Entries in Jury Duty (4)


9-Year-Old Called for Jury Duty for Second Time

Comstock/Thinkstock(YARMOUTH, Mass.) -- For the second time in his life, 9-year-old Jacob Clark was recently invited to join a jury of his peers.

But that jury wasn’t congregating on the elementary school playground: Clark was summoned to appear in Orleans District Court in Massachusetts on April 18 for jury selection.

“I looked at it and said, ‘This is ridiculous!’” Jacob’s grandmother, Deborah Clark, told ABC News.

The Yarmouth, Mass., third grader was summoned to jury duty once before, when he was 2 years old.

Clark said her grandson’s birth year had been listed as 1982, instead of 2002.

When Jacob got home from school last week, Clark told Jacob about the notice.

“At first he thought of jury duty and going to court meant he did something wrong,” Clark said.

She and the boy’s father, Robby Clark, used the experience as a way to teach Jacob a lesson about civic duty.

“We explained to him what it is … When a bunch of people get together and sit and listen to the pros and cons and decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty,” she said. “I asked him if he wanted to go. I said it’s a day off from school and you get lunch.”

The 9-year-old then became excited.

“He goes: ‘I want to be a Yarmouth police officer so maybe this will help me,’” Clark said.

As for the court? Clark said they had no trouble believing Jacob was only half the minimum age to serve.

“My son filled out the bottom half and sent it in stating his age,” Clark said.

One follow-up call later, Jacob was in the clear and free to go mingle with peers closer to his own age.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Facebook Mistake: Texas Juror Tried to ‘Friend’ Defendant

Comstock/Thinkstock(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Here’s a sad little memo to Jonathan Hudson of Arlington, Texas: If you’re on jury duty, and you’re assigned to a case, don’t try to “friend” the defendant on Facebook.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the 22-year-old Hudson was one of the jurors picked last month to hear a case involving a 2008 auto wreck.  After court recessed for the day on July 18, Hudson admits he tried to “friend” the defendant, Courtney Downing.

“He’s a very, very nice kid,” said Steve Gordon, the attorney assigned to represent him. “I think he was just very naive about the rules of being on a jury.” Gordon said Hudson, who has a job as a pizza delivery man, was regularly updating his Facebook status -- “stuff like, ‘Hey, I’m on jury duty. Kinda sucks. Sorta boring.’ And that was it.”

If you’ve ever been on jury duty you’ve doubtless heard instructions not to discuss a case with anyone -- not fellow jurors, not family or friends, certainly not strangers who may visit your Facebook page.  In the halls of a courthouse, lawyers and staff treat jurors as if they were radioactive.  Texas just recently added language to judges’ standard instructions to remind jurors that social media are just as off-limits as personal contact with the participants in a case.

Apparently they didn’t sink in with Hudson, who sent defendant Downing that standard message: “Jonathan Hudson wants to be friends with you on Facebook.”  She became concerned and told her lawyer, who told Judge Wade Birdwell. The next morning Hudson was off the case, and last week, having pleaded guilty to four counts of contempt of court, he was sentenced to two days of community service.

“I’ve never seen this before,” prosecutor Chris Ponder said in the Star-Telegram. “But I’m afraid this is a new reality.”

Gordon, Hudson’s attorney, agreed.  “It’s just a different way of viewing yourself and what should be public about you,” he said in a phone interview. “Folks his age don’t think about it unless something bad happens.”

Hudson could have been sentenced to six months in prison for contempt. He will do 16 hours of community service, as determined by the court bailiff, next week.

“The original case resolved itself fairly quickly,” said attorney Gordon. “Unfortunately, it went on for Mr. Hudson.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New York Juror's Racist Remarks Outrages Judge

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A federal judge in Brooklyn became infuriated with a potential juror this week after she made racist comments about blacks and Latinos and called New York City police lazy, in what some in the courtroom viewed as an attempt to evade jury duty.  But instead, the judge ordered her to keep coming to court indefinitely.

The judge later relented, releasing the woman after a day of duty in which she sat alone in a holding tank.  He allowed her to sneak out the back door to avoid the media.

The potential juror's responses on the jury questionnaire raised the ire of U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

After reading through her questionnaire and seeing the disparaging remarks, Garaufis told the woman, "This is an outrage, and so are you!"

The identity of Juror No. 799 has not been released, but public court records revealed that she is in her 20s, lives in Brooklyn, is a naturalized U.S. citizen of Asian descent who works for a large garment production company.

The woman has been dismissed from the death penalty trial of alleged mob boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, but officials initially said she could serve as a juror in another trial.

"I have 18 years on the job and I've seen every excuse in the book," said Anthony Frisolone, the court reporter who took transcriptions of the proceedings.  "It's deplorable that people try this stuff.  I find it offensive."

It's unclear whether Juror No. 799 made the statements in her questionnaire because she was trying to duck jury duty or if she really had such beliefs.  Garaufis' law clerk, John Fitzpatrick, said the judge was unable to comment on the issue or elaborate on how long the juror might be required to stay on jury duty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden Reports for Jury Duty in Delaware

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House(WILMINGTON, Del.) -- Vice President Joe Biden’s office said Monday morning the vice president reported for jury duty with the Superior Court of Delaware at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington.

"I don't consider myself different than any other person," Biden told The News Journal of Wilmington. "This is important ... It is an honor to be a part of the system."

Biden’s hometown paper reported the vice president chatted with other potential jurors in the waiting room and said that he had to make some phone calls during a break, including one to President Obama.

This time last year, it was President Obama who received a jury summons but unlike Biden, the president told the suburban Chicago courthouse that he would not be able to serve.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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