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Juror To Be Sentenced For Skipping Out For Business Trip During Trial

Jury Box

A jury box in a courtroom at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A former federal court juror now has his own legal troubles for skipping out on jury duty in the middle of a trial.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the Chicago Sun-Times says Scott Enke, 33, served on a federal jury for a short time in March, but he got up and left for a business trip in the middle of the Medicare fraud trial.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Enke is a medical device sales representative, and the Sun-Times reports he had tried calling the trial judge, the day before, asking to be excused. He claims Alberta Rone, the clerk for U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon, excused him from court, but Rone denied doing so, and said she could not authorize a juror’s absence, the Sun-Times reported.

Enke ended up going off to attend a procedure where products distributed by his employer, Covidien PLC, would be used at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, the Sun-Times reported.

A doctor had failed so show up at an earlier procedure in January and the university was threatening to drop Covidien, so Enke believed he had to be there for the procedure or else he might lose the client, the Sun-Times reported.

Enke could have mentioned the planned business trip when he was interviewed for jury selection, but he did not, the newspaper reported.

Enke’s decision to bail did not go over well with U.S. District Chief Judge James Holderman, who found him in contempt of court for missing the trial on March 8, the Sun-Times reported. Holderman said Enke had acted on an assumption that serving on a jury was not as important as a business trip, which so many people do that it undermines the effectiveness of the jury as an institution, the Sun-Times reported.

Holderman is waiting to sentence Enke until finding out about his background, but he faces three days in prison and a fine of $1,000, the Sun-Times reported.