Illinois Hall of SHAME!, p2

(Last updated September 1, 2005)

Disclaimer:  Legal information is not legal advice.  Only a lawyer can provide you with legal advice.

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If you have been mistreated by the Courts in this way, or if you know of others that have, Please click on the letter to e-mail me and share your story!


In October 2002, Deborah Scheibly of Niantic, Illinois was fined $100 for civil contempt of court for failing to appear for jury duty even though she is the only caregiver for her elderly parents.  At the time, her 69-year-old mother suffered from a serious heart ailment, while her 77-year-old father had Dementia.


After Deborah spoke to an employee in the Macon County Circuit Clerk’s Office, she said, “I was only given the option of being in court on the 19th (date on the summons) or I would be arrested.  I could take care of my parents because I was the only caregiver available for that day or get arrested.  My parents’ well-being won hands down.


My mother needs surgery or she will die.  The surgery hasn’t been done because of her bad heart.  My father has dementia.  The circuit clerk’s office knew this.  Caregivers who take care of a loved one with any kind of dementia know what our family is dealing with.  Our family has been taking care of my parents since our mom’s stroke in April.   As I told the judge, we are trying to get people in place to help out.  But court officials only added to the stress our family is already under.


I am not the first nor will I be the last person who will be persecuted for doing what they know to be morally right.  My Lord and my parents are the only ones that matter.  Since I know I did the right thing in their eyes, that’s all that counts.”


Furious over her recent fine Deborah said,  “I’ve never done anything wrong in my life, I don’t rob people; I don’t steal from anyone. I’m just trying to take care of my mom and dad and my grandson.  If I had to do this all over again, I would still do it the same way because my first responsibility is my family.  What kind of a government prosecutes their own citizens for taking care of their parents?”

Sources:  “Officials face shrinking jury pool”, Herald & Review Newspaper, Decatur, Illinois, December 4, 2002, by Stephanie Potter; “Family’s Welfare comes before Jury Duty”, Herald & Review Newspaper, Decatur Illinois, Letters to the Editor, by Deborah Scheibly, December 9, 2002


Shame on the Illinois Macon County Circuit Court! Deborah should have been excused under Illinois law which ALSO excuses a prospective juror if they are the primary caregiver of a person with a mental or physical disability.

“...When an undue hardship caused by a family situation is due to the prospective juror being the primary care giver of a person with a mental or physical disability,...then the county board, jury commissioners or jury administrator shall excuse such a prospective juror…”

(Illinois Compiled Statutes, 705 ILCS 305/10.2, Sec. 10.2 (b) Excusing prospective jurors; hardship).

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