Monday, April 16, 2012

Jury Duty Summons: "How am I in trouble?"

You go to the mail and what do you see? Jury Summons. We have all had that moment where we begin to think, how can I get out of this? Well, one woman is going to need a criminal defense attorney of her own after doing exactly that, and then getting caught.

In a weird and extreme step taken by one woman in Colorado she now is on the other side of the jury panel. A woman in Colorado called into a morning radio show. The topic: “Things you’ve done to get out of jury duty.” The woman told her recent "show" how she showed up to the court with curlers in her hair, mismatched shoes, and a crazy t-shirt. She then described how she pretended to suffer from multiple mental ailments. The result, she was dismissed from the jury, and had accomplished her goal.
Unfortunately for the woman, the judge that had presided over that trial happened to be listening to the same morning radio show, remembered the woman, and had her arrested. She is being charged with felony perjury. I mean really? Come on who would not remember the weird lady in court?
This reminds me of a potential juror I had in one of our jury trials. She was a law school student at a well known law school and REALLY did not want to serve. One would think she would have love to sit on a case for the experience and the insight she would glean by sitting on a jury but she was not having it. She was very scoffing while in the panel and once she was seated in one of the numbered chair her behavior just got worse. We learned she was preconditioning the others and contaminating the jury. The result was a mistrial and had to order another jury. The judge personally wrote a letter the the ethics committee and her boss. We happen to be friends with her dean at her law school and had a working relation with her work and relayed her actions. I don't think things went to well for her. So to all of you who have served and will serve on juries, THANK YOU! It is part of what makes America America.

In California, perjury is considered a felony and could carry as many as 4 years in prison if convicted. However, for someone with no criminal history, a first time offense is unlikely to result in prison time, and is more likely to result in fines, community service and probation.

So the next time you show up for jury duty, it probably isn’t a good idea to wear tinfoil in your hair and start carrying on conversations with imaginary voices (don't forget the little green men). If you do, definitely don’t brag about it on morning radio or the social media outlet of your choice.You never know who might be listening.

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