Texas man jailed 83 days for skipping jury duty
McKINNEY, Texas — A man arrested for allegedly failing to appear for jury duty was released Saturday after spending 83 days in jail, a length of detention that a judge called “unacceptable.”
Douglas Maupin was released a day after The Dallas Morning News brought his plight to the attention of a Collin County judge.
Maupin, a masonry contractor, was arrested Feb. 15 after police pulled him over for speeding. Police then detained him on a 2003 warrant for failure to appear for jury duty.
He wrote a letter to the newspaper about his lengthy jail stay, then said in a jailhouse interview that he, his friends and family could not afford his $1,500 bail.
He said his attempt to get a public defender was rebuffed by a jail clerk.
District Judge Chris Oldner said he was unaware of Maupin’s detention until Friday, even though the case was assigned to his court. The judge who signed the original 2003 warrant had retired, and officials said the case was assigned to the court of his replacement but the offense didn’t fall under that court’s responsibility.
“He should not have spent that much time. This is unacceptable,” Oldner told the Morning News. “I don’t know why the process failed to notify us.”
Oldner also said that Maupin should have been allowed to apply for a public defender.
Maupin, 34, said he just wanted his day in court.
“I do know I have the right to due process and a speedy trial,” he said. “I’ve had neither. It’s not right.”
The judge said he was “disappointed this has happened,” and promised to investigate.