Merced -- An apparent practical joke is causing concern for employees in the Merced County Superior Court clerk's office, and the victims of the prank aren't finding it very funny.
Linda Romero-Soles, CEO of the superior court, said the clerk's office has gotten calls and visits from residents who were told by friends that their names were in the classifieds section of the Merced Sun-Star because they missed jury duty.
In many instances, the duped parties were given a phone number to call, which brought them to a recording of a man purportedly with the "National Justice Center." The recording told them that because they missed a court date, they could either pay a $500 fine or serve a 30-day prison sentence. It isn't until the end of the recording that the caller is informed that it's a joke.