How to Avoid Jury Duty, #11: Witchcraft, or Something

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I just noticed this happened in 2003 but I’m going to add it to the list anyway.

According to the Yorkshire Post, a woman was excused from jury service in a terrorism case as a result of strange behavior that included clutching a book on witchcraft and meditating (or spellcasting?) while court was in session. The court had previously made arrangements for the woman to meditate during breaks, which seems to have brought that under control. The real problem, however, was that the woman was unable or unwilling to focus on evidence because she also insisted on keeping one hand on the floor at all times.

“For religious or spiritual implications [sic],” the judge said, “she finds it necessary to place her other hand [the one not holding the witchcraft book] on the floor, which makes it difficult for her to look at the bundle [of exhibits].” (Apparently they were unwilling to lay the exhibits on the floor in front of her.) “It has nothing to do with the case,” the judge added, oddly. “I suspect it is a matter connected with the juror’s own personality.” You think?


Left hand, blue! Right hand, page through Necronomicon.

The judge said he had finally concluded the woman was not fit to serve as a juror after the other 11 jurors wrote him a note saying that they were concerned she wasn’t doing her duty.

The report says that they raised the alarm “in the sixth week of the 10-week trial,” so I assume the business with the witchcraft book and Twister poses had just recently developed. Doesn’t seem like it would take six weeks to conclude that doing this would not be entirely consistent with jury service.