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Court should punish those who don’t show

Has government become too soft on its citizens? We’re normally all for smaller, less visible government.

In most cases, government is like salt on food. Too little is better than too much.

Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in one direction. Maybe we need a little tough love to knock us back into good behavior.

Adams County may have become too worried about offending its citizens — or more precisely its voters — to handle normal county operations.

On Monday, when an Adams County man was set to face murder charges, the case had to be postponed because half of the prospective jurors just didn’t bother to show up.

They had better things to do than to worry about being a citizen of this community or provide a fair trial to the man and the victim’s family.

Not showing up for a jury summons without an excuse is against the law. But many people do it because, well, they’ve learned no harm comes of it.

Judges are unlikely to slap a contempt of court charge on someone who is clearly — by being in the jury pool to begin with — a registered voter in the county.

Adams County’s Justice Court is unable or unwilling to collect millions of dollars in fines owed to the taxpayers. The cause is presumably much the same reason — those responsible for paying know little will be done to make them pay and those with the authority to fix it cannot work together long enough to take serious action.

Thumbing our collective noses at the responsibility that each of us has as citizens needs to end quickly, but the only way it will is if local government leaders have the guts to make unpopular stands, stands for what is right and just, not just politically savvy.

 

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