Watch What You Say While On Jury Duty

Judge Gary Nickerson told potential juror Daniel Ellis, from Cape Cod, that, “In 32 years of service in courtrooms, as a prosecutor, as a defense attorney and now as a judge, I have quite frankly never confronted such a brazen situation of an individual attempting to avoid juror service.”

Ellis, in order to get out of jury duty, claimed he was a habitual liar, a racist and a homophobe. Here’s what the transcript of the exchange revealed:

“You say on your form that you’re not a fan of homosexuals,” Nickerson said.

“That I’m a racist,” Ellis interrupted.

“I’m frequently found to be a liar, too. I can’t really help it,” Ellis added.

“I’m sorry?” Nickerson said.

“I said I’m frequently found to be a liar,” Ellis replied.

“So, are you lying to me now?” Nickerson asked.

“Well, I don’t know. I might be,” was the response.

Ellis then admitted he really didn’t want to serve on a jury.

“I have the distinct impression that you’re intentionally trying to avoid jury service,” Nickerson said.

“That’s true,” Ellis answered.


The judge ordered Ellis to jail. He was released later that day. The prosecutor’s office is now investigating him for perjury and other charges.

The lesson here is obvious. Just like when you’re going through customs, be careful what flows from your lips. Stupidity and/or bad humor may get you locked up. Had Mr. Ellis simply stated, “Your honor, based on my life experiences, I don’t believe that I can be a fair and impartial juror,” he would have been released without spending time in the pokey.