JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County judges have likely heard every excuse in the book when it comes to getting out of jury duty.
But First Coast News found one excuse that, amazingly, won't get you off the hook in Jacksonville.
Defense Attorney Richard Kuritz said the courtroom was silent after the murder case he was defending ended in a mistrial, and one of the jurors was taken away in handcuffs.
"We haven't actually contemplated it. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I've worked in homicides for almost that long, and the topic has never come up, it just truly has never come up," Kuritz said.
The issue? People with active warrants for their arrest serving jury duty in Duval County.
"It was clear the state felt they couldn't get a fair trial because they were prosecuting this person," Kuritz said.
There were other issues in the State's case against suspected killer Kevin Rush. 2 jurors were removed for alleged misconduct during the first two weeks of trial, which Kuritz says he's seen before.
But a juror having a warrant out for their arrest? He said that's a first.
"Given someone who has never been arrested in their life, this woman had never been arrested, it wasn't a violent crime, and talking to her, you would never have an inkling that this person had done anything criminal," Kuritz said.
The State Attorney's Office is now working on how to fix the problem, telling First Coast News in a statement:
"The State Attorney's Office reviews juror information provided by the Clerk of the Court and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. We are reviewing our procedures to see what more can be done on our end to ensure the process works better."
"Candidly, this is a rare situation, and we don't know how many jurors have actually sat on panels and had warrants out for their arrest," Kuritz said.
First Coast News checked with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and they told First Coast News that right now they don't check any prospective jurors for active warrants for their arrest.
First Coast News