Usually we hear stories of ticket scalping to get into a sporting or musical event. Rarely do you hear about how much it costs to ‘not’ have to attend. Today Judge Perry set the price for opting out of being a juror in the upcoming Casey Anthony trial. Right now it sits at $450, but with inflation and Judge Perry likely getting a little tired of sitting in a court room in Pinellas County rather than his own favorite chair in Orlando.

But, how long will the bargain basement price remain in place? I have a sneaking hunch that just like your local grocery store this ‘bargain basement’ deal will not last!

I quote from News 13:

Jonathan Greene, said he didn’t know he did anything wrong, and told Judge Perry he must not have listened when the judge ordered the jury pool not to talk to anyone about the Casey Anthony case.

After receiving his sentence, Greene laughed and said, “Well, at least I got out of jury duty.”

I see this as a huge issue. Mr. Greene may have set a tone that may have raised the bar higher for anyone else that decides to play this same game.

I think this picture of Mr. Greene sums it all up.

judge-perry-and-juror.jpg

He could not care less. A call to jury duty did not warrant more than a T-shirt.

I asked well known Florida Criminal Attorney John Contini his thoughts:

This juror richly deserves the punishment, not only because he appears contemptuous of the Court and the Judge’s specific rulings and admonistions on this issue, but this will also serve as a deterrent to other jurors who might otherwise be tempted to misbehave. Keep in mind that this defendant deserves a fair trial which includes impartial jurors, and this judge is attempting to safeguard these rights and ensure some modicum of integrity in this process. This juror admitted to not wanting to serve as a juror, and so his claim that he was not paying attention to the judge’s instructions and admonitions, appears to be quite disingenuous. A fine of $450 may seem harsh to some, but this punishment is a whole lot less draconian than a jail sentence of a day or more, which could have been imposed under these circumstances.

John Contini went on to offer:

One disobedient juror can poison the entire well, and when this happens, the judge is then forced to strike the entire panel of jurors, the whole venire or jury pool as it is sometimes called. This is extremely expensive and burdensome on the local economy too, which is yet another reason why the court must also punish disruptive and noncompliant jurors … of necessity, obliged to consider and weigh this financial hardship on the County and taxpayers.

I do hope that other potential jurors in any and every case take notice of today’s explorations.

Simon Barrett

John Contini, a highly experienced, veteran criminal defense attorney, has successfully represented thousands of criminal defendants in Florida and throughout the United States over the past 23 years. Contini, a former Broward County (South Florida) felony trial prosecutor, has defended the criminally accused since 1983. His practice expanded in the last several years to include the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, but Contini is best known for his success in the area of criminal defense, including murder, drug cases, juvenile cases, white collar crimes, sex crimes, and federal criminal defense. He can be found online at JohnContini.com and Danger Road is available at better bookstores everywhere or from Amazon.

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