Jacob Clark recently checked the mailbox at his home and found a jury summons in his name. Nothing seems out of the ordinary with that sentence does it? Of course not, until you find out that Clark is only nine years old. Clark had the best reason to get out of the jury duty summons, tell the jury commission office your age. Clark’s father, Robby, made the phone call for Jacob though. Jacob does get nervous when talking to adults on the telephone, which made it easier for Robby to handle the conversation. Another reason why Robby made the call is that Jacob does not return home from Station Avenue Elementary School in West Yarmouth until around 4 p.m, according to the Cape Cod Times.
“I was like, ‘What’s a jury duty?'” Jacob asked. He was summoned to appear on a jury at Orleans District Court on April 18.
Deborah Clark, Jacob’s grandmother, found the situation humorous, saying that jury duty is a great excuse to get a day off from school. Deborah then explained to Jacob that sitting on a jury means seeing people accused of crimes in person. Jacob’s response to that explanation was simple, “He said, ‘I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!'” Deborah said.
Deborah Clark said that the state agency had Jacob’s name and address correct but someone in the agency typed the year of his birth incorrectly. Someone typed that the year of birth was 1982 and not 2002. Deborah said that the mistake was correct immediately by the agency upon receiving Robby’s phone call. Pamela Wood, the Massachusetts Jury Commissioner, said that summoning a child “doesn’t happen that often. We hear about it once or twice a year.”
Wood also said that incorrect birth years typically happen in the census records of the town where the child lives. Wood also explained that some officials with towns will enter in fake birth years if one is not supplied by the parents who are filling out the census surveys. State officials ask town officials to enter birth dates that are blatantly fictitious, such as July 4, 1776.
Wood did say that it is very easy to fix jury age problems for children and for citizens over 70.
“We can just clear it up over the phone for you,” she said.
Wood did say that things tend to get more confusing and complicated if parents ignore multiple jury summons for their child. Wood said that if a notice of delinquency is sent to the home then the parents will need to provide proof of age for their child to rectify the situation.
“I said, ‘Some day you’ll have to go,'” Deborah Clark said.