Juror No. 799, an Asian woman in her 20s who said she works in the garment industry, was up for jury duty in the death penalty trial of Bonanno crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.
It didn't take long for her to start looking worse than the defendant.These -- truthful -- answers pissed off the Judge.
Asked to name three people she least admired, she wrote on her questionnaire: "African-Americans, Hispanics and Haitians."
When the judge asked why she answered the question that way, she replied, "You always hear about them in the news doing something."
She also declared that cops are all lazy, claiming that they sound their sirens to bypass traffic jams.
"She's coming back [today], Thursday and Friday - and until the future, when I am ready to dismiss her," Garaufis said.What is wrong with this picture? She answered truthfully -- which is what the attorneys and Judges want and is exactly what she was probably told to do at the beginning of the questionnaire. (I haven't seen the questionnaire.) The purpose is to avoid ending up with a biased or otherwise tained jury. Maybe she's racist, maybe she hates cops. Isn't this exactly the kind of thing they would want to try and weed out? And because the Judge didn't like her (truthful) viewpoint he's going to punish her?
What is the message this Judge is trying to send? That people should lie on their juror questionnaires in case someone might be offended by their point of view? If you are the slightest bit racist you should lie about it? Many criminal trial juror questionnaires involve questions about race in some shape or form, particularly when there are black defendants and white victims. Should you lie if you have feelings about that one way or the other? Many questionnaires also have questions about feelings toward law enforcement. Should you lie? As much as Judge Garaufis might like to believe we live in a perfect world where everyone loves everyone else, that is not the case -- which is clear from the very need for juror questionnaires on these topics. This really doesn't make any sense to me. I find it hard to believe that this woman is the first person in history to display any racism or disdain for law enforcement on one of these questionnaires. What's the big deal? Why did the Judge get so offended? I really hope there is more to this story...