Juror finds that throwing tantrum is no excuse

January 10, 1997

BALTIMORE (AP) - A man who tried to get out of jury duty by throwing a tantrum ended up with a jail sentence. And he still has to serve on a jury.

Raleigh Brent, 43, was sentenced Thursday to serve one day in jail, pay a $100 fine, and report again for jury duty in February.

The affluent insurance salesman asked Circuit Judge Kathleen O'Ferrall Friedman on Wednesday whether he could be excused because he wanted to attend a recital by his daughter and keep a business appointment.

After she refused, Brent stormed out and uttered ``Maybe'' when the judge asked if he would return Thursday.

``If looks could kill, I'd be dead,'' Friedman testified before Circuit Judge Edward Angeletti at a contempt of court hearing Thursday.


After storming out, Brent called Friedman's chambers three times and told her law clerk, Andrew Brady, that he would not return Thursday. He also used racial slurs to describe the defendant in the case, Friedman testified.

The clerk eventually convinced Brent to show up on Thursday, but when the juror told Friedman he had discussed his reluctance to serve with another juror, she dismissed the jury and placed Brent under arrest.

Friedman said Brent's comments reflected ``tremendous, almost despicable bias.''

``I've never had a problem like this in 12 years,'' she said.

Brent denied he made racial slurs during the telephone conversations, but apologized for his actions.

``I'm ashamed of myself,'' he said.

``I showed great disrespect toward the judge,'' he said. ``I have excuses, but no excuses for what I've done.''

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