A potential juror in the sprawling US gang conspiracy trial of rapper Young Thug and several others drew the judge’s ire by traveling abroad during proceedings — so he assigned her homework.
Atlanta Judge Ural Glanville mandated the woman write a 30-page essay on the importance of jury service after she traveled to the Dominican Republican on business and missed court, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The newspaper said the woman told the court she had attempted to alert jury services that she would be traveling. But when she didn’t show during the lengthy selection process, the judge ordered officers to find her.
Flaking out on jury duty can be treated as contempt of court, which could result in a hefty fine and jail time.
But Judge Glanville decided her punishment instead could serve as a teaching moment.
The woman has three weeks to complete her essay, which must be written in the primarily academic APA style, complete with 10 primary and 10 secondary sources.
It will be run through software to ensure she doesn’t plagiarize, and she must return to court on February 13 to discuss her work with the judge, the AJC reported.
Glanville emphasized jury service’s significance: “Years ago, people who looked like us couldn’t serve on juries,” he said. Both he and the potential juror are Black.
US citizens aged 18 and older are eligible to be summoned to jury duty, with a number of exceptions and disqualifications depending on the jurisdiction.
Jury selection has been underway for more than a week in the Georgia racketeering case, in which prosecutors say Young Thug’s record label is a front for a crime ring.
The hip-hop star born Jeffery Williams, who has pleaded not guilty, was one of more than two dozen people charged last spring by a grand jury, which said those named belong to a branch of the Bloods street gang identified as Young Slime Life, or YSL.
It could be weeks before any arguments are heard, as the Georgia state court works to find a crop of people able to sit for a trial expected to last much of 2023.
Potential jurors excused for hardships include a single mother working three jobs, and a second-grade teacher responsible for her classroom, according to the AJC.