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Posted: 9/24/2002 3:08:14 PM EDT
[url]http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-4/103253313638550.xml[/url] Truth hurts for potential juror Friday, September 20, 2002 By Doug Guthrie The Grand Rapids Press Lori Blumke thought she was doing her civic duty last week when she told a judge her recent hard feelings toward police officers might taint her ability to serve as an impartial juror. She was stunned when David Buter, chief judge of Grand Rapids District Court, declined to excuse her from jury duty. Instead, he ordered her to perform 24 hours of community service. Blumke, 33, reported last Friday to the court's alternative sentencing office, where she was assigned to pick up litter along with convicts. She also was slated to work eight hours a day on three consecutive Mondays in October and must submit to a Breathalyzer test. "I feel like I got punished for being honest about my opinion," said Blumke, who manages Bridge Street Superwash Laundromat on Grand Rapids' West Side. "I'm going to miss three days of work. I'm being treated like a criminal because I told the truth." Buter insists he did not punish Blumke but offered her a choice between community service or changing her mind about police. The judge said he offered the same option to four jurors in similar situations during his eight years on the bench -- including a woman last week who complained in writing to him that religious principles prevent her from sitting in judgment. "What I told her (Blumke) was ... we would be selecting juries for criminal cases all day long, and all of them likely would include the testimony of police officers," Buter said. "If she continued with that kind of response, she wouldn't be on any cases. If we are going to be effective spreading the load among the jurors, and we have one who says she can't or won't, I give them the option of community service." Blumke said she was given no choice by the judge. "An option is an alternative, which means choices," she said. "I told him the truth. How is taking back the truth an option? If he had said, 'You can do 24 hours of community service or 10 pushups,' I'd be doing the pushups." Grand Rapids residents selected for duty in district court serve for two months, during which they may be called for selection to juries. Depending on the luck of a blind draw, some get assigned to up to five trials. Others might never have their names called. On Sept. 13, Blumke's name was drawn with six others to take a seat in the jury box as potential jurors in a malicious destruction of property case. The prosecutor and defense lawyer took turns asking questions in an effort to get an impartial panel. When asked if she could give police officers a fair hearing, Blumke said she probably could not. She told the judge she was upset that police the previous weekend refused to take a report for a co-worker who was hit by a woman with a broom handle when the woman was told she could not park in the Laundromat parking lot. Blumke was excused from that jury at the prosecutor's request, but the luck of the draw put her back in the jury box a few minutes later when the court picked a jury for a drunken-driving case. "The judge asked me if I still had the same opinion about the police. I said, 'Yes, I do.' And he said I could fulfill my civic duty by performing 24 hours of community service," Blumke said. "My jaw fell. I saw others get excused. I expected to be told, 'Thank you Ms. Blumke, you are excused.'" Buter said he could not recall Blumke being petulant or disingenuous. "I don't know what her true motivation was," Buter said. "What did become clear is that every time she was called, she was going to talk about whatever experience this was and she was going to be excused. We were going to have the other jurors watch this. I have concerns about that." Michigan court rules allow a judge to hold a potential juror in contempt for answering falsely on questionnaires. In this case, area judges said they respect Buter but sided with Blumke. "You can't punish someone for an answer unless you can prove it is a deliberate attempt to get out of jury duty," Rockford District Judge Steven Servaas said. "You'd need statements from others who said they heard him, saying he was going to deceive the court. Otherwise, you have to just excuse them and get them out of there as quickly as you can." Another judge said he fears Buter's sanctions sent the wrong message to the other jurors. "The whole purpose of questioning jurors is we are trying to find someone who is going to be fair and impartial," Kentwood District Judge William Kelly said. "I fear the message to the rest of the jurors is, 'I'd better lie or face punishment.' Then, you have people who weren't truthful about their prejudices going back to the jury room and they raise cane over their hidden issues." Holland District Judge Susan Jonas said she has never imposed a sentence on a juror, although she did fine a juror $150 for twice failing to appear for trials. But, she added, Buter may have found "a novel approach to dealing with a frustrating problem." Blumke, who said she spoke with a lawyer, could challenge Buter's order by asking a Kent County Circuit judge to overturn the lower-court decision and stay the order of community service. Chief Kent County Circuit Judge George Buth said judges in the higher court also have struggled with what to do about jurors who have "thumbed their noses" at the process. But, he said, "I cannot recall any juror being given community service, and I cannot ever recall a juror being sanctioned at the time of jury selection." Buter is standing by his community service order, but said Thursday court officials will contact Blumke and the woman who objected due to religious reasons to change the criteria. The judge said he had no intention of forcing them to serve alongside convicts. He said they should serve a "more casual" form of service. "It is not the same court-supervised community service we would use for everyone else," Buter said. "The better approach is let them choose an agency they perhaps have done volunteer work for in the past. They will be allowed to choose their own site and send confirmation to the court before Dec. 30."
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:09:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:25:13 PM EDT
Only in America........
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:27:15 PM EDT
Wow, I am sure going to tell them about any of my foibles that might preclude mefrom being a good juror on a case now....... What a retarded judge
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:32:39 PM EDT
I hope there is more to this story than this. Bullshit anyway.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:34:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 3:52:07 PM EDT
According to the story, she was offered the choice of changing her mind. She gave an honest opinion. She can't change that. So the judge would prefer she lie and sit on a jury, and possibly prejudice a case, all in the name of expediency. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I hope she sues!!!!!
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:00:49 PM EDT
The governor or attorney general should give him a choice...step down from the bench voluntarily, or clean the local drunk tanks for every night for a month. See how he likes "choices".....power corrupts every one eventually. It's a friggin' shame. Ed
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:06:30 PM EDT
That'll show her! I bet she LOVES cops now! Judges too!
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:11:55 PM EDT
If you want to get excused from jury duty, tell the Court that you understand the concept of "jury nullification," and you'll be happy to explain it to the rest of the jurors. They'll toss you out on your ear.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:15:32 PM EDT
shoot his nuts off.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:44:19 PM EDT
The county I live in has a "one day or one trial policy". Also, if you admit to a predjudice against police or anything involving a criminal trial, most judges here just reassign you to a civil trial pool. I've been called several times and only served on one trial (criminal).
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:49:28 PM EDT
You just wait until Imbroglio finds this thread.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 4:58:19 PM EDT
Originally Posted By redray: shoot his nuts off.
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I'm sensing a theme here.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 5:10:00 PM EDT
As an attorney who has picked more than 20 juries, I can give my honest professional opinion that this is utter bullshit. What that judge did violates due process, and his ass ought to be off the bench.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 5:20:18 PM EDT
"she was offered the choice of changing her mind. She gave an honest opinion" Sounds like the judge was [i]soliciting perjury[/i].
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 5:29:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/24/2002 5:52:35 PM EDT by Happyshooter]
In Michigan we have free and open elections for judges. To get around that the parties have calculated the exact time that a judge can resign and have a replacement appointed in order to serve the last two years of the existing six year term. The party in power then offers judges in office anywhere from 150% to double their pension to retire at that time and let them replace them. The people appointed are then party hacks who are total dipshits on the bench unless they are getting commands on how to rule from the party. The only good judges we now get in this state are when a sitting judge dies in office. That means when he dies outside the appointment time frame there is an actual election to replace him and a good lawyer is selected instead of the usual crap on the bench.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 5:49:48 PM EDT
When asked if she could give police officers a fair hearing, Blumke said she probably could not.
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Punished for honesty? She did [i]the man[/i] a favor, so she gets punished for it. It just doesn't make sense. It looks like the cops would love to be able to quietly kick people, that have had exposure to the way they operate, off of a jury so that they can stack it in their favor.z
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 7:09:51 PM EDT
Our legal system is a pile of shit. Lawyers, cops and friends of judges get an automatic pass from ever serving on a jury. I think cops are the biggest fucking crooks around. I once had to tell a judge what I thought of him, the cops, his court, and his juries. He didn't like to hear it--had me in his chambers threatening me with contempt and other bullshit. I didn't really want to spend a night in jail, but I told him I would god-damned if I was going to sit around for days or weeks listening to their bullshit. The case was about some dumb asshole who got busted for drugs and this was his second or maybe third trial (had two hung juries before that). I told that judge if they couldn't convict the guy the first two times, then they shouldn't waste my time trying for a third time. Especially since I thought all drugs should be legal. I was excused. I hope to never have to go back. I'll unregister to vote and not have a driver's license before I ever sit for another jury.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 7:28:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By KBaker: If you want to get excused from jury duty, tell the Court that you understand the concept of "jury nullification," and you'll be happy to explain it to the rest of the jurors. They'll toss you out on your ear.
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Didn't work that way for me. The judge threatened me with contempt. I played nice guy and waited 'til we were outside the courthouse and told the judge he could stick it in his fat ass. Skip forward almost 2 years. My 77-year-old grandmother gets busted for selling beer to a minor (because there is normally an "ask for I.D." prompt on the register and it didn't pop up, she assumed it was non-alcoholic beer) and the judge was meaner than Hell to her, but luckily for him he didn't convict her of anything. Can you guess who the judge was?
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 7:52:44 PM EDT
If this is the whole story, it is simply outrageous! I am disgusted that a sitting judge would punish a citizen for stating her conscience beliefs truthfully and respectfully. [:(!] It is every citizens duty to serve as a juror when called ( emergencies excepted ). It is not a particularly pleasant experience, ( excellent meals and snacks though! [;)]) but necessary to keep tabs on the government. On the drug issue, if you use drugs you will eventually be caught and punished. They don't need to convict you to punish you. Asset forfeiture, attorneys fees, etc. It is unfortunate, but that is the reality.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 10:19:33 PM EDT
Four simple words explain the judge's actions: [size=6][b][red]WE[/red] [white]ARE[/white] [blue]AT[/blue] [red]WAR!!!!!![/red][/b] [/size=6] You civilians have absolutely no respect for those in law enforcement and it is high time that this judge stood up for the heroes that protect the freedoms in our great democracy. Any civilian who does not unquestionably serve the brave cops who patrol the streets 24/7 should be arrested for obstruction of justice.
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 10:46:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Imbroglio: Four simple words explain the judge's actions: [size=6][b][red]WE[/red] [white]ARE[/white] [blue]AT[/blue] [red]WAR!!!!!![/red][/b] [/size=6] You civilians have absolutely no respect for those in law enforcement and it is high time that this judge stood up for the heroes that protect the freedoms in our great democracy. Any civilian who does not unquestionably serve the brave cops who patrol the streets 24/7 should be arrested for obstruction of justice.
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Amen brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!![whacko]
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 10:49:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Kaesan: On the drug issue, if you use drugs you will eventually be caught and punished. They don't need to convict you to punish you. Asset forfeiture, attorneys fees, etc. It is unfortunate, but that is the reality.
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Um, that is just not true. I know many drug users who used for many years before eventually quitting, none of which were ever "caught and punished." And the RICO statutes are a violation of the fourth ammendment, no matter what a bunch of corrupt judges say. I personally feel we should have a pool of professional jurors, who are educationally and intellectually fit to pass judgement. Maybe that would stem some of the crap lawsuit judgement. And I'd feel better going up to trial in front them rather than people too stupid to get out of jury duty. [:)]
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 11:00:54 PM EDT
This only supports the notion that the US is a [i]judiciarchy[/i] (Is that a word?).
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 11:21:34 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 11:39:30 PM EDT
OMFG!
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 6:35:01 AM EDT
Did the judge have her try the "bloody glove" on? Maybe he could have hit her with something more substancial. I agree this is complete BS.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 6:50:42 AM EDT
Reminds me of the ads on TV right now , about the Libarian calling the cops cause you checked out a "Bad" book.. or the cops taking you in cause the found a [u]newspaper[/u] in his car.. People around her REFUSE to believe we are already there.. : It could never happen here they say.. after itdoes: Well it only happened ONCE, After 9 times.. Well the .gov knows best.. [>(][>(][>(][>(]
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 6:50:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By trickshot: Our legal system is a pile of shit. Lawyers, cops and friends of judges get an automatic pass from ever serving on a jury. I think cops are the biggest fucking crooks around. I once had to tell a judge what I thought of him, the cops, his court, and his juries. He didn't like to hear it--had me in his chambers threatening me with contempt and other bullshit. I didn't really want to spend a night in jail, but I told him I would god-damned if I was going to sit around for days or weeks listening to their bullshit. The case was about some dumb asshole who got busted for drugs and this was his second or maybe third trial (had two hung juries before that). I told that judge if they couldn't convict the guy the first two times, then they shouldn't waste my time trying for a third time. Especially since I thought all drugs should be legal. I was excused. I hope to never have to go back. I'll unregister to vote and not have a driver's license before I ever sit for another jury.
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What an un-American asshole. Your jury DUTY isn't something you should think of as a chore, its an honor. When else in your pathetic life can you have such an impact on someone elses lives. Too bad the judge didn't hold you in contempt, a night in jail would been a good start for your disgusting unprovoked behavior. I'm surprised he bothered with you in his chambers though. Atleast he had more dignity than you do.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 7:26:32 AM EDT
All the subsequent jurors, when ask the same question, should have replied [b]"Your Honor(?), I invoke my 5th Amendment Right to avoid self incrimination"[/b]
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 7:39:49 AM EDT
Balzac you should have really put a smiley after that.......or if you meant here's the fire....What in the hell do you mean by my Duty as a citizen.....to fill out a 10 page questionaire and be jailed if I refuse, to listen to and be subject to a judge that says things like----the @#$% amendment is not available to you, to be told that whatever anyone thinks about the facts of the case, that we have to agree the judge and his "verdict", to see people jailed for contempt of court for telling the truth, for having to go through a system of jury selection and damn well guarantees that only idiots and illiterates will be empaneled............to hell with the whole system....every time they call me I see this huge ball of crap....professional lawyers, judges, counselors....all of them can go deep sea diving with sharks.....
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 8:14:22 AM EDT
I have a different take on this story, after having been to dozens of jury selections over the years. I've seen everything from faked heart attacks to folks "borrowing" kids to get out of jury duty, to people calling in bomb threats while actually seated in the court room. (with the bailiff standing behind them) It's quite possible the judge thought he had another scam on his hands, and took action he thought proper. BTW: Police do not get an automatic pass on jury duty. I've served on four. One was five weeks long.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 8:59:08 AM EDT
Let this be a lesson to all you - I don't like the police crowd, you will like them or the Judges will have you picking up trash along side the road with the welefare scum.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:02:54 AM EDT
Call out the ACLU. A lawsuit against the judge appears to be warranted...and maybe even jail time. The lady should have refused the community service. CJ
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:11:31 AM EDT
Illegal to lie...illegal to tell the truth...interesting.[uzi]
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:14:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2002 9:16:20 AM EDT by Lazyshooter]
Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER: Only in America........
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Isn't that a Brooks and Dunn song?[:D] There are idiots who try and weasel out of jury duty. I've seen it. That said, this judge appears to have a [i]Superior[/i]ity complex. Alot of them do.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:19:03 AM EDT
All I can say is WOW. I wounder what will happen when everyone feels this way about five-o.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:33:20 AM EDT
Quickest and apparently safest way to be dismissed as a juror is to politely "Ask the judge to explain jury nulification, please". Judge will give ya an instant ticket outta there! Mike
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 9:52:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2002 9:54:01 AM EDT by Gopher]
[b]Blumke, 33, reported last Friday to the court's alternative sentencing office, where she was assigned to pick up litter along with convicts. She also was slated to work eight hours a day on three consecutive Mondays in October and must submit to a Breathalyzer test. [/b] WTF with the breatalyzer test on top of all that BS. Did he think she was going to show up drunk? Or was that to prove the legality of the breathlyzer vs the cops word? He must be bucking for his own TV show.
Link Posted: 9/25/2002 10:12:39 AM EDT
Damn, what if she had said she has hard feelings toward judges????? Think like I do or suffer the consequenses!!!! Geez, isn't that why the Pilgrams fled England??? I hope the ACLU gets involved in this one, this judge needs to go down!
Link Posted: 9/26/2002 5:42:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/26/2002 5:46:57 AM EDT by Balzac72]
Originally Posted By hound: Balzac you should have really put a smiley after that.......or if you meant here's the fire....
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Bring it on...
What in the hell do you mean by my Duty as a citizen.....
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I mean that it is your DUTY to sit in judgment on a case, which is why it is part of that duty to...
fill out a 10 page question[b]n[/b]aire and be jailed if I refuse, to listen to and be subject to a judge that says things like----the @#$% amendment is not available to you
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What judge has said that the _______ Amendment is not available to you?!?!?! Be more specific if you're going to make a broad generalization like that.
to be told that whatever anyone thinks about the facts of the case, that we have to agree the judge and his "verdict"
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Have you even been to a trial? The judge doesn't give a verdict, the jurors do. The judge can overturn it ONLY if the facts of the case are such that a REASONABLE JURY could not have made the finding that they came to, based on the evidence.
to see people jailed for contempt of court for telling the truth
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Do you think the case was as clear cut as how the story made it sound? I bet you that this woman was pulling excuses out of her ass. I also bet you that the record would indicate her unwillingness to sit on any jury. Unwillingness and failure to tell the truth are contempt offenses at the least.
for having to go through a system of jury selection and damn well guarantees that only idiots and illiterates will be empanel[b]l[/b]ed
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Watch it, these are the juries of your peers and in my experience, as stupid as they may be individually, they usually come to a fair ruling based on the presented evidence. Have you ever sat on one?
to hell with the whole system....every time they call me I see this huge ball of crap....professional lawyers, judges, counselors....all of them can go deep sea diving with sharks.....
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So it basically sounds like you're intimidated by professionals. Its a shame. Were you on the receiving end of the legal system at one point or another? You don't seem to have a lot of knowledge on the legal process, maybe you should watch less Judge Judy and more Court TV. The judge only rules on the evidence and the law. Your assumptions are funny in a stupid way. I hope one day you grow up enough to sit as an impartial juror. The same kind of juror you yourself would hope to have if you needed one. Would you rather have Professional jurors? Think merry ol England when you think about that one. And think about it...some poor guy might have been arrested for some gun crime and there you are sitting in his jury pool. Are you willing to leave him to the [b]"professional lawyers, judges, counselors?"[/b} OR, would you take your knowledge and beliefs and use them to test if he is guilty or innocent instead of leaving him to others who may be more prejudicial to gun use? Think about it. PS. Trickshot's comments and story were disgusting, which is why I posted here at all.
Link Posted: 9/26/2002 8:03:48 AM EDT
Just another vivid example of where America is now. [center][red][size=4][b]Guilty until proven innocent; if proven innocent, then driven to penury through forfeiture and legal costs.[/b][/size=4][/center][/red]
Link Posted: 9/26/2002 8:42:26 AM EDT
Boy, you guys sure get your panties in a bunch over a minor thing. Looks like the judge was just trying to come down on people who always try to skate from their civic duty. God knows there are a bunch of them. On the other hand, if I was told to do pushups or community service instead of jury duty. I would choose pushups as long at the judge kissed my ass while I was doing them.
Link Posted: 9/26/2002 9:14:08 AM EDT
hello Balzac...excellent reply and I will try to address each. Is it my duty Yes and I have gone when called, fully intending to do my duty, no excuses. amendment?-Several news reports have stated that the judge, either in instructions to the jury or instructions to the accused, has said that one of the BOR is not available. Verdict?-Judge telling the jury that this is what they are allowed to do and only this...ain't so. Whether it was an excuse or not..it was the truth.This woman is not jury material and should have been sent home. Ajury of my peers would never contain someone who didn't know anything about the case. My peers are more knowledgeable than I am about world,state and local affairs. Eric the Hun would be on a jury of my peers because he knows more than I do. You want a perfect example of a jury full of idiots..look at the OJ trial. I am a professional....I work in corporate electronic security and I assure you that I know way more about the legal system than most. I have been reading tax code and 2nd amendment stuff for years know and not just the summaries. If I actually ever made it to a jury for a second amendment trial, I would be in jail for being an informed juror......and using jury nullification.
Link Posted: 9/26/2002 3:58:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By hound: hello Balzac...excellent reply and I will try to address each. Is it my duty Yes and I have gone when called, fully intending to do my duty, no excuses. amendment?-Several news reports have stated that the judge, either in instructions to the jury or instructions to the accused, has said that one of the BOR is not available. Verdict?-Judge telling the jury that this is what they are allowed to do and only this...ain't so. Whether it was an excuse or not..it was the truth.This woman is not jury material and should have been sent home. Ajury of my peers would never contain someone who didn't know anything about the case. My peers are more knowledgeable than I am about world,state and local affairs. Eric the Hun would be on a jury of my peers because he knows more than I do. You want a perfect example of a jury full of idiots..look at the OJ trial. I am a professional....I work in corporate electronic security and I assure you that I know way more about the legal system than most. I have been reading tax code and 2nd amendment stuff for years know and not just the summaries. If I actually ever made it to a jury for a second amendment trial, I would be in jail for being an informed juror......and using jury nullification.
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Fair enough...but I'd like more info on the BOR issue. Was there a jury instruction to disregard the BOR or what? We didn't have the story up here by me, so you're privy to more info than I am, I thought you were stating that judges in the past have disregarded the BOR. A trial I just finished was all about the BOR and how my NYS Troopers violated those rights. I've sat through a many jury instructions and I've always found the judge to be on point and if he isn't, the attornies will let him know. I'd be happy to have someone "informed" like you on my trial. I find it less grueling to have intelligent jurors who understand the issues than bumbling numb-nut bafoons, if you know what I mean. I hope that you don't have the contempt for the court system that APPEARED in your first post, I hope I read it wrong, because [i]for the most part,[/i] the system is ok.
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