True Story: A New Jersey Dog Gets Summoned to Jury Duty

The summons came in the mail, with IV, a German Shepherd, listed right there on the form.


When IV checked the mail, she saw every dog’s worst nightmare: a jury summons. She looked closely at the name. IV Griner. She double-checked her name in her mind, making sure she was named what she thought she was named, picturing her dad Barrett calling it over and over — IV, IV, IV. Yep, it was the same. She, a German Shepherd, was getting called up to New Jersey’s Cumberland County court to do her civic duty.

She went to tell the news to her dad. If she was getting called up, then at least she should be able to talk regular-like and explain the situation. But she managed only a few weak barks. Her dad Barrett took the form and laughed. Sure enough, IV Griner was on the summons. His dog’s legal name.

“It’s kinda strange. I got the mail and I look at it, and I’m like IV Griner, this is my dog’s name,” Barrett told NBC Philadelphia. “She’s a female, so I named her ‘IV’ without the ‘Y’ as sort of a play on words. Somebody had to physically type in that name and they didn’t pay any bit of attention to it.”

He immediately knew what mixed the court up, however. He, Barrett Griner, is legally Barrett Griner the Fourth, or Barrett Griner IV.

A quick call to Cumberland County Judiciary Coordinator Dennis Moffa cleared everything up, according to NBC Philadelphia. He said the summons are computer generated and name errors are common.

“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.”

Indeed. IV Griner was not on point.

“She might be good for a cat burglar case or something like that,” Barrett said. “The whole thing was just really, really funny.”

It got us thinking, though. What if a dog was called up to jury duty? Or, vastly more important, how could a dog get out of jury duty?

Here are some ways a dog could get out of jury duty:

  • Sleeping under judge’s robes
  • Eating bailiff’s lunch
  • Lunging at court reporter
  • Barking at regular reporters
  • Growling at plaintiffs
  • Licking defendants
  • Peeing on witness stand
  • Howling during opening arguments
  • Itching during witness statements
  • Chasing tail during cross examinations
  • Emitting a low growl whenever DA gets within five feet
  • Treating courtroom as an agility course
  • Continued barking at regular reporters
  • Marking all the chairs in the gallery
  • Attacking whenever counsel approaches the bench
  • Curling up in the accused’s lap
  • Determining guilt by the sniff test
  • Pooping in the jury box

Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster:

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