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Friday, February 5, 2010

 

Man files false report to avoid jury duty

Man files false crash report to avoid jury duty

Chris Green

Rockford Register STAR

Feb 05, 2010

12:05 AM

ROCKFORD — A man who went to elaborate lengths to avoid jury duty succeeded.

Instead, he will serve 30 days of home confinement, 90 days of probation, 100 hours of community service and pay a $5,000 fine.

Gerald Lee Mance, 60, of Morrison was found in contempt of federal court Thursday for failure to appear for jury duty.

Mance was summoned and appeared for jury duty in a criminal prosecution in federal court on Nov. 30.

At the end of the day, jury selection was not completed, and prospective jurors were asked to return the next day. Mance failed to return.

Order issued
U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Kapala issued an order requesting that the U.S. attorney file a motion for a rule to show cause why Mance should not be held in contempt for failure to appear for jury service.

On Dec. 2, such a motion was filed.

On Dec. 21, Mance appeared in court. He admitted that after the first day of jury duty, he stopped at the residence of a friend who was a law enforcement officer and secretly stole a blank Illinois traffic accident report form from the officer’s home.

Call to court clerk
The next day, Mance called the district court clerk’s office and falsely stated he had been involved in a traffic accident with a deer and was unable to come to Rockford for jury duty.

Mance offered to fax a copy of the accident report to the clerk.

That afternoon, a deputy U.S. marshal went to Mance’s office and asked where the deer accident occurred. Mance falsely stated the accident occurred in Morrison.

The following morning, Mance faxed the bogus accident report to the clerk’s office.

Mance later acknowledged he had not been in an accident and the accident report was false.

‘Almost unfathomable’

At sentencing, Kapala described Mance’s conduct as “brazen” and “almost unfathomable.”

Kapala stated that jury duty may not be convenient, but it is important to our criminal justice system.

He also noted another prospective juror on the same panel had a child with a serious medical condition but was willing to reschedule treatment in order to serve on the jury.

Kapala said: “I think your conduct was profane when compared to the sacrifice that she made.”

The contempt proceedings were prosecuted in federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorney John G. McKenzie.


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