Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adventures in law

I seldom post news stories that are unrelated to trading, but this one is so outrageous, so important and so applicable to every one of us, it simply has to be posted.

A Texas man was jailed for 83 days for failure to appear for jury duty, six years ago. He was denied counsel, locked up and forgotten. This wasn't Mexico, or Nicaragua, or Russia, or Pakistan, or Tibet, this was Texas. He was released only after intervention of the Dallas Morning News who received a letter from him describing the ordeal, written from jail.

Jury duty is the penalty assessed for registering to vote and driving on the roads. Notwithstanding the 13th Amendment of our Constitution, it is indentured servitude. It wreaks havoc on individual lives, businesses and the way we view government. The vile, heavy handed policy of no exceptions, no excuses, no remedies at law make jury duty as practiced today all the more despotic and loathsome.

I read a story like this and I want to practice law again; so I can wreak havoc on deserving souls, like the ones responsible for the jailing described below. Now that I don't have to do it for income, maybe I should, just a kind of last hurrah in the scheme of my life and duty as an officer of the court and Colonel in the Georgia militia (admittance into the Georgia Bar automatically grants you the title of "Colonel" in the Georgia militia and the privilege/obligation to muster a regiment in the event of war).

As you read this story below, be mindful of the evasive behavior of all those responsible for this travesty of justice as they wiggle and deflect responsibility, circa post-World War II accomplices of the Holocaust.


Texas man jailed 83 days for skipping jury duty

McKINNEY, Texas (AP) - A man arrested for allegedly failing to appear for jury duty was released Saturday after spending 83 days in jail, a length of detention that a judge called "unacceptable."

Douglas Maupin was released a day after The Dallas Morning News brought his plight to the attention of a Collin County judge.

Maupin, a masonry contractor, was arrested Feb. 15 after police pulled him over for speeding. Police then detained him on a 2003 warrant for failure to appear for jury duty.

He wrote a letter to the newspaper about his lengthy jail stay, then said in a jailhouse interview that he, his friends and family could not afford his $1,500 bail.

He said his attempt to get a public defender was rebuffed by a jail clerk.

District Judge Chris Oldner said he was unaware of Maupin's detention until Friday, even though the case was assigned to his court. The judge who signed the original 2003 warrant had retired, and officials said the case was assigned to the court of his replacement but the offense didn't fall under that court's responsibility.

"He should not have spent that much time. This is unacceptable," Oldner told the Morning News. "I don't know why the process failed to notify us."

Oldner also said that Maupin should have been allowed to apply for a public defender. Maupin, 34, said he just wanted his day in court.

"I do know I have the right to due process and a speedy trial," he said. "I've had neither. It's not right."

The judge said he was "disappointed this has happened," and promised to investigate.

More: His stay in jail cost the cash strapped county $5,785

Original Dallas Morning News Story:

Douglas Maupin was held at the Collin County Detention Facility for 83 days on a warrant for failure to appear for jury duty. During those days of legal purgatory, he said he was unable to hire a lawyer, post bail or even get a clear explanation of what type of charge he was being held on.

His case was finally handled Friday afternoon – a few hours after a judge heard from The Dallas Morning News about his situation.
More on Jury Duty (and Voodoo dolls)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story Allan. I agree, reading something like this leaves me fuming. I'd be all for it if you were to enjoy a "last hurrah" farewell tour to defend the "little guys" in the world....somebody has to. Long ago, the leaders of our country quit following the rule of law. It is time that someone defends it!

Gary said...

although a Stiff sentence.....possibly the poor souls who are wrongly convicted of heinous crimes, receiving Life and sometimes Death sentences only to later have DNA proof that they hadn't committed the crime ....sometimes sitting in prison 10-20 years would be better served!!

John said...

I agree an error was made, but was it institutional or premeditated? What about the poor sap who might have been improperly convicted because this chump wasn't on the jury and some other bonehead was instead while he was trying to avoid his "duty." Perhaps, had he served on the jury, the innocent guy might have been exonerated or the guilty one might have actually been served justice. Many of the arguments made for getting out of jury duty seemed to be good arguments for having having those same people serve on a jury -- after all, they are so much more enlightened.

Not buying the oppressor/victim argument. Change the law if you think jury duty is slavery or indentured servitude.

Allan said...

John, just as likely that a disgruntled juror holds out and lets a felon free to harm another innocent victim, all because he/she is a juror against their will.

As for the law, it is you my friend who wants to change it. I am fine with the 13th Amendment as written. If you want to force citizens to sit on juries against their will, I suggest you change the law to allow involuntary servitude in certain instances.

John said...

Perhaps you are correct -- someone might have been wrongly convited because a juror didn't like being forced to serve, or vice(sp) versa. But if so, it means an argument can be made either way. It does not mean the guy who scofflawed, while improperly imprisoned, was correct in avoiding his duty "under the law."

Since when does the Constitution get in the way of making laws? Let's make a list. A to Z or by order of importance? I'll start with Mccain/Feingold, an easy one.

Allan said...

John, your list is in reverse chronological order. McCain-Fiengold is 3rd, at best. Both the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996 have eroded significantly more civil liberties then Feingold and when taken together, render the constitution nothing more then a lifeless, vague memory from a 1st year law course, an exercise in fiction to re-wire the brains of eager newbie law students.

John said...

Okay, Allan. Uncle.