In between murders, rapes, burglars, and robbers, we prosecutors sometimes get time to focus on other public menaces. These are the ones who bilk the system for their own benefit. The person collecting unemployment checks while getting paid under the table. Or the wealthy man collecting food stamps.
Or the people who lie to get out of jury duty.
Jose Bocanegra, Jr. missed his scheduled jury duty four times, for four different reasons. The first time he claimed he was a convicted felon (False). The second? He claimed he was the sole caretaker for an invalid (False). Third? He just didn't show up. Fourth? He left because the line was too long. The Texas judge had seen enough and a warrant issued for Bocanegra. A judge found him guilty of contempt and sentenced him to five days in jail.
His reasoning for avoiding? It was too far away.
It's not only our friends in Texas (Mark Pryor) who are going after jury duty dodgers. Colorado joined the cause recently too.
Susan Cole was a little more deliberate in her attempts. She arrived at jury duty with curlers and mismatched shoes, claiming post traumatic stress from a violent domestic incident that occurred in the military.
Like so many people before her, Ms. Cole's ploy was foiled by bragging. The judge who dismissed her from service heard her months later on a radio show explaining how she fooled everyone to avoid jury duty. Investigators debunked her claims and she pleaded guilty to perjury and attempt to influence a public servant.
Instead of the community service that is jury duty, Ms. Cole has a felony to go along with forced community service.
The funny part? Most lawyers would have struck these jurors anyway so they would not have served.
Check out my position on jury service here.