So much for representation

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I wrote to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley back in April regarding a court summons I received for jury duty that I thought was an elaborate hoax. I never got a response, so I posted a note on a couple of weeks ago, which sends on our concerns to our elected officials.

The summons started out with a threat and coercion stating, “Failure to appear may subject you to punishment for contempt of court.” It said you had to appear before a judge to be excused. It also stated that I was served a copy of the summons even though I got it in the mail, and the sender wanted me to sign and return it. No envelope or stamp was enclosed.

First off, when I was in law enforcement, threatening and coercion were arrestable offenses. Second, I already was excused from the county jury duty rolls years ago for being 100-percent disabled and didn’t see why I should be burdened with all the extra expenses.

Two weeks ago, I got a call from the lieutenant governor’s office stating that it got my note regarding the summons. I was told to write the Supreme Court because they had no jurisdiction. I told them I wrote to the governor as my representative to send it on to the proper party to address. They passed the buck to the governor.

A week later I got a message on my answering machine from the governor’s office. I responded but didn’t hear back, so I sent a fax with the letter I wrote to the governor outlining the problem, and added some solutions, such as putting a code on all jury duty rosters for exempt people.

Two days later, I had a conversation with an overbearing woman from the governor’s office who kept talking over me while I tried to explain what I did. She basically gave me the bum’s rush.

At this point, it isn’t clear if they will do anything. So much for being represented.

Gregory J. Topliff

Warrenville, S.C.

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Retired Army
Retired Army 06/15/12 - 11:51 pm
Mr. Topliff seems to sing a

Mr. Topliff seems to sing a different tune about politicians when he was getting his way just a very short time ago.

Now I'm wondering what sort of rational thinking says go to the executive branch for a resolution to an obvious problem in one case and the legislative branch in another.

With Mr. Topliff's last 4 regular monthly letters to the editor all being rants about our President and now this absurd screed about ducking a duty to one's community, where is the rationality?

Pssst, Mr. Topliff, the Governor(Bless her heart)is not your representative. She is the Chief Executive of the State of South Carolina. You have elected officials who ARE your representatives. They are called Congressmen and Senators.

Basic civics sir!

myfather15 06/16/12 - 04:40 am
Wow, I can't even believe I'm

Wow, I can't even believe I'm about to admit this, but for once I must say I agree with RA.

Mr. Topliff, do really believe the Chief Executive of an entire State has nothing more to do than look into your complaint about having jury duty or court summons? This is absolutely ridiculous. First of all, this should be handled at the local level. You should have contacted the DA for the jurisdiction you received the summons for, which should be your County. A District Attorney actually can excuse you for court if they so choose. Yes, when a Judge signs the summons for you to appear in court, its a legally binding document. You can be found in contempt and that isn't coercion or threats, its law. Its our duties as citizens to serve as jury members. If you have a legitimate excuse then good, take it to the DA and get excused and stop whinning.

desertcat6 06/16/12 - 05:36 am
Hmmmmmm....... Its all laid

Hmmmmmm....... Its all laid out in your state court website. That would be the judicial branch not the executive branch.

They even have a handbook at ( which explains the differences between disqualification and excuses.

Disqualification. You may not serve as a juror if you are unable to render jury service due to mental or physical infirmity.

Excuses. A severely disabled person who cannot care for himself or cannot be left unattended may be excused from jury duty by the presiding judge. To be excused, you must show up first according to the handbook.

Carleton Duvall
Carleton Duvall 06/16/12 - 07:37 am
Jury duty

The process in Georgia is this. A time is set by the judge to hear excuses or reasons not to have to appear for duty. One meets with the judge at that time and pleads his case. The judge will then either let him off or refuse to. It ain't hard.
Well, that is the way it was years ago when I was in the jury pool. It may be different now.

southernguy08 06/16/12 - 09:06 am
Who's to blame?

First, it was all George Bush's fault. Now, I guess its all Nikki Haley's. But hey, look on the bright side liberals, he NEVER said a bad thing about Obama. Only RA brought him up.

Jake 06/16/12 - 03:42 pm
Money talks, BS walks

Mr Topliff, if you were a paid lobbyist or an independently wealthy individual, then you would have no problem getting an audience with the governor. But, alas, you are part of the great unwashed like the rest of us. Sad but true.

allhans 06/16/12 - 05:10 pm
burninater 06/16/12 - 06:29 pm
"When I was in law

"When I was in law enforcement..."

How is it even possible for someone in law enforcement to not understand something as fundamentally simple and pervasive as jury duty?

And then he is complaining about representation because Nikki Haley isn't personally responding to sort out the fallout from ignoring his jury summons? This is possibly the most ludicrous LTE I have ever seen, not to mention the belief that the jury summons was an "elaborate hoax".

I will resist the temptation to generalize the completely ridiculous basis for this complaint about gov't to other such complaints and "hoax" theories.

But seriously, annoyed because the governor isn't personally handling your ignoring a jury summons? Does this guy live in Never Never Land? Completely unbelievable.

Conservative Man
Conservative Man 06/16/12 - 07:14 pm
Agree with RA and myfather

It pains me but I must ALSO agree with "Retired" on this one.
The sentence about "Failure to appear" isn't a's the LAW...
Mr. Topliff, a former law enforcement official ,should know better.
As far as what happened after's very easy to call the magistrates office to find out what the proper procedure to answer the summons.
To write the governor about such a thing is a colossal waste of time and postage, when a phone call will suffice.....
Now to the ACES. Things must be pretty slow to have to resort to printing a letter as silly as this.....just sayin'

Gregory J. Topliff
Gregory J. Topliff 06/18/12 - 12:19 pm
To all of the know it alls.

It's apparent by your snide remarks that most of you think that you know what you are talking about when you don't.
When there is a problem with the way in which the state operates, you can go to your elected officials to ask for help. Considering that most people don't know that there are reasons you send on things in writing I will tell you. Calling up someone who gives you lip service doesn't get the job done. When you hang up they can forget everything that you said. If you challenge them on it because you didn't get any response they will have a memory lapse if they are inclined to cover their ineptness.
There is a protocol that those in government follow. The citizens who aren’t privy to all of the possible departments or agencies that cover any issues could waste a lifetime writing to this one or that one. That is why I wrote to the Governor. The problem is in the judiciary system, which falls under the Governors jurisdiction. She has the power to pass on the issue to the proper agency. Those outside of government don’t get the recognition unless they have someone in authority to pass it on, on their behalf, ergo my letter to the Governor.
As for it being a waste of time and money to even request help. I don’t know how you can sit there in your ignorance and not see that anyone who is not eligible to serve waste the taxpayers money on postage and envelopes to people who are exempt from the rolls.
It takes time to answer dozens if not hundreds of calls to resolve the issue around the state. If there was a uniform summons telling all what their responsibilities are without the threat of being held in contempt, then there wouldn’t be such chaos in the system. If there were codes implemented on the files that jurors are picked from, It would be more efficient and less waste.
Lastly, there are far to many people in this country who ignore the wrongs that go on that can be corrected. You can knock me all you want but at least I try to do something constructive to correct the problems I see; it’s more than I can say for all of my detractors.

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