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Ind. Judge Gives No-Show Juror a Sign, Literally

Posted Aug 12, 2008 11:12 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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A Northwest Indiana judge aggravated that a juror failed to show up during the second day of a murder trial decided to teach the 20-year-old no-show, and anyone harboring similar ideas, a lesson.

But rather than hold Michael Leibengood behind bars for long, Lake County, Ind., Criminal Court Judge Thomas P. Stefaniak Jr. ordered Leibengood to walk around the courthouse in Crown Point holding a sign that says, "I failed to appear for jury duty."

"The right to a jury trial is an ever-important right that people in other countries do not enjoy," Stefaniak is quoted as saying to the Chicago Tribune. "Unfortunately, some people don't care or take that right as seriously as they should. So in an effort to make the point...something needed to be done."

The Post-Tribune published a photo and reports that Leibengood, who earlier told the judge he missed court because of a flat tire, complied with the judge's unusual order.

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