Final week of Circuit Court term opens

The third and final week of the fall term of Oktibbeha County Circuit Court is scheduled to begin this morning at the Courthouse Annex on West Main Street.
Both judges Lee Howard and Jim Kitchens are scheduled to be on the bench this week.
Court officials want to remind registered voters who are summoned for jury duty this week to be present at the Courthouse Annex this morning. The reminder comes after problems in previous court terms with residents summoned for jury duty failing to appear in Circuit Court.
The only excuses for being relieved of jury duty are medical reasons, being over age 65 or having personal hardship. A personal hardship that would excuse a person from jury duty means a person owns his or her own business and would have to close in order to serve, not being off from work.
One common problem court officials have encountered in the past is that many residents do not open the jury summons sent to them by mail, said Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis.
“We have to be able to seat jury panels as necessary for Circuit Court proceedings,” McGinnis said.
Any residents who do not report at the designated time Monday for jury duty forfeit any pay they would have received for the day, McGinnis said.
“People summoned for jury duty need to now that if they do not show up, they can be held by the judge in contempt of court and be subject to being fined or imprisoned at the judge’s discretion,” McGinnis said.
Anyone with questions about a jury summons or jury duty requirements can call the Circuit Clerk’s Office at 323-1356.
Because of construction of the new Oktibbeha County School District administrative building adjacent to the Courthouse Annex, portions of the parking lot have been shut off from public access.
Those reporting for jury duty are asked to park at nearby Griffin United Methodist Church on West Main Street through an arrangement court officials have made with church leaders. The church is located less than a block from the Courthouse Annex.
Those not visiting the Courthouse Annex for official business are also asked to park elsewhere in the downtown area, McGinnis said.