The Los Angeles Times reports that a judge fined a potential juror $1000 earlier this month for yawning during voir dire. The man, whose name was not revealed, also told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Veals “I’m sorry, but I’m really bored,” a statement that likely contributed to the penalty.
Some criticized the judge for overreacting, but a court spokesperson emphasized the disruptive nature of the yawn in question. The juror “yawned very noticeably and waved his arms around and made quite a show of his yawning process,” the spokesperson said.
Judge Veals reduced the fine to $100 a few days later. Lawyers and court officials interviewed by Reuters said that while sanctions are not uncommon for contempt of court, they had “never heard of such a punishment for yawning.”