NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Was she trying to get out of jury duty? Or when she wrote in the questionnaire that “African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians” are the three people I admire the least — is that how she really felt?
Either way, it did get her off the jury. But, as CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, that was only the beginning of a drama between juror and judge.
The courthouse where Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis presides has been abuzz over the action he has taken against a potential juror when he questioned why she wrote things like quote “African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians” are “the three people I like the least.” A lot of people thought she was trying to get out of jury duty.
“She’s trying to get off jury duty. You can’t second-guess her. This is how she feels. Not a right way to feel,” said Matt Kagan of Brooklyn Heights.
The juror is a young Asian woman, and she had written that she has a relative who’s in a notorious Chinese gang. So Judge Garaufis sarcastically asked, “Why didn’t you put ‘Asians’ down also?”
The juror responded, “Maybe I should have.”
The judge then exploded, saying “This is an outrage, and so are you!”
He excused her from the panel, but then ordered her to come to court – every day.
“Outrageous! I might’ve said ‘outrageous’ That sounds like me. It is outrageous!” Fordham Law Professor Jim Cohen said.
“Now it would be a very different story if the judge held this particular juror in contempt, but merely because the judge found the answers to the questions on the questionnaire offensive, does not give the judge the right, ah, to, extend jury service — or to do really much of anything!”
Cohen also said suppose the woman wasn’t trying to get out of jury duty. Suppose those racist answers that she gave were how she really felt? Cohen said even though it’s despicable to many, the judge would still have had to let her go because of that perceived bias – instead of keeping her in perpetuity.
Most observers believe Judge Garaufis will dismiss the juror soon, hoping she has learned a lesson about jury duty.
Think the judge went too far? Agree with his wild stance? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.