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Legal Ethics

Judge Expresses Outrage over Law Firm’s Threat to Fire Employee for Jury Service

Posted Sep 15, 2011 6:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Michigan judge overseeing the murder retrial of a comic store owner expressed outrage on Wednesday after a juror claimed her law firm employer planned to fire her because of her lengthy service.

The threat was contained in a letter from the firm to a juror deciding the fate of Michael George, accused of killing his wife at their comic store in Macomb County in 1990, report the Detroit Free Press, the Macomb Daily and ClickOnDetroit.com.

The letter said the woman would have to be replaced if she stayed on the jury for the entire trial. The Macomb Daily describes the juror as a low-level employee who had worked at the firm for about 10 weeks.

The judge, Mary Chrzanowski, did not reveal the name of the firm. “I find this unbelievable, that they would have the audacity to do this,” Chrzanowski said of the firm. “I never in my 19 years [as a judge] have encountered this. It’s a disgrace to our system.”

Chrzanowski refused a prosecution request to dismiss the juror. "The issue is, do we let her go and let this law firm, that's what's got me riled, rule this court with this letter?" Chrzanowski said.

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