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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Federal Judge Reverses Self On 'Indefinite' Jury Duty Order

Brooklyn woman who presented herself as racist on jury questionnaire let off hook by judge
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." jmarzulli@nydailynews.com

*********************************** BACKGROUND STORY:
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.

8 comments:

disgusted with our federal judiciary said...

Hey, give the judge a break. He woke up and realized that even a juror has a right to freely speak. Of course the high and mighty judge would never admit that he has his own prejudices. Wake up ole judge man, why don't you leave the bench. People have no respect for judges who think they are better than other people.

Anonymous said...

Give this judge an indefinite retirement without pay. I'm sick of these lawless judges.

Anonymous said...

More likely this judge became the butt of too many jokes.


Clearly, what he did was out of line, and he called on it.

Unfortunately, other of his 'judicial decisions' are probably just as outrageous, but not as newsworthy.

Anonymous said...

He acted because his fellow judges and the Chief 2nd Circuit Judge told him to end it or face discipline. This isn't acceptable way out for the Chief Judge Jacobs.

Anonymous said...

If jurors, judges and ordinary people really spoke about how they feel about all people in general...we would never find a non-biased jury. I have dealt with juries for decades and the only reason they get picked is because they never speak the truth about how they really feel about all groups of humans or their actual prejudices with them....so this judge is not only out of touch with life in 2011, but ignorant about life in general.
The judge needs to listen to his family at the next gathering...and listen well...as all races say negative things about other races and cultures...but when they exist with them..you certainly would never know it.

Anonymous said...

it is possible that she made those staements to get of jury duty
A case like that she could have jury duty for months.
I am not saying that is what happened. What i am saying that it is a posibility.
people do not like going to jury duty
If that was her motive it is not excusable.

Anonymous said...

For any of the reasons she may have done this, who would want her on a jury?

Anonymous said...

Many people do not like or desire jury duty and say many things to get out of it..if this was even the case, she chose an awfully bold method that would only prove to embarrass her overall.
Still, we do not need a federal judge punishing anyone or everyone like her, without either knowing that her prejudcies were not real, however that is accomplished, or due process is in place, if there even is punishment for making statements you may actually believe in, but also know those statements will get you out of jury duty if you dare to mention them.
Most people play it safe and pretend they are not at all prejudiced and just hope they don't get picked.
In retrospect, the judge made a very unprofessional and dramatic mistake, and to backtrack is all he could do...and to make himself even sound more unethical..he took her $40....really judge?

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