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99-Year-Old Woman Could Face Criminal Charges After Failing To Show Up For Jury Duty, Family Says

 A 99-year old Canadian woman could face criminal charges for failing to show up to jury duty earlier in January, her son-in-law says.

When Marion Lenko first received a jury summons in her Quebec senior care home, her son-in-law, Edward Ritchuk, believed it was a “joke.” Lenko is bedridden, hard of hearing and has difficulty holding a conversation, Canadian network CBC reported. Another summons later appeared in December, this time at Ritchuk’s home in a Montreal suburb. 

Richuk’s wife has passed away and he is not Lenko’s power of attorney. He emailed Lenko’s son in Florida about the summons, but the son did not ask for an exemption for his mother, CBC reported.

“Then this week, I received a letter from the justice ministry saying that she has to appear on the 31st of January in court or procedures will be taken against her,” Richuk told the outlet. He tried calling the number on the letter, but was allegedly directed to an automated system and has been unable to get through to a person who could explain the situation, leaving him unsure of what his next steps should be, CBC reported.


An individual may be disqualified from serving as a juror, or they may present circumstances that would prevent them being able to fulfill the duty, Justice Ministry spokesperson Isabelle Boily told the outlet in an email. “If so, it is possible to request an exemption or postponement of participation by completing the form received with the notice,” she continued.

That form must be sent to the sheriff with documentation proving the individual’s ineligibility within 20 days of receiving the summons, she added, according to CBC. Boily also said it was possible for prospective jurors to call the sheriff’s office for the exemption within the 20-day grace period.

Eric Sutton, a Montreal criminal defense attorney, disagreed with Boily’s assessment that a phone call would be enough to grant an exemption, pointing to the requirement for documented proof of ineligibility, CBC reported.

“From what I understand, this family tried to phone and to no avail,” Sutton told the outlet. “Now she’s facing this fear of possibly being fined or imprisoned. I saw it in the paperwork. That’s pretty tough medicine for a 99-year-old woman who is hard of hearing. Shameful.”

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