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Texas Supreme Court Justice Proudly Serves Jury Duty

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 13, 2016 8:59 AM

Justice Jeff Brown believes in a loving God, the U.S. Constitution, and traditional Texas values. Which means he also doesn't believe in making excuses to get out of jury duty.

So when he received a summons to serve as a juror in a criminal case, Brown accepted the call. There was a possibility that he would be excused for a potential conflict because he serves on the Texas Supreme Court, but it wasn't a problem because he serves on the civil panel.

"I feel like it went pretty smoothly," Brown told the Austin American Statesman. "I was pretty happy with it."

Six Years for $45 Theft

Virgil Crawford, who had pled guilty to stealing $45 worth of food and toys for his children last Christmas, asked that a jury decide his sentence. It was not an easy decision because the defendant had 27 prior convictions, including two for theft and three felonies that led to state prison for aggravated assault, burglary and arson and exposed him for up to 20 years in prison.

Brown, as foreman, said the deliberations involved a lot of give and take, especially because several jurors were not willing to change their minds. But after about an hour of "hard but friendly negotiating," he said, they arrived at an acceptable sentence.

"What it reaffirmed for me was my own experience with juries as a trial judge -- that they are very conscientious, they work hard to follow the instructions the judge gave them, and they take their job seriously," Brown said.

Not Quite Christmas, but Thanks Anyway

Under the circumstances, Crawford apparently was happy with the results. He hugged his lawyer and was kind to the prosecutors.

"He thanked them, said he understood they were doing their job, that there were no hard feelings, and he promised to turn his life around," said Dawn Meredith, his attorney.

Brown, who goes by "Jeff" Brown, had good feelings about his jury duty as well. There was one hiccup, which he addressed afterward in a tweet to his constituents.

"I served on a jury two days this week and was told I should give this certificate to my employer," he said, posting an image of the certificate on his Twitter page. "So here you go."

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