A Denver Colorado woman was recently charged with two felonies after calling a local radio station talk show host to boast about posing as a mental case in a courtroom so she would be excused from jury duty.
Called to a courtroom for a stint of involuntary servitude, i.e. jury duty, Ms. Susan Cole dressed and acted oddly telling prosecutors during a jury selection process that she had post-traumatic stress disorder from being in the military, was the victim of domestic violence and had been homeless.
The judge excused her immediately from the case.
"For about two weeks after when my roommate and I would think about it, or I would tell my clients about it, we would cry we would laugh so hard," said Cole describing the incident during a call in to Denver’s "Dave Logan Show."
"I put black eyebrows on, red lipstick on, left my hair in curlers and wore a tee shirt that read 'Ask Me About My Best Seller,'" she added, calling herself "Char from Denver." "I put my lipstick on like someone who really didn't know how to put lipstick on."
Unfortunately for Cole, An investigator from the District Attorney's office, who didn't find the stunt as hilarious as she did, was listening to the show, and tracked her down with an arrest warrant. She was charged with perjury and attempting to influence a public servant, both felonies.
This sorry tale begs the question: Where in the United States Constitution does it provide that persons may be forced by conscription against their will to drop their lives, suspend their freedom, give up their valuable time, and report to a judicial tyrant for a fixed term of slavery?
The short answer is: nowhere.
Compulsory jury service amounts to a deprivation of life, liberty and property without due process of law in violation of the due process and unlawful takings provisions of the Fifth Amendment. It also violates the freedom of speech and association provisions of the First Amendment and the prohibitions against unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment.
No person should be compelled by law to report for jury duty against her will. No person should be compelled by law to be put under oath in a courtroom against her will. No person should be persecuted by the law for seeking to avoid involuntary jury service.
Jury service in the United States of America should be voluntary. If the legal system would simply compensate voluntary citizens adequately for their time and service, they’d be clamoring at the courthouse doors to be chosen for the privilege.
That being said, this poor woman need not have gone to such ridiculous lengths to get what she wanted. She didn’t have to dress and act like a lunatic. She didn’t have to lie. All she had to do was tell the lawyers and the judge straight out that she was angry about being dragged into the courtroom against her will, was uncomfortable about serving on a jury, and could not therefore in good conscience be fair, objective, and unbiased if chosen as a juror. One won’t be charged with perjury for being honest.
A bit of honesty in this unfortunate situation would have resulted in her dismissal just as quickly, and she would have been out the courthouse door on her way back to her home and her life. No lawyer on either side of a case wants a loose cannon serving on his jury. If they think you are biased or unsettled about the process, bang, you’re gone. It’s that easy.
Anyone can honestly avoid a jury dodging felony fiasco.