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Jury duty jam

Two of life’s greatest inconveniences — jury duty and traffic — collided this week in California.

A courthouse computer system in Auburn accidentally summoned 1,200 people for jury duty  Tuesday. Traffic was jammed on the way to the Placer County Courthouse as citizens tried to report at 8 a.m.

“I’m a very mellow guy so it didn’t bother me but you could see the disdain and frustration on the faces of some of the other people,” a potential juror told the Auburn Journal. “They have to do a lot of juggling in the work place and in some, they don’t pay you for jury duty and you have to take unpaid time off or vacation time.”

The computer system was supposed to alert 900 people that they were not to show up for jury duty, but the automated message told them they should appear in court instead. Some called in beforehand to the courthouse, but about 800 people are estimated to have headed to court that day.

“The alert failed to notify us yesterday afternoon, so the clerk failed to update the system,” assistant court executive officer Geoff Brandt told CBS Sacramento. “The system then goes into default mode, and we were unaware the default mode was to call in every jury panel we had scheduled for the week.”