Texting juror tossed in jail

A 26-year-old Oregon man is told that cell phone use is verboten on jury duty. Sadly, he is unable to comply.

Please put it away on jury duty. Jason Cipriani/CNET

It was the glow that gave him away.

Benjamin Kohler, 26, a jury member at a trial in Oregon, was sitting through testimony.

You might imagine that the testimony was interesting to a 26-year-old man. For the defendant was accused of armed robbery.

Indeed, the lights dimmed to show a surveillance video. That would surely have a mesmerizing element.

It may not have been mesmerizing enough. Or, perhaps, Kohler is a very adept multitasker.

For the dimmed lights revealed his illuminated face. Like a character from the "Blair Witch Project," the rays shone from below.

Benjamin Kohler appeared to be texting.

As The Oregonian reports, the jury had been warned by Judge Dennis Graves not to use their cell phones. Not for any reason.

Graves took a very dark view of Kohler's glowing disregard. He tossed him in jail for two days, citing contempt of court.

He announced to the court: "In this case, Mr. Kohler failed to meet his obligations and failed to honor the direction of this court. My hope is that he will use his time in jail to reflect upon his behavior."

Of course, it could be that the testimony was so very exciting that Kohler just had to tell someone about it.

And yet the Statesman Journal managed to talk to Jerry Turnridge, Kohler's co-worker at a custom trim and molding company.

He declared: "We're all laughing ... because it's so Ben-ish. Ben is one of those kind of young people that doesn't learn real fast; like 'oh, that doesn't apply to me.'"

I understand there are quite a few young people like that.

 

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