Woman Fined for Bailing on Jury Duty
MILWAUKEE– A woman learned how serious it is to fulfill your civic duty after going before a judge for not completing her jury duty obligation. Ivana Samardzic was in court two weeks ago as a juror.
Now, she has to face the music for abandoning her duties for a trip to Mexico.
“This is an unusual circumstance in my recollection,” said Milwaukee judge J.D. Watts.
Samardzic didn’t come back for deliberations in a criminal trial. She instead went on a family trip to Cancun.
“That was my first time serving, so I didn’t know how to deal with it or anything. I didn’t know what to say,” she said.
If she would’ve missed her meeting with the judge last week, she could’ve faced jail time because her actions as a juror could’ve cost taxpayers thousands of dollars if there had been a mistrial.
The judge was essentially trying to determine if she was in contempt of court. The clerk of circuit courts took the stand during her mini-trial and her brother spoke on her behalf.
“What she thought was that she only had to be here Monday and Tuesday, and that’s what I thought as well,” said Bojan Samardzic.
English is the woman’s second language so she didn’t understand the trial would last.
“I didn’t mean any disrespect to not come Thursday,” she said. “It was planned like six months ago. And I work part-time. And I really worked hard for that, to save a lot of money.”
The judge let Samardzic know she needed to take the court system seriously.
“Your act was selfish and there’s no other way to characterize it,” said Milwaukee judge J.D. Watts.
The judge says if Samardzic had just spoken up earlier, she could have been an alternate juror, instead. Now, Samardzic must pay $300.