08 September 2006

TGIS: Thank God It's Schadenfreude! (80)

This week's joy in the misfortune of others comes courtesy of the Associated Press (from Monday, September 4; link good at time of posting):
As far as the judge was concerned, the paper he ordered Brandon Dickens to write as punishment for ducking jury duty was plagiarized.

To the 20-year-old Dickens, the report merely contained "quoted" material.

Not surprisingly, Livingston County Circuit Judge David Reader had the last word.

"Really, what I was looking for, Mr. Dickens, was your own work," Reader said last week in upping Dickens' punishment from three days in the courthouse to four days - and ordering him to rewrite the paper.

Dickens, formerly of Tyrone Township, originally landed in Reader's doghouse in June, when he failed to return to jury duty after a lunch break. The judge ordered him to spend three days observing a civil trial and to write a five-page paper on the history of jury service.

When Dickens turned in the paper Aug. 30, a court employee recognized phrases from something else the employee had read previously. An Internet search showed many of the phrases came word for word from "Trials and Tribulations," a story by Seattle writer Matthew Baldwin that appeared in an online magazine, The Morning News.

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