Steven Phillip Freed really didn’t want to be a juror in a federal case — so much so, that instead of taking an oath of service with his fellow jurors, he opted to spend the night in the Kent County Jail.
Freed was selected as an alternate juror in a U.S. District Court trial. But when he was instructed to stand and be sworn, he refused, according to Judge Robert Jonker’s order. He did eventually stand up, but he did not take the oath, reports Mlive Grand Rapids.
Jonker then held Freed in contempt, but gave him the option to purge himself. Freed declined to do so and so he spent the night in the Kent County Jail. Another juror was selected to take his place. Freed has since been released.
But according to The Holland Sentinel, Freed is not completely off the hook: Jonker has ordered him to attend the trial, which could last three weeks. The judge has also ordered him not to talk to reporters during the trial.
Jonker indicated that Freed was hoping that his actions would get him out of jury duty.
“In the experience of the Court and the six attorneys present in the Courtroom at the time of the contempt, no one was personally aware of any precedent for this kind of juror behavior,” Jonker wrote.
Posted on by Traci R. Gentilozzi