Trials & Litigation

Angry prospective juror says what he thinks on questionnaire, gets 3 days in jail instead

As a convicted felon, Erick E. Haubenstricker could have been excused from jury duty simply by including this fact on a questionnaire.

But the 36-year-old Michigan man took a different tack on the document, adding profanity-laced comments that blasted the system. On Monday, despite apologizing, he was sentenced to three days in jail after pleading guilty last month to misdemeanor contempt of court, reports. The news website also provides a link to the questionnaire (PDF) he filled out.

“Your comments on the jury questionnaire were so over the top and done in such a manner that when I referred you to the probation department to report, my main concern was to see if you were suffering from a mental illness,” Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran told Haubenstricker, but that wasn’t the case. “You were just angry, and the people who work in this court have difficult jobs to do, and they don’t deserve to be treated as you treated them.”

Haubenstricker’s lawyer, Paul F. Beggs, had sought leniency, arguing that many saw his client’s conduct as a stupid exercise of free speech rather than a crime.

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