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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lawrence Man Sanctioned for Failing to Appear for Tsarnaev Jury Selection Process

BOSTON – A Lawrence man was first lambasted by the Court and then sanctioned yesterday for his failure to appear for the final rounds of jury selection in the United States v. Tsarnaev matter. 

After an evidentiary hearing on Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young found that prospective juror Jose Gutierrez intentionally violated his obligation to serve as a juror under federal law.  In particular, the court found that Gutierrez intentionally skipped jury service on March 3, 2015, in order to go to work.  The Court also found that Gutierrez had proper and timely notice that he was to appear for jury duty that morning.  His unexcused absence caused significant disruption to the jury selection process in a criminal trial that day.  The Court concluded that Gutierrez’s conduct violated federal law relating to compliance with jury service responsibilities.

In discussing the appropriate sanction, Judge Young reminded Gutierrez that jurors, like judges, serve as “constitutional officers” during their term of service, and that serving on a jury is not only an obligation but a constitutional right.  Citing the more than 1300 other persons who complied with their obligation to appear in the Tsarnaev matter, Judge Young told Gutierrez that he should “be ashamed” of his decision not to appear, particularly because Gutierrez was the only one to fail to appear as called without providing advance notice and a valid reason.  Judge Young then imposed a fine of $400 and ordered Gutierrez to participate in 40 hours of community service.

“Juries are the cornerstone of our criminal justice system,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Jury service is both a right and an obligation of every citizen.  When called, we must serve.”   

U.S. Attorney Ortiz made the announcement today.  The matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Giselle J. Joffre and Justin D. O’Connell of Ortiz’s Civil Division.

Updated May 1, 2015