September 3 — Women Lawyers’ News of the Day

September 3, 1931 — Belvidere Daily Republican

+++++“Women Jurors Found Guilty Are Fined $25”

+++++“Mrs. Margaret Culbertson of Love’s Park and Mrs. Gladys Garrett of Cherry Valley, were found guilty of contempt of court by Judge E. D. Shurtleff in the circuit court at Rockford late Wednesday, after a trial that had been on hearing at various periods for several weeks. Judge Shurtleff assessed a moderate fine, $25 and costs each, and censured the two women, declaring that they knowingly violated the rules of the court.
+++++The two women were visibly affected by the ruling, but retained their composure. . . .
+++++Mrs. Culbertson and Mrs. Garrett, who was formerly Glady Barker of Belvidere, were members of a jury which heard the damage suit of Mrs. Lucy Avey, who sued for $10,000 damages against Walter Medaris, alleging certain injuries from an automobile accident charging Medaris with negligence in driving. The jury brought in a verdict of $500 damages.
+++++It appears that Roy F. Hall, attorney for Medaris, was incensed and started an investigation, employing a woman, Mrs. Grace Sandberg, as a private detective, and filed charges in the court against Mrs. Culbertson, Mrs. Garrett . . . .
+++++It seems that Mrs. Culbertson and Mrs. Garrett, while in the rest room of the court, saw Mrs. Avey moving about there and concluded that she was not so badly disabled as she had represented in court. Concluding that she was a ‘gold digger’ they are said to have tried to persuade other members of the jury to that effect, opposing her claim, but finally compromising on a verdict of $500 damages. Attorney Madden held that the two women had taken an instinctive dislike to Mrs. Avey and were jealous of her and this influenced them. In other words that they had decided the case on evidence that was not presented from the witness stand and a dislike for the plaintiff, whereas their oath of office was a pledge to decide upon the law and the evidence. . . .
+++++The court ruled that they had violated their oath as jurors, first in permitting matters not in the evidence to rule their decision, and second in compromising on a guilty verdict when they believed the defendant innocent.
+++++‘When a court submits a case to a jury on the facts, all of those facts are for the jury to pass upon,’ Judge Shurtleff said yesterday. ‘Jurors have a right to reach any verdict they choose, so long as that is their honest, conscientious judgment in the case. Jurors have no right to compromise on a verdict that compromises their own conscience and judgment.
+++++‘When they take an oath to well and truly try a case upon the evidence, it means just what it says. In this case these jurors, believing the plaintiff to be a ‘gold digger’ and a fake and believing the defendant not guilty, went out and voted guilty. Their verdict was dishonest, wilful, and wanton. . . . ‘”

September 3, 1933 — Oakland Tribune

+++++“Jury Members Go on Barbecue Picnic”

+++++“. . . . Meanwhile the jury and two alternates again left its quarters in a downtown hotel for a barbecue picnic. . . .
+++++Beauty operators and barbers were called in today to satisfy the desires of the seven men and seven women to improve their appearance and after haircuts, shaves, marcels and so forth had been completed, the party boarded a special bus for the picnic ground which they visited last weekend.
+++++Tomorrow the jurors will visit Santa Clara University and on Monday another picnic is scheduled.
+++++The women jurors, according to Miss Lenore Ghetti, matron in charge, are making a patchwork quilt which they intend to raffle among themselves upon the conclusion of the trial. The men spend much of their leisure playing cards and ‘miniature baseball’ in their hotel suite.”

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