Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken ruled this week that a juror in a local civil case will be jailed indefinitely starting June 28 unless she completes 20 hours of community service and writes an essay about the “importance of the American judicial system.”
Lindsey Salisbury, a mental health counselor at Pathfinder Mental Health Professionals, was held in contempt of court after refusing to serve on a jury she was selected for last week.
After a contempt hearing Tuesday, Kricken ruled that if Salisbury is to avoid jail time, she will need to perform 20 hours of community service for a “community service organization of her choosing” and complete a “10-page single-spaced typed paper regarding the importance of the American judicial system, the jury’s role in the same, and the importance of an individual’s civic responsibly of service.”
Salisbury could also avoid writing 10 pages by instead writing a letter to the editor of the Laramie Boomerang on the same subject matter, so long as the letter is published in the newspaper.
If Salisbury does not complete those tasks by June 28, Kricken’s ordered that the juror will be “remanded to the custody of the Albany County Detention Center for incarceration to continue unless and until Ms. Salisbury indicates her intent to perform the community service and writing requirements of the order.”
On June 3, Salisbury was selected as a juror for a two-week trial regarding a major business dispute between Laramie energy company WellDog and former business partners in Australia.
After voir dire, Salisbury “expressed some concern with the length of trial vis-a-vis her employment as a private mental health counselor,” Kricken wrote in her contempt order.
“However, when questioned, Ms. Salisbury expressed that there were other counselors available in her practice to assist with clients if necessary and, further, that there were alternatives available to any of her clients should a mental health emergency arise,” Kricken wrote.
According to Kricken’s order, both the judge and the case’s lawyers “agreed that Ms. Salisbury did not qualify to be excused for cause.”
“Further, no counsel wished to exercise a peremptory challenge to excuse Ms. Salisbury,” Kricken wrote.
Salisbury, however, refused to take the juror’s oath anyways.
Kricken wrote that Salibsury was “openly angry and contemptuous in court” and “physically and noticeably expressed her disdain for the proceedings.”
A Boomerang reporter was not present for the court proceedings that led to Salisbury being held in contempt.
The next day, Kricken gave Salisbury one last chance to participate as a juror.
“(Salisbury) expressed that she would be ‘tainted’ against ‘the system’ and would not use her best efforts to serve as a juror,” Kricken wrote.