SCRANTON — The next time you get a summons in the mail for jury duty don’t do what one couple in Lackawanna County did.
They ended up in front of a judge today for the way they responded to their call for duty.
Tina Keller and Drayke Jacobs-Van-Tol of Taylor told Newswatch 16 they never expected that a summons for jury duty would find them in a courtroom on the wrong side of the juror’s box. A Lackawanna County judge cited the pair for contempt of court because the judge said the language the couple sent back on that jury summons was offensive.
Many of us may have received a summons for jury duty along with a lengthy list of questions in the mail. But one that was returned to the courthouse in Scranton this month had unusual answers about personal history and employment. The answers were offensive enough that Newswatch 16 can’t show you the language.
After sending it in, Tina Keller and her fiancé Drayke Jacobs-Van-Tol of Taylor were served with more paperwork telling them to answer to a contempt of court citation filed by a judge. The judge later decided to dismiss the citation. But, not without a very stern warning.
Keller said she understood why the judge wanted to make an example of them.
“After reading that, absolutely. I’m surprised he didn’t give him jail time. But that’s my opinion,” Keller said to Newswatch 16.
Keller claimed in court that she let Jacobs-Van-Tol fill out the paperwork. Then she signed it without checking his answers. Jacobs-Van-Tol’s responses included profanity, crude language, and racial slurs.
“What happened today was really an affront to the dignity of the courts and the sanctity of the jury trial system,” said Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo.
Judge Geroulo made the call to put the couple in contempt of court saying he has never seen a summons response like the one Jacobs-Van-Tol wrote.
Judge Geroulo decided to dismiss the contempt citation because he said it seemed the pair learned their lesson.
When asked why he wrote the responses, Drayke Jacobs-Van-Tol told Newswatch 16, “I thought it was a joke, honestly.”
Judge Geroulo said the hearing Tuesday did cost Lackawanna County some extra money and time on the part of courthouse staff. He said he cited potential jurors once before in his career. But he said, that time was still nowhere near as offensive as this one.
After the hearing, Tina Keller was told to fill out a new summons questionnaire.