PENNSYLVANIA Judge threatens jail for skipping juror
The man had planned a trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky.
ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- A juror who skipped out on a trial so he could go to an amusement park must report for 10 days of jury duty next month or be thrown into jail.
Judge William Cunningham of Erie County Common Pleas Court imposed the unusual ultimatum on David Coulson, 20, after lecturing the man about his civic duty Wednesday.
Coulson was picked Monday to serve on a jury in Judge Cunningham's courtroom that was hearing a lawsuit brought by a woman who alleges that chemical companies made some products that sickened her late husband.
Coulson didn't raise his hand when the jurors were asked if they had any scheduling conflicts before the two-week trial began Monday. But Coulson told the judge after the trial began that he had planned a trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, for Tuesday, the judge said.
Refused to excuse
Judge Cunningham twice refused to excuse Coulson from the panel, but he did agree to write a letter explaining the jury duty so Coulson could get a refund for his trip. But Coulson took the trip anyway when the park wouldn't give him the refund.
Judge Cunningham ordered Coulson to return to court for 10 weekdays during a trial term that runs from Sept. 13-24. If Coulson doesn't show, the judge promised to throw him in jail.
"I couldn't get a refund," Coulson said, adding that he couldn't afford jury duty because it would mean missing two weeks of work at what he said is a minimum-wage job.
But county deputy sheriffs who were sent looking for Coulson on Tuesday contacted his employers at the Erie Zoo and reported that his boss said he thought Coulson was still on jury duty.