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Judge allegedly said juror having a heart attack 'can wait'

Feb. 27, 2014 at 5:24 PM

NEW YORK, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A New York judge is drawing criticism for allegedly saying a man suffering a heart attack while in a jury pool "can wait" for "a few more minutes."

A report filed by a court officer said Nyima Dorjee, 39, was sitting in a jury pool last week for a gun possession trial when he complained to the questioning prosecutor of chest pains and difficulty breathing, the New York Post reported Thursday.

The report said the officer informed Justice Joel Blumenfeld of the situation, but the judge told the officer to allow the prosecutor to finish his round of questions.

"There's a few more minutes left," the judge was quoted as saying. "They can wait."

However, the officer determined Dorjee needed assistance and removed him from the pool. An ambulance was called about 10 minutes after he initially complained of chest pains, the Post said. Doctors at Jamaica Hospital determined he was suffering from a heart attack.

Dorjee said Wednesday he was unaware of the judge's remarks at the time and he is grateful to the court officers for getting him help.

"It's pretty egregious what happened, to have a total disregard for the jurors and public safety," said Patrick Cullen, president of New York State Supreme Court Officers Association. "I'm disturbed by the continued extreme ignorance of the court administration for the public's safety."

Blumenfeld declined to comment on the incident, the Post said.

Dorjee said he still plans to respond to his next jury summons.

"Jury duty is one of those things you have to do," Dorjee said. "It's part of a democracy."

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