Judge imposes a fine and no jail time after 20-year-old runaway juror returned from Mexico after skipping trial deliberations in mid August.
By H. Nelson Goodson
August 28, 2012
Milwaukee, WI – On Tuesday, Ivana Samardzic, 20, of Greenfield or better known as the “Runaway Juror” was fined $300 for skipping the end of deliberations for a felony trial and leaving 11 jurors to decide the fate of a felon on trial for possessing a weapon and reckless endangerment. Samardzic left to Cancun, Mexico on August 16 for vacation after spending three days as juror number 4 in the trial. She returned on Monday to face Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Watts who imposed the fine, but no jail time.
She admitted to Judge Watts, that she did wrong by leaving and was ready to face jail time or a fine. Samardzic attempted to excuse herself by saying English was her second language and didn’t understand the rules of being a juror.
Samardzic apparently on August 16, called the Milwaukee County court clerk from the O’Hare International Airport in Illinois and reported that she was leaving to Mexico and had already submitted her vote to the jury foreman. It’s the first time a juror has ever skipped a deliberation in Milwaukee County.
Judge Watts voided her jury vote and the 11 jurors continued in their deliberations after the defense attorney for the defendant agreed to proceed. The jury on a vote of 8-3 found him guilty for being a felon in possession of a weapon, but failed to reach a verdict for first-degree reckless use of a dangerous weapon against the defendant, resulting in a mistrial, according to court records.
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