The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - April 7, 2011
Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis lectured Juror 799, but also let her off the hook. A Federal judge relented Wednesday and commuted the sentence of indefinite jury duty he had slapped on a Brooklyn woman who presented herself as wildly racist and anti-cop. "I hope this experience will be an education for you and the next time you're called for jury duty you'll give honest answers," Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis told Juror 799. The young Asian woman had written in her jury questionaire on Tuesday that she couldn't stand "African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians" - and that all cops were lazy. Garaufis, who is trying to empanel a jury for the capital case against Bonanno crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, told her she was outrageous and vowed to keep her coming back every day for jury duty. On Wednesday, he made it clear it wasn't her views that angered him but what he said was her obvious attempt to weasel out of jury duty by lying. "My ruling was not based in any way upon whether or not you held any racist views. It was apparent you did not tell the truth," Garaufis told the woman. "You were the only juror who indicated that you had every form of bias imaginable. You were lying to the court in order to be excused." Jury questionaires are filled out under oath. Juror 799 sat off by herself in the jury assembly room for most of Wednesday, calmly flipping through newspapers and a pamphlet entitled "A Guide to Continuing Your Education After Prison," until the judge sent a clerk and a deputy marshal to fetch her in the late afternoon. He told her she was free to go, but that he would dock her $40-a-day juror pay. She didn't argue. "The purpose of this order was to attempt to create some consequences or disincentive for people who intentionally obstruct the court's ability to empanel a fair and impartial jury," he said. Garaufis offered her an escort to avoid a crowd of reporters waiting to grill her about her views. NYU Law Prof. Stephen Gillers said the judge had no choice but to find her in contempt for lying, or release her. Obnoxious opinions, he said, are not criminal. "She can't be punished for being a racist," Gillers said. "You don't check the First Amendment at the courtroom door." firstname.lastname@example.org
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Judge gives woman 'indefinite' jury duty
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - April 6, 2011
NEW YORK, April 6 -- A federal judge has sentenced a New York woman to indefinite jury duty after she made allegedly racist remarks on a prospective juror questionnaire. "This is an outrage, and so are you!" U.S. Judge Nicholas Garaufis told the woman Tuesday, holding up her juror questionnaire, the New York Daily News reported. The prospective juror was up for jury duty in the death penalty trial of Bonanno crime boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano. Asked on her questionnaire to name three people she least admired, the Asian woman in her 20s from Brooklyn allegedly wrote "African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians." Asked by the judge why she wrote that, she said, "You always hear about them in the news doing something." She also wrote that all policemen are lazy and use their sirens to get around traffic jams. Garaufis granted a prosecution request the woman be disqualified from the Basciano case for her "inappropriate" comments. However, Garaufis said, the woman would still be seeing a lot of his courtroom. "She's coming back [today], Thursday and Friday -- and until the future, when I am ready to dismiss her," Garaufis said.