A juror in Plainfield got a slap on the wrist Tuesday when a judge sentenced with a fine, a speech and an essay instead of jail time for skipping out on jury duty to go on a business trip.
Scott Enke, 33, of Plainfield was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, give a speech to the American Bar Association in October and write an essay for future jurors about the importance of showing up for jury duty by U.S. District Judge James Holderman.
Enke could have been sentenced to up to three days in prison, community service time and a fine after a U.S. District judge found Enke in contempt of court back in March for failing to appear in court, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Holderman said he chose the fine, speech and essay over jail time due to Enke's positive attitude, and the fact that his public consequences "are helping get the message out already" about the importance of jury duty.
"I do believe you are sincere about your circumstances," Holderman said Tuesday at the sentencing. "I do believe this was an educational process."
Enke traveled to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on March 8 for business while he was assigned to serve on a jury for a Medicare fraud trial. At the sentencing he apologized for taking the business trip despite his duty to the jury.
“What I thought was more important wasn’t,” Enke said. “...I do feel bad and am sorry for putting the jury through this.”
Enke said he called the courtroom deputy clerk and claimed he was excused, but the clerk denied that. Enke also said he left a message on the trial judge’s voicemail. That didn't sit too well with a federal judge.
Enke’s lawyer insisted that wasn’t true, saying there were a lot of "crossed signals" and his client isn't one to disrespect the law.
According to the Sun-Times, Enke received five days off from his employer, Covidien PLC, a medical device supplier, for jury duty, but he failed to tell the court about a business trip that was rescheduled.