ILNews

Judge penalizes no-show juror

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A Lake County criminal court judge took a former juror to task Tuesday for skipping jury duty during a murder trial this spring.

Superior Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. found a 20-year-old Cedar Lake resident in contempt of court and sentenced him to three hours in the county jail, as well as ordering him to carry a 24-inch by 24-inch sign saying "I failed to appear for jury duty" from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Monday outside the Crown Point courthouse.

That will be a warning to any other prospective jurors who might consider not showing up for their civic duty, the judge said. Judge Stefaniak says this matter has been a problem in Lake County and he's aware of it being an issue statewide. More courts are cracking down with fines or penalties, such as in Marion County where judges last year began threatening and issuing fines, community service, and jail time for those who fail to appear when summoned.

In this case, Judge Stefaniak called former juror Michael Leibengood back for a contempt hearing to answer for his no-show conduct on the second day of a murder trial in May. He was replaced by an alternate. The judge told Leibengood he didn't believe his excuse of getting a flat tire on the way to court, and that the juror had lied on a questionnaire about not being charged or convicted of any misdemeanor or felony crimes.

Bailiffs took Leibengood into custody and he served the three-hour jail sentence before lunch, the judge said.
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  1. OK, now do something about this preverted anacronism

  2. William Hartley prosecutor of Wabash county constantly violates people rights. Withholds statement's, is bias towards certain people. His actions have ruined lives and families. In this county you question him or go out of town for a lawyer,he finds a way to make things worse for you. Unfair,biased and crooked.

  3. why is the State trying to play GOD? Automatic sealing of a record is immoral. People should have the right to decide how to handle a record. the state is playing GOD. I have searched for decades, then you want me to pay someone a huge price to contact my son. THIS is extortion and gestapo control. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW.

  4. I haven't made some of the best choices in the last two years I have been to marion county jail 1 and two on three different occasions each time of release dates I've spent 48 to 72 hours after date of release losing a job being denied my freedom after ordered please help

  5. Out here in Kansas, where I now work as a government attorney, we are nearing the end of a process that could have relevance in this matter: "Senate Bill 45 would allow any adult otherwise able to possess a handgun under state and federal laws to carry that gun concealed as a matter of course without a permit. This move, commonly called constitutional carry, would elevate the state to the same club that Vermont, Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming have joined in the past generation." More reading here: http://www.guns.com/2015/03/18/kansas-house-panel-goes-all-in-on-constitutional-carry-measure/ Time to man up, Hoosiers. (And I do not mean that in a sexist way.)

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