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NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Yorkers dreading jury duty take note: it's OK to be drunk on booze or high on pot or cocaine while doing your civic duty.
So said a New York judge on Wednesday, who refused to set aside the verdict on a retired city firefighter convicted of swiping souvenirs from Ground Zero, citing the U.S. Supreme Court to back her ruling.
Samuel Brandon, 61, found guilty in March of petty larceny for stealing personal items from the ruins of the World Trade Center, asked for a new trial after a juror told him after the verdict that he had been drinking during deliberations.
But Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ellen Coin cited a 1987 Supreme Court decision which rejected the argument that jurors consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana, snorting cocaine and falling asleep constituted an "outside influence" on jurors.
Coin said being drunk on jury duty was "reprehensible," but that there was little she could do about it given the Supreme Court ruling.
"However severe their effect and improper their use, drugs or alcohol voluntarily ingested by a juror seem no more an 'outside influence' than a virus, poorly prepared food, or lack of sleep," the Supreme Court said in its decision.
Brandon faces up to one year in jail at his Sept. 27 sentencing