Ten years ago this month, Judge David Hittner arrests a 19-year old nursing student for not turning up for jury duty. He calls it ‘civics training’. His bruising approach to civics is a slight on the judiciary.
Student brought to court in chains in Houston for shirking jury duty
Student brought to court in chains for shirking jury duty
Originally Published on
A 19-year-old college freshman missed class Tuesday when a federal judge decided to teach her a civics lesson by ordering federal marshals to haul her in chains from school to court to explain why she shirked jury duty.
Kelsey Gloston stood in ankle and wrist restraints in court Tuesday afternoon wearing flip flops, a tight white T-shirt, short-shorts and sporting green streaks in her hair. Though she rolled her eyes and looked impatient while waiting for the judge, once U.S. District Judge David Hittner took the bench her tears flowed.
The judge was incensed that the teen had hung up on jury clerks calling to get her to the courthouse.
“You in effect went right at the jury folks and said you’d have nothing to do with it,” Hittner said sternly. “I’m going to hear exactly what your problem is with jury duty and what your problem is with how our country operates.”
The judge released Gloston, who said she’s a pre-nursing student at Lone Star College’s Cy-Fair campus, to return with a lawyer for a hearing Thursday on whether he should find her in contempt and possibly detain her.
Gloston is not the typical jury duty scofflaw. She did not entirely ignore her jury summons.
A flat tire
She appeared in federal court one day last week, filled out forms and was told to return this Monday to be on a panel of 60 potential jurors in a health care fraud case. Last week people who wanted out of jury duty were told to state their cases, but Gloston, who might have gotten a pass as a student, demurred.
When she didn’t show up Monday, she told the jury clerk who called that she had a flat tire. When the clerk offered to come pick her up, Gloston said she wanted to go to class and would not come to court. When clerks called her back later to say the judge wanted her to appear Tuesday to explain herself, she was rude and hung up on them.
“Nobody hangs up on our people,”
Hittner told Gloston, who tried to explain herself but was stopped by the judge who said she should do it Thursday with a lawyer by her side.
Father plans to sue
Darrell Gloston, the woman’s father, said Tuesday night that she would not comment but he was very frustrated by the court’s reaction and he plans to sue.
He said his daughter went to the doctor because her ankles were bleeding and bruised from the ankle restraints and he said he’s in shock that a judge would do this to a college freshman.
“Don’t treat her like she murdered 25 people along the freeway,” he said. “She’s 19, she’s ignorant, she’s a kid. They don’t take anything seriously.”
As for the other 59 people on the same jury panel with Gloston, they all showed up Monday morning knowing they could wind up on a six- to eight-week trial and were dismissed because the husband-wife doctor team that was to go to trial pleaded guilty instead.
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— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) March 20, 2020