Weather Updates

Juror avoids jail after telling judge by voicemail he was leaving town

Scott Enke leaves Dirksen Federal Building after sentencing contempt court charge Tuesday July 10 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Scott Enke leaves the Dirksen Federal Building after sentencing on a contempt of court charge Tuesday, July 10, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 33373774
tmspicid: 12200321
fileheaderid: 5569594
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: August 12, 2012 6:21AM

Everywhere he goes Scott Enke says he is recognized as the man who blew off jury duty.

At work, at the park where he takes his young son. Even a disappointed lunch lady at a suburban hospital scolded the medical sales representative for shirking his civic responsibilities.

But the Plainfield man caught a break Tuesday when a federal judge spared him from a three-day prison sentence for his “quasi-criminal” infraction — leaving another judge a voicemail saying he had to leave town for a business trip in the middle of a trial.

“I appreciate your sincerity,”

U.S. District Judge James Holderman calmly told an apologetic Enke, telling the 33-year-old man he didn’t deserve to be put behind bars for contempt of court because he has a “positive approach” and has come to understand that jury service is a “privilege.”

Instead, Holderman ordered Enke to pay a $1,000 fine, write an essay for potential jurors and speak at a legal symposium on the importance of jury service in the fall.

Holderman addressed Enke in a friendly manner throughout the short hearing and asked for suggestions on how he could best rectify his mistakes.

Enke offered to pen an essay for prospective jurors on the significance of jury duty and just “showing up.” He told the judge that he was a “good writer” and planned to “grab” the readers’ attention by starting off the piece on legal repercussions he faced by leaving the Medicare fraud trial he had been hearing so he could attend a business trip in Iowa.

Enke admitted that his employers at the medical device supplier company Covidien PLC would have easily found a replacement if he had told them he was serving as a juror last March.

Enke’s lawyer, Kevin P. Bolger, said his client’s biggest mistake was thinking that he was “irreplaceable” at work.

“What I thought was more important wasn’t,” Enke said. “I do feel bad and am sorry for putting the jury through this.”

Enke said it’s been “tough” because people he comes across know his story from news accounts.

“It made me look dumb,” he said.

But Holderman noted that the public shaming helped send a message to others.

On March 7, Enke said he called the deputy clerk of the presiding judge in the criminal case and attempted to ask to be excused the next day because of a pending business trip that was critical to his company’s client. U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon’s courtroom deputy clerk Alberta Rone said she indicated she could not authorize his absence but said she passed the message to the judge. Enke also left a message on the judge’s voicemail.

The trial proceeded without Enke.

“Overall, better planning and better communication on my part could have prevented my wrongdoing in juror service,” Enke said in court.

Enke had been a “nervous wreck” prior to Tuesday’s hearing, Bolger said.

And even though Enke is relieved he doesn’t have to go to the slammer, Bolger said “This is an embarrassing thing for him.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.