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Thursday, July 12, 2007

How not to avoid jury duty

From Minnesota Lawyer's How Not to Avoid Jury Duty file comes this story from Cape Cod, Mass., about a man who claimed to be a racist homophobic liar to skip jury duty.

The would-be juror, Daniel Ellis, got his wish: he was not chosen to serve on a three-month grand jury. Instead, the judge ordered Ellis taken into custody for possible perjury and other charges.

"In 32 years of service in courtrooms, as a prosecutor, as a defense attorney and now as a judge, I have quite frankly never confronted such a brazen situation of an individual attempting to avoid juror service," wrote Barnstable Superior Court Judge Gary A. Nickerson, according to the Boston Globe.

Here's how it went down:

On a questionnaire that all potential jurors fill out, Ellis wrote that he didn't like homosexuals and blacks. He then echoed those sentiments in an interview with the judge.

"You say on your form that you're not a fan of homosexuals," the judge said.

"That I'm a racist," interrupted Ellis. "I'm frequently found to be a liar, too. I can't really help it."

"I'm sorry?" Nickerson asked.

"I said I'm frequently found to be a liar," Ellis replied.

"So, are you lying to me now?" the judge asked.

"Well, I don't know. I might be," was the response.

Ellis then admitted he really didn't want to serve on a jury.

"I have the distinct impression that you're intentionally trying to avoid jury service," Nickerson said.

"That's true," Ellis answered.


Peter said...

Reminds me of an old Star Trek quote:

[trying to confuse an android]
Captain Kirk: Harry lied to you, Norman. Everything Harry says is a lie. Remember that, Norman. *Everything* he says is a lie.

Harcourt Fenton Mudd: Now I want you to listen to me very carefully, Norman. I'm... lying.

Norman: You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because you always lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human; only humans can explain! Illogical!

Captain Kirk: I am not programmed to respond in that area.

Michael Krieger, Special Sections Editor said...

Spock: Logic is a little tweeting bird chirping in a meadow. Logic is a wreath of pretty flowers which smell bad.
— Star Trek; I, Mudd; 1967

Anonymous said...

Exploring an uncharted country, you come to a fork in the road. You know one of the branches leads to a village of friendly natives, while the other leads to a village of headhunter cannibals. At the fork in the road is another native. You know this native belongs to one of two tribes. All members of one of these tribes always tell the truth, but all members of the other tribe always lie.

What one question can you ask the native in order to find out which fork in the road leads to the friendly village?

Mark Cohen, editor said...

I would ask: "If I were to ask a another member of your tribe which path leads to the friendly village, which way would he or she tell me to go?"

The native from the truthful tribe would tell me the truth -- pointing out the correct way to the friendly villiage as, indeed, any other member of his/her tribe would do.

Menwhile, the lying tribal member knows another member of his/her tribe would actually lie and send me down the path to the cannibles. The lying tribal member would therefore lie about that, and also point the way toward the friendly village.

It's a classic double negative.