You may be breaking the law and not even realize it. But it's serious enough in Montana that if you don't take action, you WILL be getting a visit from the Sheriff's Office. Trust me. I know.

If you are a United States citizen, at least 18 years old, can speak English, have never been convicted of a felony, and are a resident of a Montana'll eventually get called for jury duty. You "get called for jury duty" by receiving a summons in the mail that your name has been picked among thousand of others, to serve in the upcoming year-long jury "pool".

That postcard sized jury questionnaire is far more important than it looks and you need to fill it out (usually online). It's the law. This is America and there are few things we claim to be important - a jury of your peers is one of them, right? It really is our duty to be available to serve. But there's A BIGGER REASON you need to fill it out.

If you don't fill out that Jury Summons Questionnaire, you WILL eventually get a visit - in person - from the County Sheriff. They will be there to confirm that you received it, and that you fill out the questionnaire right there. Sounds mildly unpleasant for you AND the Sheriff. I'm quite sure you both have better things to do with your time, so take care of it before they have to serve you in person.

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Counties across Montana are waiting for THOUSANDS of those questionnaires to be returned. Potentially, thousands of hours of unnecessary visits will have to be made by Sheriff's Offices all over the state. In Gallatin County alone, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office posted on social media:

THERE ARE OVER 3,600 OUTSTANDING JURY SUMMONS QUESTIONNAIRES THAT MUST BE FILLED OUT AND RETURNED TO DISTRICT COURT. These are used for the year's jury pool. If these do not get returned, a deputy is required to personally serve these to you to get them completed.

This is a huge burden on our office, utilizes valuable resources, and significantly hinders our justice system by delaying trials. It may also get your neighbors wondering why a deputy is at your doorstep.

So, let's save the countless visits by our already very busy law enforcement officers and fill out those Jury Summons Questionnaires when you get one in the mail. They're very easy to fill out online and it only takes a few minutes.

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