Swine flu scare disrupts Bucks County Court…

December 23, 2009

Did you hear the one about the Bucks County juror who claimed to have swine flu?

People go to some pretty outrageous extremes to get out of doing things they don't want to do, but in this case, juror DiCicco claims he was looking forward to jury duty and was, in fact, "really curious" about the process.

As you may recall, tensions surrounding any mention of swine flu ran pretty high back in the spring and early summer. Video clips of people in Mexico wearing facemasks were still very fresh in our minds, legions of spring-breakers canceled travel plans, plus there were constant reminders by our local newscasters of the coming pandemic, and, of course, a certain politician declaring railcars and airplanes to be virtual petri dishes filled with swine flu bacteria. People were scared and very cautious.

Then, there's Anthony DiCicco, a 24 year old Jamison, PA resident who was called to report for jury duty on July 13, 2009 at the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown. Upon being interviewed by lawyers on both sides of a medical malpractice case, Mr. DiCicco was selected to serve as a juror.

During the lunch break on July 13, Mr. DiCiccio approached a court official, stating that he had just gotten a message from his doctor's office saying test results showed he was sick with swine flu. The news of Mr. DiCiccio's illness was delivered to Judge Waite, the presiding judge in the case on which DiCiccio was serving as a juror. Judge Waite reacted with the declaration of a mistrial and sent the entire jury home, along with the entire jury pool and court personnel because they had all come in contact with the allegedly infected DiCiccio that day.

A fellow juror who observed odd behavior from DiCiccio following the action taken by the judge informed the court that DiCiccio may not have been totally honest about his health issues. Bucks County detectives were assigned to look into the matter of Mr. DiCiccio's specific health claims. Soon after, civil contempt charges were filed against DiCiccio.

As part of their investigation, Bucks County detectives make inquiries into the validity of Mr. DiCiccio's claim of a swine flu diagnosis. The nurse practitioner at the doctor's office from whom DiCicco claimed to have received a message testified at the contempt of court hearing that there had been no swine flu diagnosis issued for DiCiccio and no call made to DiCiccio by their office on July 13.

Not only did Mr. DiCiccio's act of poor judgment cause concern to many he had come in contact with that day and completely disrupt the court's busy schedule, but there is also a monetary cost to Bucks County and both parties involved in the medical malpractice case, which will now have to begin anew.

Mr. DiCiccio's contempt of court case was heard by judge Clyde W. Waite, coincidentally. DiCiccio was found to be in contempt of court for faking a diagnosis of swine flu and was sentenced to serve three days. These days will not be served in jail, however, but rather at the courthouse. Judge Waite ordered Mr. DiCiccio to spend three days in the Doylestown courthouse observing various jury trials.

A unique punishment was handed down by the judge, some would say. Does it fit the crime?

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Check our new Understanding Blood Alcohol Content webpage!

December 17, 2009

If you were wondering whether or not to have that final glass of holiday vino, take a look at our new web page on blood alcohol content. This web page will explain the absorption process of alcohol into the blood stream. Its some good information to know if you have to drive home!

Click here: BAC

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