Here’s a term I never came across before, found while getting a little background on this press report on the pressganging, so to speak, of passers-by for jury duty.
They roamed the streets of Greeley Wednesday morning with stacks of paper and an eye out for people they could summon to emergency jury duty.
Weld County and District Court staff handed subpoenas to more than 50 unsuspecting people, telling them they had to report for jury duty Wednesday morning because many of those summoned by mail did not show.
If additional jurors are not immediately available in the jury assembly area, most jurisdictions permit the court to impanel a tales jury (pronounced tal-ays). A tales jury in one in which the jurors or talesmen are brought to the court under judicial order to law enforcement to pick up qualified individuals from any public place in the community. This is a departure from the more common procedure of selecting jurors randomly from a broad-based list of names.
And OED defines.
[L. pl. of talis such, in the phrase tales de circumstantibus ‘such (or the like) persons from those standing about’, occurring in the order for adding such persons to a jury; whence used as a n.]
Originally, in plural, Persons taken from among those present in court or standing by, to serve on a jury in a case where the original panel has become deficient in number by challenge or other cause, these being persons such as those originally summoned; loosely applied in Eng. as a singular (a tales) to the supply of people (formerly even one person) so provided. Also contextually applied to the order or act of supplying such substitutes, as to pray, grant, award a tales. In English use now restricted to such summoning of jurors; orig. and still in U.S. of jurors (collectively) and the practice of summoning them.
The word talesmen prompted me to check talisman out of curiosity. It’s unrelated to tales (connected rather to the Arabic tilsam, adaptation of Gr. telesm, completion, performance, religious rite) but ithe search did throw up another talisman, unrelated, it would seem, to the more familiar term.
talisman, 1, obs.
[= F. talisman, of uncertain history; occurring in Fr. and Eng. considerably earlier than TALISMAN2. It appears to be a corrupt or mistaken form of some Arabic, Persian, or Turkish spoken word, imperfectly caught by early travellers. See Note below.]
A name formerly applied to a Turk learned in divinity and law, a Mullah; sometimes to a lower priest of Islam, a religious minister, a muezzin.