A dog got a jury summons in New Jersey, a mix-up that has county officials confused and the dog’s owner chuckling.
When Barrett Griner first got the letter in the mail, he was sure it was a mistake. The envelope was from his local county clerk’s office but was addressed to his 5-year-old German Shepherd dog, IV.
“I got the mail and I look at it, and I’m like IV Griner, this is my dog’s name,” he said. “I’m wondering like, What is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?”
But when Barrett opened the letter, he saw it wasn’t vaccination records at all, but instead a jury summons addressed to the dog.
County officials aren’t exactly sure what happened, but say the mix-up actually isn’t that uncommon. Barrett’s full legal name is Barrett Griner IV, the same name that he gave to his dog.
The county’s judiciary coordinator, Dennis Moffa, said jury summons letters are computer-generated so there are errors from time to time, especially among people with the same name.
“This happens many times. As an example, if you had John Henry IV, sometimes the notice might just say Henry IV,” Moffa said. “I think that the computer probably randomly picks some things that are probably not as on point as they should be.”
Barrett said he isn’t sure if it was meant for him or if the jury summons was for the dog, but Moffa said there’s an easy way to find out.
“They call here and they provide us with information from the summons and additional identifying information, and we can determine who the summons is actually for,” he said.
If dog jury summons was legitimate, then at least IV Griner has a good reason to get out of it.