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Computer Glitch Summons 1,200 To Auburn Courthouse

AUBURN (CBS13) - There was a lot of confusion and frustration from about 1,200 people who were all summoned to show up for jury duty at the Placer County Courthouse at the same time Tuesday morning, only to find out it was all a mistake.

The courthouse computer system's mistake triggered a rare traffic jam in Auburn along Interstate 80.

"I don't want to say a quarter of a mile, but it was close to that," a jurist named Ralph said.

All because people were responding to their civic duties, showing up by 8 a.m. for jury duty that wasn't supposed to happen.

"I didn't realize that all that traffic was going to courthouse," Ralph said.

"It was insane," said Kimberly Foss, "and there were so many cars."

It turns out it was all caused by a computer glitch.

"The alert failed to notify us yesterday afternoon, so the clerk failed to update the system," assistant court executive officer Geoff Brandt said. The system then goes into default mode, and we were unaware the default mode was to call in every jury panel we had scheduled for the week."

Ralph and Kimberly were just two out of 1,200 people who were notified. About 800 of them actually showed up at the historic Auburn courthouse.

"I thought it was kind of odd," Foss said. "I was just summoned last year."

It's a problem courthouse officials say has never happened, and they're working on making sure it doesn't happen again.

"We apologize profusely," Brandt said. "Our jurors are very important to us and we know it was a significant inconvenience this morning."

A technical error for the courthouse meant valuable time wasted for many.

"I let them know there at the courthouse that it was extremely frustrating," Ralph said. "I lost my whole morning."

The courthouse says those people can expect to be called in for jury duty this week but it certainly won't be 1,200 of them at once.

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