The New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan sounds like a tough place. Especially since a judge just charged a potential juror with contempt after the juror called a suspect a "scumbug." Stephen Caruso was being interviewed to be a juror in a kidnapping case, and Caruso told the court, "I have been held up three times at gunpoint," (the defendant used a fake gun to threaten his victim) and when asked if he would convict the defendant, he add, "I am already looking at him; I think he is a scumbag." Boom! Judge William A. Wetzel held Caruso in contempt of court, saying, "That is an insult not only to him, but to the other people in the room and me...I have interviewed upwards of 15,000 prospective jurors and have never seen such an inappropriate, vulgar, contemptuous occurrence." The Post notes that Caruso's lawyer thinks the judge might be biased against Wall Streeters, as Judge Wetzel asked Caruso if he was a "stockbroker or investment banker?" Caruso is, in fact, a financial planner, and he tells the Times, "I'm a little disillusioned with the whole legal process right now. I feel like I'm being punished for being honest," blaming his words on his emotional feelings about crime - he's been robbed twice (in New Orleans) and was held up by a gunman in a bus.
Hmm, scumbag is definitely a not-nice word, but Gothamist can't say for sure if we would have had the sense to edit ourselves at jury duty. Weren't judges supposed to make jury duty nicer for people?