Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cooled his heels doing jury duty in the dingy downtown criminal courthouse yesterday, reports the Los Angeles Times. He missed meetings with the president of United Airlines and Korean mayor. In Los Angeles County, “indispensability at work” is no excuse for skipping out on jury duty. For a major portion of his four-hour courthouse stint, Villaraigosa was parked on a bench in a crowded hallway, twiddling his cellphone, tapping his shoes and waiting to hear if he’d be assigned to a nearby courtroom.
Villaraigosa said he hoped his presence would send a message about the importance of jury duty. It was the third time he had been summoned in five years. Eventually, Villaraigosa was told to report to a courtroom Monday. Defense attorney Mark Geragos believes there is little chance that Villaraigosa will get a seat at a criminal trial because he once headed a local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “I don’t think the mother of a prosecutor has been born that’s going to allow a member of the ACLU to remain a member of their jury in a criminal case,” Geragos said.