New Jersey dog chosen for jury duty

A copy of the jury summons for “IV Griner,” a copy of the German Shepherd’s vaccination certificate, and a shot of the dog (inset). (Photo credit: NBC Philadelphia)

New Jersey is nothing if not unique — alleged revenge bridge closings, a superhero mayor turned U.S. Senator, and, of course, Snooki.

But a story out of Bridgeton, N.J., is perhaps best described by resident Barrett Griner: “It’s kinda strange.”

Last week, Griner walked back from his mailbox, flipping through the normal bills and magazines, when he found something odd — an envelope from the local county clerk’s office addressed to an unexpected member of his family.

“I got the mail and I look at it, and I’m like IV Griner, this is my dog’s name,” Griner tells NBC Philadelphia. “I’m wondering like, what is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?”

As it turns out, the Cumberland County Clerk of Courts sent Griner’s 5-year-old German Shepherd, IV, a summons for jury duty. No one else in the family shares the same name — not really, anyway. Griner chose the name IV because he is the fourth Barrett Griner in his family, making his full name Barrett Griner IV.

“She’s a female, so I named her ‘IV’ without the ‘Y’ as sort of a play on words,” Griner explains. “Somebody had to physically type that name in they didn’t pay any bit of attention to it.”

“I had to laugh at it,” Griner tells CBS Philly.

But was the county clerk’s office really intending to call in a German Shepherd for jury duty? Cumberland County Judiciary Coordinator Dennis Moffa explains all jury summonses are computer-generated out of an office in Trenton. Because of the automated system, name errors and mix-ups are not unheard of.

“This happens many times,” Moffa explains. “As an example, if you had John Henry IV, sometimes the notice might just say Henry IV. I think that the computer probably randomly picks some things that are probably not as on point as they should be.”

It is conceivable then that the jury duty notice reading “IV Griner” should really have read “Barrett Griner IV.”

But Barrett Griner IV is still not 100-percent convinced the summons was intended for him. He says he’s received jury summonses before and they have always, without fail, included his full name. Moffa says a quick call to the county clerk’s office should clear up all of the confusion.

In the meantime, Griner certainly has a funny “tail” to tell. While IV won’t be serving in the jury box anytime soon, Griner can’t help buy crack jokes about the possibility of a dog serving a human’s civic duty.

“She might be good for a cat burglar case or something like that,” Griner quips.

Sources: NBC Philadelphia, CBS Philly, DailyMail

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