A campaign worker for Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was jailed for failing to appear for a trial in which she was chosen as a juror. Anu Rangappa, 28, was picked for a jury in an assault case but instead flew to Iowa for a presidential campaign stop by Kerry in Cedar Rapids, the Washington Post reports.
Judge Erik P. Christian summoned Rangappa back to court and jailed her briefly. She pleaded guilty to contempt and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, perform 120 hours of community service, and write a 25-page paper on the importance of jury service.
Faced with a chronic juror shortage, D.C. courts have tried to track down overlooked citizens and crack down on uncooperative ones. Because two alternates had been chosen in Rangappa’s trial, the case went forward and the defendant was convicted. Courthouse veterans could not remember a time that a judge shipped a juror to jail.