A juror, Ivana Samardzic, decided to skip jury deliberations for a case she was on involving a felony shooting. The juror, 20, skipped deliberations so she could go on vacation in Cancun. She was in court on Tuesday to be told of her fate and explain why she was not present for the deliberations. Samardzic claimed that she did not understand the requirements of being a juror but that she also knew she was wrong for leaving. She left on August 15 for the trip, which she was saving for by working part-time as a dietary aide.
Samardzic said she knew she would get into trouble but was let off easy when she was fined by the judge just $300. “I don’t know if this was worth it, but I did have a good time in Cancun,” Samardzic said following a contempt hearing, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. “I am relieved. I’m just happy I’m not in jail.”
The Judge who presided over the case was Circuit Judge J.D. Watts. Watts could have proceeded to rule using a statute that would have sent the woman to jail. On the stand during the hearing was Clerk of Court John Barrett, who testified that jurors have multiple chances to remove themselves from jury duty because of conflicts, one of which is a preplanned and paid vacation.
Watts said that the actions of Samardzic were offensive to the other jurors, were selfish and that she did not follow her civic duty. Samardzic said to Watts that she did not mean to disrespect anyone when she did not come back for jury deliberations.