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Jury surveys heading out in Dougherty

ALBANY, Ga. -- More than 25,000 jury questionnaires have been sent out to various households across Dougherty County in a move to make the county's jury data more accurate.

Dougherty County Clerk of Court Evonne Mull said Thursday that her office has started sending out the questionnaires, which ask questions designed to update the clerk's records and determine eligibility of citizens for jury duty.

It is not, Mull says, a jury summons.

"This is a way for people to let us know if you have moved or are exempted from service by some other means," Mull said.

Mull is responsible for maintaining the county's jury pool, which is then randomly filtered to send out juror notices for trials.

Mull said that her office uses voter registration information, data from the Georgia Department of Driver Services and information from the questionnaires to determine eligibility for service.

"Serving on a jury is a community service and your duty," Mull said. "It's a duty that you should do for yourself and your community."

The questionnaires contain basic questions, including questions bout age and citizenship.

But it also determines if the prospective juror has "any physical or mental disability that would prevent you from serving as a juror?"

While federal law prevents race discrimination in the jury selection process, Mull said in a press release to The Herald that it's important people fill out their age and their race so that, as names are determined, they get a jury pool that is consistent with the demographics of the county.

"It is particularly important for citizens to indicate their gender and race on the questionnaires," she said. "The commission must have this information in order to compile grand and trial jury lists that properly reflect the makeup of Dougherty County's population..."

Those who receive a questionnaire should fill it out promptly and return it as soon as possible, Mull said.