TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - A North Texas man pushed his luck one too many times trying to avoid jury duty. Efforts to avoid doing his civic duty have landed Jose Bocanegra Jr. behind bars.
The Mansfield resident spent months either making up excuses for not attending jury duty or simply not showing up.
"He tried to get disqualified by stating he was a felon -- that got denied," Jury Bailiff Paula Morales recalled. "He tried to get excused by claiming he was the caretaker of an invalid. We couldn't substantiate that, so that was denied."
On one occasion Bocanegra actually reported for jury duty, but after checking in, he left minutes later. That's when a bench warrant for his arrest was issued.
Bailiff Morales said she took extreme steps to try and speak with Bocanegra and had been trying to reach him since last Spring. "I called him… his phone wasn't accepting phone messages. I sent him an email, told him it was imperative that he contact me immediately, and we never heard back from him. So then I was forced to take it to the judge."
One day after the warrant was issued the 20-year-old stood before Judge Wayne Salvant, in handcuffs. The judge found him in contempt.
"The judge told him he wasn't taking his jury duty seriously, considering his history. So he sentenced him to five days in the county jail," Morales said of the hearing.
When the judge asked him why he hadn't served Bocanegra told him line was too long and he didn't feel like waiting. So now he'll wait in jail.
Morales said, "This is just seriously someone who wasn't gonna do it. I mean, we've tried and tried and he just kept shirking it and shirking it and it wasn't going anywhere. So we didn't have a choice."
When asked Thursday night why he kept fighting jury duty, Bocanegra said "I didn't want to because it's all the way in Fort Worth - way out of the way."
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