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Brad Cooper trial juror told to resign from job

Posted April 27, 2011
Updated April 28, 2011

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— A juror in the lengthy murder trial of a Cary man accused of killing his wife was asked by her employer to resign.

The woman, who goes into work after the trial is over each day, told the court Wednesday that she was asked to tender her resignation after recently being late to work because of jury service.

Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner, the presiding judge in the case, sent a Wake County sheriff's deputy to the employer Wednesday afternoon to provide a copy of the North Carolina statute that prohibits employers from firing or demoting employees because of jury duty.

The employer told the deputy that the juror would not lose her job and that the employer will work around the schedule of the court to accommodate her.

Although state law protects a juror's job, it does not require that the employee be paid in full while serving on a jury.

The trial involves the case of Brad Cooper, who is accused of killing his wife, Nancy Cooper, in July 2008.

Wednesday marked the 34th day of testimony. Jury selection began Feb. 28, and opening statements began March 9. It's unclear how much longer the trial will last.

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  • tbs1 Apr 29, 2011

    This trial affects so many people. these jurors have the daunting task of hearing about this trial everyday yet not getting to discuss it with anyone. I can't imagine carrying that around with me all the time. I've been amazed at their stamina. Being rushed out of the courtroom anytime the atty's need to argue without explanation. Lastly affected, are the employers of these people. One can plan for a surgical leave or a maternity leave because you have an idea of how long it will be 6 weeks for most surgeries, 12 weeks maternity, but a jury you have not idea, 1 afternoon 3 months. A business would have a hard time managing like that when most of us are already running short. I worked for a large corp and they only paid for 3 days of jury duty, the rest of the time I sat on the case I got $12/day. Yes our finances suffered.

  • Evidence Is Everywhere Apr 28, 2011

    AtALost- It's true that we are an "at will" state, but attempting to terminate someone due to Jury Duty falls under the North Carolina Wrongful Termination Laws (part of the Federal Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964) It falls under the category of "Retaliatory Termination" and states that it's illegal to terminate for jury duty. It's commonly known as the "whistle blower law". It protects people that refuse to preform illegal tasks, report their employers for any illegal activity or reporting unwanted sexual advances. These people are protected from termination as well. :)

  • 23tony Apr 28, 2011

    ilovecountry56:
    "not saying what happened was fair to the person, but you can get out jury duty if you have a good reason . all you have to do is write the clerk of courts office before the jury date and if it is not feesable for you to be on the jury you will be excused."

    It's a bit tougher to do that when you're already weeks into the trial.

  • Genie v2.0 Apr 28, 2011

    "Jury Duty imposes an unfair burden on small employers. I

    f you have one key employee who performs a specific function and they are on a jury that goes on forever like the Brad Cooper trial, that imposes a serious business impact on the " Don'tlike

    That is precisely why at the beginning the give potential jurors a chance to let them know those things. And MOST judges will excuse you if that is the case. They also let jurors know if a trial is expected to be lengthy. And while no one can predict how long, I am sure going in, they knew this would take a while.

  • AtALost Apr 28, 2011

    Forgot to mention that NC is an 'at will' state meaning you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all unless you're in a protected class.

    http://www.nclabor.com/wh/fact%20sheets/eaw.htm

  • AtALost Apr 28, 2011

    If she's being paid, that will likely stop. And, she'll probably get fired a few months after the trial ends. If they hire someone to fill in who does as good or better job (and for less pay) she'll get the axe once it's hard to prove it's trial related.

  • bigal02282 Apr 28, 2011

    DontLikeTheSocialistObama Yes, the Constitution states: Small Employers, if they are adversely impacted by the civil responsibility of all AMERICANS, should complain about it incessantly. Wait. The constitution DOESN'T make mention of business at all! OOOPSSSS.

    I for one am TIRED of hearing about how "BUSINESS" is impacted when discussing ANYTHING these days. And I AM A SMALL BUSINESSMAN and I had to CLOSE my business for a week this January while I spent my days doing MY CIVIC DUTY by serving on a Jury. YES, IT IMPACTED ME.

    Grow up and quit WHINING about everything.

  • iron fist Apr 28, 2011

    What happens to her job in a month or two when she gets fired for an unrelated issue. The employer will be looking for any excuse to let her go. She will need to watch her back this will not end well for her I really hope I am wrong but I have seen employers find a "reason" to get rid of someone.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 28, 2011

    Jury Duty imposes an unfair burden on small employers. I

    f you have one key employee who performs a specific function and they are on a jury that goes on forever like the Brad Cooper trial, that imposes a serious business impact on the employer.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 28, 2011

    I've been on two superior court juries. It's amazing the deals that are cut in the jury room to get a quick verdict so that the members of the jury can get back to their life.

    People are more worried about reaching a verdict to get off of the jury than they are about justice.

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