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Reluctant juror no longer forced to sit on bench

/ Source: The Associated Press

A federal grand juror who was ordered to sit on a court bench three days a week, every other week, after he balked at serving on the jury has been freed from his punishment.

U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman lifted the Feb. 14 order on Thursday.

William Schramm, a retirement planner, had been reporting to the federal courthouse in Detroit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the grand jury he had been called to serve on was in session. Under a Friedman’s verbal order, he had to sit on a first-floor bench and did not get juror pay or mileage reimbursement.

“This whole thing is worse than anything I have ever been through in my life,” Schramm told The Detroit News for its Friday editions.

Schramm, 31, had spent three days serving on the grand jury before writing a letter to the judge asking to be excused. He wrote that he lacked respect for law enforcement or the way trials are conducted, expected six-month jury assignment would bankrupt him and believed minorities were more violent and criminal than whites, the judge said.

Friedman said Schramm could have objected when called for grand jury duty on Jan. 4 but did not.

“While the court could have initiated contempt proceedings against Mr. Schramm, or even punished him summarily by fining or imprisoning him ... the court elected to pursue less drastic sanctions so as not to burden Mr. Schramm with a criminal record,” Friedman wrote.

The judge said he decided to end the punishment because “the court believes that no purpose would be served by requiring Mr. Schramm to continue reporting to the courthouse.”