FORT WORTH -- Hear ye, hear ye, let all those in the realm be aware. When you get a jury summons from Tarrant County you better not ignore it.Just ask Jose Bocanegra Jr., 20, who was arrested on Tuesday and subsequently sentenced to five days in jail for contempt of court.Bocanegra was released from jail about 5 p.m. Thursday after receiving credit for time served, according to Tarrant County sheriffs department records.According to court officials, Bocanegra repeatedly ignored instructions to report for jury duty between April and October.When initially summoned on April 27, Bocanegra claimed he was a felon and not eligible for jury duty, said Paula Morales, Tarrant County jury bailiff. But Bocanegra did not have a felony on his record so his request to be excused was denied, Morales said.The jury services division scheduled Bocanegra for a June 11 date but he failed to report again and later said he cared for an invalid and could not fit jury duty into his schedule, Morales said. Bocanegra did not provide any information about the person he was caring for, so that request also was denied, Morales said.Bocanegra was scheduled to appear in State District Judge George Gallagher's court for jury duty and failed to appear, so he was rescheduled for Aug. 1, Morales said. Bocanegra again failed to show up, Morales said.Bocanegra called after the date had passed and was rescheduled for Oct. 22, Morales said. This time, Bocanegra showed up about 8:10 a.m., but left before 10 a.m. and never returned, Morales said."That afternoon I tried to call him and even sent an e-mail, but I never received an answer." Morales said. "Finally, I told Judge [Wayne] Salvant that I could not get in touch with him."On Tuesday, Bocanegra was taken from his home in handcuffs and ushered to the courthouse by a Tarrant County constable, Morales said."It's my understanding that he told the judge that it was crowded and he would be here all day, so he left," Morales said.According to WFAA/Channel 8, Bocanegra was released from jail Thursday afternoon. It could not be learned why he did not serve the entire sentence.To have someone this opposed to serving on a jury is unusual, Morales said. The Tarrant County jury services division is willing to work with people who inadvertently miss a scheduled appearance date for jury duty, Morales said.Communication with the public is easier now that Tarrant County residents have online access to the jury services division. The system allows residents to submit exemptions, disqualifications, delay jury service or confirm their service for online court assignment.
A closer look
For more information visit the jury services website at www.tarrantcounty.com/ejury/site/default.asp