WAUKESHA -- It's your civic duty and a Waukesha County judge is taking it very seriously. The judge overseeing the Slenderman case issued warrants for the arrest of 12 people who failed to send back their jury questionnaire and did not show up when they were summoned to court Friday, August 11th.
Clerk of the Circuit Court, Kathy Madden, said 850 people were originally sent a questionnaire for this case. Only 14 of those people failed to respond but the judge said he is making sure those people either have a good reason for not filling it out or get it done immediately.
Only two of the 14 people summoned to appear before Judge Michael Bohren showed up Friday.
As for the delinquent dozen...
"They're not present so I'm issuing a capias for their arrest to come into court," Judge Bohren announced.
This is part of the jury selection for the trial of Anissa Weier, one of two girls being charged as adults for the attempted murder of their then-sixth grade classmate in the spring of 2014. The girls told investigators they carried out the stabbing to please the fictional character, Slenderman.
Anthony Cotton represents Weier's co-defendant, Morgan Geyser. He says the judge's order may seem extreme given the size of the jury pool but he understands.
"I think what the judge was thinking was this is people's civic duty. People, when they get a jury summons or questionnaire, they are required to fill it out. It's one of your duties as an American citizen to cooperate with that process," Cotton said.
Cotton said the bigger development is the decision to sequester the jury in the two trials. In June, Milwaukee County sequestered the jury in the Dominique Heaggan-Brown trial. Cotton said that might make it easier to select the juries.
"I think it expedites the process. I think my philosophy has always been you shouldn't hide things from jurors. When they come into a case, you need to tell them what they're signing up for, the length of time, whether they're sequestered," Cotton said.
Jennifer Wallschlager, spokeswoman for the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department, said once the department processes the warrants, a letter will go out to the 12 people who've yet to respond. As an extra incentive to get them to come forward, the judge is threatening a $500 fine for those who fail to do their duty.
Weier's trial is schedules to begin in September while Geyser's is slated to start in October. Both girls have entered pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.