German Shepherd Gets Jury Duty Summons in N.J.

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on April 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

While a lot of people groan at the thought of jury duty, IV Griner probably barked when the German shepherd received a jury duty summons.

It's likely the New Jersey judiciary's computer systems mistook IV Griner (a dog) for his owner, Barrett Griner IV (a human). The computer may have mistook the Roman numeral in the canine owner's name as the dog's name and mailed the summons, according to The Associated Press.

Griner has since cleared up the miscommunication, but who exactly can be selected for a jury?

Who Can Serve on a Jury?

The laws regarding jury selection vary by the state, but no matter what, it's highly unlikely that a dog would ever be allowed to serve as a jury member.

Here are some of the requirements for being a juror in New Jersey:

  • A New Jersey resident and U.S. citizen,
  • Physically and mentally fit to perform the functions of juror,
  • At least 18 years or older at the date of service, and
  • Able to read and understand English.

So it's clear that five-year-old illiterate dogs aren't qualified.

Jury Selection Mishaps

Sending a German shepherd a jury duty summons isn't the first time a court system sent out a wacky summons. In fact, a nine-year-old boy in Massachusetts once received a jury summons. Although the boy was originally excited to miss a day of school, like other potential jurors, he yelled "I don't want to go!" after his grandma told him what jury duty entailed.

Although Massachusetts requires jurors to be 18 years or older, it was good that the boy's father quickly cleared up the situation with the court. Parents who ignore multiple jury duty summons for underage kids or unqualified jurors may eventually have to prove their children's ages.

The same can probably said for dog owners. Even if it's painfully obvious that the person (or dog) the summons is made out to isn't allowed to serve on a jury, you should still notify the court of the error. Failure to respond or appear for jury duty could result in fines and jail time.

IV Griner could potentially have been the cutest juror ever, so it's too bad that a New Jersey court made an error in sending the canine a jury summons.

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard