People called to serve as jurors -- whether for grand jury duties or for criminal and civil court cases -- play big roles within the local judicial system.
Simply put, without jurors, the judicial system would cease to exist.
In McDuffie County, it is becoming increasingly alarming at the number of prospective jurors who are not responding to jury summons and showing up in court at the appointed time they are needed.
It's an issue that has caught the attention of Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr.
During a recent grand jury call of duty, only 23 people from a pool of 50 even bothered to show up, Judge Dunaway said. Under Georgia law, grand juries must consist of 16 to 23 people.
Those special jurors decide whether there is enough evidence for the prosecution to proceed with criminal charges against a person before rendering either a true or no bill of indictment.
"We actually only had 22 show up for this last term of the grand jury, because one man was sick and I sent him home," Judge Dunaway said.
As a way of helping, The McDuffie Mirror will print a list of prospective jurors' names called for various jury duties in McDuffie County Superior Court.
The list will appear at least a week before jurors are scheduled to be in court.
"I think that might help," Judge Dunaway said.
McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk Connie Cheatham says the problem has been an ongoing one for a while.
Mrs. Cheatham is hopeful that by printing the list of jurors' names in the newspaper that it will help get those summoned to court there.
"I'm hoping it will help some," she said.