Woman claims dead mother summoned for jury duty, expected in court after death certificate ‘denied’

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Guilford County woman claims her dead mother, who was recently summoned for jury duty, was notified by mail that she is expected to be in court in July after her death certificate and obituary were “denied.”

Anne Nelson said she’s tired of fighting with the clerk’s office over whether or not her mother, Mary, should serve jury duty next month.

Mary has been dead since 2010.

Nelson said she responded to the first jury summons a few weeks ago by criticizing the county’s record keeping and attaching both a death certificate and an obituary.

“They sent it all back to me with this letter saying my report had been denied, report as summoned,” said Nelson. “It just floored me.”

When FOX8 took Nelson’s complaint to the Guilford County Clerk’s Office, they looked over the paperwork. A spokeswoman for the office said the only explanation for the jury exemption denial is that Nelson never submitted the death records that were requested.

That’s something Nelson denies.

Nelson has the option to appeal the ruling in person but doesn’t think she should have to.

“I’m going to type a letter to the three people at the top of the jury excuse denial letter and say this is the end, this is what I got in response when we requested her name to be removed,” said Nelson.

Another concern for Nelson is the fact that the jury summons came to her home and not her mother’s former home.

“Where did they get this?” Nelson wondered. “It wasn’t off her driver’s license, it wasn’t off her water bill, it wasn’t off anything they say they use.”

“This is just scary to me because this never existed — her name and my address.”

Mary was permanently excused from jury duty 9 years before her death at 81 for medical reasons. Nelson said the county could have cross-checked her name with their records and avoided the jury summons, but the spokeswoman for the clerk’s office said their records for jury exclusions don’t go back that far.

17 comments

    • news2me

      Your comment is funny….but someone really may have used the woman’s name to vote…This may lead to voter fraud. I am thankful this lady took this story to the news and I hope an investigation is underway.

      • GeorgiaGina

        Ummm no. A simple search of the voter database at the NC BOE website will show you no investigation is necessary – she was removed from the voter rolls when she passed.

  • FaithC

    I agree with Missy, just let them come to arrest her. When they do hand the officer her death certificate, obituary and tell them what cemetery she is in and say, “Have at it”.

  • Dave S

    Oh wow This much attitude for a simple thing… what does she want a gold plated crying towel.. The first correspondence was a scathing letter? Yeah that goes over real well nowadays… Let me guess which part of town… How about leave a message saying mom is dead… if you want her go get her …. HEY LOOK LETS CALL THE NEWS !!!! for something so stupid and insignificant

    • JBaird

      Let me try to type slowly so you can keep up: Ms. Nelson went to the media after the Clerk’s office DENIED the request to remove her mom off of the list due to DEATH. If you can’t fix stupid, you can at least try shaming them into silence so the rest of the world doesn’t have to suffer. But you’re right. Let’s keep harassing the dead and their families because Guilford County can’t be bothered to keep records.

  • Oldtimer

    The mentality of some of our public servants is appalling. I’d forget it and if someone shows up hand them a shovel and address of the grave and tell them that if they even start to dig, I’ll call in a very competent lawyer and sue the socks off of them giving the proceeds to a worthy charity.

  • Thomas Austin

    laffinatcha — You may have a point. They may have gotten the name off the voter records and someone may have voted in her name. It may be a good thing if Ms Anne Nelson checked to see if her mother voted in the last few elections.

  • Nancy

    I would have just ignored the whole thing. Why make an issue out of it? Maybe this woman has that much spare time on her hands to deal with this but I, for one, don’t. Another possibility is that someone has already ‘stolen’ her deceased mothers’ SSN – if her name and SSN are being used (illegally of course) that might explain why the jury duty summons was sent. In any case I just would have torn it up (or shredded it) and forgot about it.

  • Cc

    The Guilford County Clerks office receives a list of people to send summons to, which is generated by multiple agency systems (none of which are operated/kept up) by the Guilford County Clerks Office. They are merely the office tasked with handling the functions of Jury duty. They have no control or ability to alter the systems that generate those names for the lists. The human beings who work 8-5 daily and have to work with what they have and are given, do their best. It is unfortunate this woman’s mothers death is brought up and she has to deal with this summons stemming from possible electronic/computer/data/ and human error. I’m sure everyone is sorry for her loss and working towards a solution to this problem as quickly as possible.

  • news2me

    Forsyth county has an excellent Clerk’s office and we have never had any problem.
    They excuse you promptly and with a courteous reply.

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