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Reluctant juror David C. Williamson took the wrath of a federal judge seriously enough to show up for a single day of jury service in San Antonio. But the San Antonio software consultant could yet again find himself in hot water with U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, who’s not amused by Williamson’s efforts this year to collect thousands of dollars from the court for jury service. Biery says in a Sept. 5 order that he may sanction Williamson or hold him in contempt if he continues to resubmit an invoice he first sent to the court in February. Williamson wants to collect $16,800, which he itemizes as $100 an hour for his time for the entire month of August. Biery wrote that the only money Williamson is entitled to receive for showing up for jury service on Aug. 26 is the statutory rate of $40 a day plus mileage reimbursement for travel to the court. The judge’s order says Williamson needs to persuade Congress to change the law if he wants to collect more. “This is called democracy and the rule of law,” Biery wrote in the order that dismisses the earlier contempt proceedings against Williamson. Biery declines to comment beyond his order. Williamson came to Biery’s attention after he submitted several invoices to the court seeking payment in advance at a rate of $100 an hour for jury service during the month of August. Williamson sent the invoices to the court after he received a jury summons and a request to free his calendar in August. Williamson wrote to the court that he interpreted the jury summons as a contract for his professional services for August. He asked for prompt payment. With the bill unpaid by July, Williamson wrote again, asking for payment and saying he wouldn’t be available for the rest of the year because of work. He wrote for a fourth time in August, after receiving a summons to report for jury service on Aug. 26, asking for another postponement of his jury service. Biery replied on Aug. 12 with a harshly worded order for Williamson to show up for jury service on Aug. 26 or face contempt of court and jail. Williamson did report to the courthouse on Aug. 26 and wasn’t selected for the jury. But on Sept. 1, he sent a letter to the federal clerk’s office in San Antonio, resubmitting his original invoice of Feb. 25 and asking for payment. “I have not added interest as I am hoping this is an oversight on your part,” Williamson wrote in the letter to clerk William G. Putnicki. Biery responded with a new threat of sanctions and contempt of court. Williamson did not return three telephone messages left at his house, but he said in an interview in August that he really didn’t expect the court to pay him and he is simply trying to make a point that jury service is a hardship on self-employed workers. “I’m a consultant. I’m a small business guy. If I can’t book business in any month, then how can I make a living?” he said at that time. But with his one-day jury service over, Williamson continues to try to make that point by billing the court yet again. Even though he said in August that he “got a lot of attention that I didn’t necessarily want,” he made a recent appearance on legal pundit Greta Van Susteren’s show on the Fox network. Williamson’s invoice appears below, edited for style: THE INVOICE Sept. 1, 2002 William G. Putnicki U.S. District Clerk U.S. District Court 655 E. Durango Blvd. San Antonio, TX 78206-9900 Mr. Putnicki, On Feb. 19, 2002, Pamela J. Ramsey from your office contacted me, in writing, for professional services for the entire month of August 2002. You should have a copy as it was written on your stationery. Payment for the invoice was due in March of this year, 2002. I have submitted this invoice to your office several times and as of yet I have not been paid. I have not added interest as I am hoping this is an oversight on your part. I am resubmitting the invoice for payment, and, for your convenience, I am including a copy of the invoice. Please remit to the above address. Sincerely, David C. Williamson Consultant

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