Milwaukee juror hops plane to Cancun before trial obligations end

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee juror’s scheduled vacation took precedence over her civil obligation. Ivana Samardzic reportedly did not show up for the end of deliberations in a Milwaukee County felony shooting trial — instead, hopping on a plane for Cancun!

Samardzic called and told others at the courthouse she’d left her vote with the foreman and was headed for Cancun.

“We encourage people to do jury service. We don’t encourage them to leave in the middle of it,” Milwaukee County Circuit Court Clerk John Barrett said.

Barrett said he’s been working at the courthouse for 19 years, covering 191 trials and has never had anything like what happened Thursday, August 16th happen — when Samardzic did not show up for the end of deliberations in the felony shooting trial of Spartacus Outlaw.

Outlaw’s defense attorney, Robert D’Arruda says he, too was taken aback by Samardzic’s taking off.

“It was complete disbelief. I can’t believe a juror would sit through three days of trial testimony, deliberate for two hours and then not come back,” D’Arruda said.

D’Arruda says his client agreed to allow the 11 remaining jurors to issue their guilty verdict on one charge and to hang at 8-3 on the other.

“The way things played out, it probably wouldn’t have mattered because the jury hung anyway, but that’s not the point. The point is, when you’re on jury duty, you’ve heard the case and you gotta stick it through to the end,” D’Arruda said.

As it stands, the parties return to Judge J.D. Watts’ courtroom next week to determine the next step in this case.

Meanwhile, Barrett says Samardzic’s decision to fly to Cancun during the trial was a “colossal error.”

“I think that’s what people find amusing, is that someone could be so foolish as to do this,” Barrett said.

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