JUROR FLEES TO MEXICO TO AVOID JURY DELIBERATIONS

Usually, it’s the accused who tries to make it to the border of Mexico.  But this time it was a Juror who had a vacation planned to Cancun,  who didn’t think she needed to stay in town to continue the second day of deliberations, in a criminal case. Maybe she thought the case wasn’t worthy of two days worth of deliberations. Or perhaps she met up with Defendant, Derrick Lamont Burton,who during a break in his criminal trial left the court house, and hasn’t been seen since. Most people try to avoid jury duty. She’s the first to avoid jury deliberations.

Milwaukee juror fined

$300 for skipping

deliberations to go on vacation

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) – A juror who skipped out on deliberations in Milwaukee to take a family vacation in Cancun was fined $300 for that decision.

20-year-old Ivana Samardzic of Greenfield said she didn’t know all the requirements about her jury service, and she didn’t mean to show disrespect. But she saved a long time for a nine-day trip to Mexico with her family this month, and she wasn’t going to miss it.

An hour-long court hearing was held Tuesday, soon after Samardzic returned home. She didn’t know if it was worth it to not complete her jury requirement, but she did have a good time in Cancun.

Still, Samardzic said she knew it was wrong to leave.

During the hearing, a court clerk said Samardzic should have mentioned her vacation when the jury was being selected. Circuit Judge J.D. Watts said the woman was selfish and offended her fellow jurors. But still, he chose not to send her to jail for criminal contempt, and he only assessed a civil forfeiture instead.

Samardzic missed a second day of deliberations in a shooting case involving Spartacus Outlaw. He was convicted of possession a gun as a convicted felon – but on an 8 to 3 vote, the jurors could not decide if he was guilty of reckless injury.

Arrest order issued after defendant leaves court

GRAHAM — A judge issued an order to arrest a Haw River man accused of being a habitual felon after the man left the courtroom during a break in his trial and never returned.

Derrick Lamont Burton, 33, of Pinebrook Drive, Haw River, is charged with felony possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia along with the charge of being a habitual felon. A jury trial on those charges was slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Burton had not been apprehended.

His attorney Bob Martin spent Wednesday morning arguing in pre-trial motions that deputies didn’t have probable cause to search Burton’s vehicle and that evidence obtained in the search couldn’t be submitted into a jury trial. Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith denied those motions at 11:10 a.m. and called a 20-minute recess before the jury pool was brought in.

While Smith made his ruling on probable cause, Burton turned to his mother, who was sitting in court behind him, and shook his head.

At 11:30 a.m., Martin returned to the courtroom and said he couldn’t find Burton and that Burton wasn’t answering his cell phone.

Smith issued an order for Burton’s arrest, saying Burton would be held without bond upon his arrest.

Bailiffs and Graham police officers searched for Burton and Burton’s car around the courthouse but were unable to locate the defendant. Burton’s mother was still at the courthouse, Martin said, but didn’t know where her son had gone.

On Oct. 14, 2009, a deputy responded to a domestic dispute call and pulled Burton’s car over without using lights or sirens. The deputy allegedly saw Burton go to the back of his car and became suspicious about what Burton might have inside the vehicle. A drug-sniffing police dog was brought to the scene and allegedly indicated there were drugs in the car. A search of the vehicle allegedly yielded marijuana, cocaine and a plastic baggie.

Burton was then charged with the drug possession counts.

In motions filed Wednesday, Martin argued that officers had no reason to pull Burton over, no reason to suspect Burton had put anything inside the car and no right to search the vehicle. Martin alleged officers improperly detained his client while waiting for the police dog to arrive and further violated his constitutional rights by searching a container they found without first securing a search warrant.

Burton was previously convicted of two counts of assault inflicting serious bodily injury and possession of a firearm by a felon in 2005, larceny of motor fuel in 2002 and possession of cocaine in 2003, court documents show.

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