her bail money back but still had to pay a $50 fine, plus lodging, food and gas for the trip to Traverse City.

"What am I supposed to learn from this?" Bell said.

Comments

Beach Gal

Judge Rodgers is a first-rate A-hole. The voters should remove him from office.

mlouiswolf

It's hard to come up with a more dangerous animal on this planet, than a self-righteous judge.

Vladtheimp

Hmmm - the government can find a 64 year old Michigan woman who moved to Oregon and then returned, and place her in handcuffs for missing a jury duty summons, but the government can't identify the millions of illegal aliens in the country and release murderers, child molesters, kidnappers, and drunk drivers they have somehow caught.

Anybody see anything wrong with this picture?

jlebrasseur

I hate to admit this, but I actually agree with you for once.

Interestedreader

What is she supposed to learn? Its what everyone else can learn from this miscarriage of justice,where's Judge Judy?

Harry Kovaire

She should have learned to speak Spanish, then pretend not to understand English.

No problemo.

Back to the Wall

What to learn?
Fill out a change of address form at the Post Office and get your mail forwarded.
Learn that.

LessThanAmused

Didn't take the time to read the whole article eh?

"Bell and her husband had lived on a busy road in the Traverse City area and relied on a post office box, not their rickety roadside mailbox. She figures the jury notice was placed in the mailbox in 2012, months after they had moved to Oregon".

So, you infer what isn't there and don't read what is? There's more to reading than just sounding out the words.

Nowhere in the article does it say that they didn't fill out a change of address form at the local post office. A reasonably intelligent person could make the assumption that they would've done that knowing that they wouldn't get ANY mail at their new address if they didn't. Do you really think the Post Office is an infallible entity? I could speculate that it was an overpaid post office flunky that put the letter in the wrong slot. Another job, that based on skill level, should be paying minimum wage.

Another thing to consider, that isn't mentioned is when was the letter mailed? Why is that a mystery? That should be easy as pie to determine. Was it two months before they left, or two months after they left? If they had it set up to get their mail from a P.O. box why would they bother to check a mailbox that shouldn't be being used? Even if they hadn't left for Oregon yet the letter could've set out there for weeks in their unused mailbox due, again, to a failure of delivery as requested by the customer.

The big problem I have with this is the line about having to notify the court when I move.....what country is this again? I have to report to the courts when I move out of state? Not gonna happen, really none of the court's business assuming I'm just your typical citizen and not a felon. If I'm not available, move on to the next candidate in your "pool". Maybe she failed to follow this heavy-handed edict and that's where the problem lies and why these idiots at the court house used their time, resources and incurred the expense to hunt her down, arrest her and then add insult to injury by fining her a measly 50 bucks. Certainly not a large enough sum to cover the expenses concurred during the thrill of the chase. This is a small, but perfect example of why things are so majorly screwed up in the justice system.

How can you reasonably hold someone responsible for a correspondence they never received? If it's deemed necessary to notify the courts before you move (something that'd be easy to forget about during the chaos of moving) then wouldn't it be easier to treat jury notifications the same way that summons are treated? Someone comes to your house with a letter that you have to sign for.....pretty hard to say you didn't get it then and just as hard to ignore the fact that the person you looking for doesn't live there any longer and make note of it. Probably be a lot cheaper and less time intensive than the circus they ran this lady thru for a whopping 50 bucks.

A more paranoid individual would say it's just another part of the conspiracy to control the populace. I'm more inclined to think myself that it's just basic incompetence. And remember, these are the people in charge of justice and they can't even get notifications delivered without failures.

Is there really anybody here who believes this situation couldn't have been handled in a more humanistic fashion, without arresting this 64 year old woman and putting her in handcuffs?? Where the h*** was she going to run to? Did she have a record as a violent offender? This so overkill it's not funny. All the monkeys involved in this debacle should be ashamed of themselves.

Straightjacket

Just commit a felony and you never have to worry about being on that list again.

TooMuch

What prompted them to go after her in the first place? The police didn't randomly pick her out of their hat and chase her down. As usual The Tribune isn't telling us the whole story. She was pulled over for something else or something else came up and the warrant was on rhe record. A comedy of errors I suppose starting with the Postperson for delivering the notice to a rickety old mailbox. A zealous policeperson which is the most outrageous in this scenario and a crappy Judge to make it worse. She probably didn't know the warrant was there until the moment of the incident in which the second action occurred.

 

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