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Jury Duty: Your Civic Responsibility, or a Chance to Score a Date?

Lately, it seems like juror behavior is getting more press time than the actual trials. The potential for a reality show, Juror Shore, could be real. But who will play the juror version of Snookie?

I propose one so far unidentified female resident of Connecticut, who is serving as an alternate juror in the sentencing phase of a murder trial that has made national news headlines. The defendant, Stephen Hayes, has been convicted of 16 charges in the home-invasion murders of Jennifer HawkePetit and her two daughters, Haley and Michaela.

Remember a post I did recently where I pointed out that jurors are not always thinking about what they should be thinking about, like, you know, the actual trial? Well, turns out the alternate juror in this case felt that scoring a date with an apparently irresistible bailiff was more important than making a decision about whether another human being, albeit one convicted of heinous crimes, should live or die.

It is kind of funny, a little reminiscent of high school – and Jersey Shore – that the alternate juror on the prowl got busted trying to pass a written hook-up proposal to the bailiff. Only she gave it to another juror to pass on, and just like school, the totally embarrassing evidence intended for the object of the sender’s affections ended up in the hands of the teacher, or in this case, the judge. Who read it to the whole class, or in this case, the whole courtroom.

Judge Jon C. Blue, despite being a self-professed romantic, said what you are all thinking, “Pardon my French, but this was a godd— dumb thing to do.” (I just love it when judges speak French.) Hey, there’s an alternate title for the juror reality show, Godd— Dumb Things Jurors Do.

The New York Daily News reports that the humiliated but still daffy juror tried to assert the no-law-against-luvvvvv-defense, but her undeniable act of idiocy could have resorted in a mistrial:

The juror tried to defend herself, stating that although the court bars jurors from discussing the case, it doesn’t have rules against attempts at love connections, The New York Times reported.

Blue responded that the juror broke the seminal unwritten rule that all jurors should follow: “Don’t do anything stupid.”

The juror would likely have been booted if she wasn’t needed to complete the jury panel.

Twelve jurors are required to decide Hayes’ fate. The case could result in a mistrial with fewer.

The innocent bailiff was temporarily transferred, likely so the alternate juror could keep her mind on the serious issues before her. The defense still filed motions not just to dismiss her, but also for a mistrial based on her continuing presence on the panel, both denied today. The New Haven Independent thoroughly discusses the rapidly decreasing juror numbers that may still imperil this trial.

The juror with the crush she couldn’t keep a lid on hasn’t been the only kid sent to the principal’s office from this jury – another juror was dismissed for talking junk – while sitting in the panel – about the “bull—-” defense.

Juror Shore, I’m tellin‘ ya – it could be a hit.

And Judge Blue’s universal rule for juror conduct – those are words to live by and easy to remember. So go out there, and don’t do anything stupid.

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