Palm Beach Jurors Punished For Omissions
Two prospective jurors in a domestic battery case found themselves on the wrong side of the court room when they failed to disclose their own criminal pasts during jury selection. Due to these omissions, Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes started contempt of court proceedings against them, a criminal charge.
Prosecutors in defendant Robert Schwartzber'gs domestic battery case alerted Kastrenakes that their searches indicated that the two were being less than honest about their previous criminal records.
The case left both of the prospective jurors, 26-year-old Dominique Docteur and 40-year-old Charles Michael Moore, facing a potential six-month jail sentence. However, Kastrenakes agreed to drop the charges if each completed 20 hours of community service.
“This is the first time that anything like that has happened to me,” Kastrenakes, a former federal prosecutor who has been on the bench six years, told the Palm Beach Post. “Then I get two people on the same day. I wasn’t happy about it.”
“What the jury office tells them, and I always reiterate, is that you can always talk to me privately about any issue you may have or tell me if something makes you uncomfortable,” Kastrenakes said. “I think it’s important that jurors know that you must be completely honest in answering any questions during your jury service.”