Like two schoolboys ordered to stay after class, Donald Carstens and Athanasios Katsoulis sat fidgeting in a Baltimore courtroom yesterday, watching the clock and waiting until they could go home.
They were lectured, scolded about their behavior and ordered to remain in a paneled, windowless circuit courtroom until 5 p.m. after Judge Edward J. Angeletti held them in contempt as part of a crackdown on those who fail to appear for jury duty.
After a morning of hearing excuses, Angeletti ordered Carstens and Katsoulis to stay for the day, fined them $100 and ordered them to pay $115 in court costs. He excused 21 other jury-duty scofflaws after giving them a brief lecture on the importance of jurors in the court system.
Carstens, a Mount Vernon photographer, said he had missed jury duty three or four times because he spent most winters with family in Tampa, Fla.
He said he had written to the judge to explain his absences, cut short a business trip to Michigan to attend yesterday and hired a lawyer to plead his case. But he said he thinks his efforts might have alienated the judge.
"I guess the judge just didn't like my correspondence," said Carstens, 52.
Katsoulis, a cook from Hamilton, was ordered held for the day after he disregarded Angeletti's order yesterday morning to the 23 potential jurors to stay in the courtroom. Katsoulis, 30, had left to check whether his car had been towed from Baltimore Street.
L "I hope it's still there," he said late yesterday afternoon.
The 23 people before Angeletti were among 100 summoned to court by certified mail because they failed to appear for jury duty at least three times, said Marilyn Tokarski, Circuit Court jury commissioner.
Angeletti issued warrants for those who did not attend court yesterday. A sheriff's deputy will go to their homes in the next few weeks and escort them to the courthouse, Tokarski said.
The judge said he calls in jury-duty scofflaws about every six months to remind them of the importance of jury duty and to encourage more people to appear.
Court officials say about 60 percent of people summoned for jury duty attend.
"The public should realize how important it is that citizens serve when they're called for jury duty," Angeletti said.
Pub Date: 6/26/98