Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Emergency Alarm Clears Courtroom

An alarm sounded in the courthouse shortly after Judge Ebert began jury instructions.

A recorded voice said an emergency had been reported in the building and told all occupants to exit.

Ebert did not release the jury immediately.

"The first time this occurred it was someone smoking in the boy's room," quipped Ebert. "The second time it was someone's popcorn was overdone. So I'm not overly concerned."

After several minutes, with the alarm still going, bailiffs cleared the courtroom. A fire engine was dispatched to the scene but occupants were let back in approximately 10 minutes later.

When the courthouse was cleared for re-entry, Ebert joked, "There goes 20 of your minutes Roy," teasing co-prosecutor Roy Korte of the Dept. of Justice.

"I'm editing as we speak," Korte quipped.

When the jury was again seated, Ebert said, "And you thought jury duty would be boring."

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