Given a summons for federal jury duty and told that he should keep August free
of commitments, San Antonio, Texas, computer consultant "Peterson" wrote
back to court officials with this response: Sure, I'll serve - at my normal
rate of $100 an hour.
He prepared an invoice of $16,800, charging the government for "court-ordered
professional services for the entire month of August 2002." Along with
the invoice, reports the San Antonio Express-News, was a warning that the bill
would come due at the end of August and would begin accumulating interest at
2 percent a month if not paid.
Peterson even mailed the invoice two more times, after getting no response.
Then came a form telling him to report on Aug. 26 for a seven-week trial.
Rather than send the invoice a fourth time, he wrote back that he could afford
to be away from his business for seven weeks and asked that his jury duty be
postponed until next year - just as it had been in 2000 and 2001. He added:
"If you would like to meet and discuss this, please have his honor call
and schedule an appointment."
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery's answer showed up on Peterson's fax machine
"The Court is happy to accommodate Mr. Peterson's suggestion for an
appointment: Mr. Peterson is HEREBY ORDERED TO APPEAR in Courtroom 2 of the
John H. Wood Jr. United States Courthouse to show cause why he should not be
held in CONTEMPT OF THE COURT AND JAILED ACCORDINGLY."
Peterson said he would show up for the hearing.
The San Antonio Express-News