Fed'l judge says firing of juror violated US law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal judge says a Benton pre-school center violated federal law when a cook's assistant was fired after telling her employer she had been selected for a jury pool in federal court at Little Rock. U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr. did not immediately impose a penalty on The Learning Center after his decision Friday at the conclusion of a 2½-hour hearing Friday.

He said attorneys for both the preschool center and the fired employee should submit written briefs and responses within the next 24 days. The center's owner and operator, Andrew Bunten, could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $5,000, perform community service and compensate the fired employee for lost wages.

Wilson ordered Bunten to pay Curtis' legal fees, not yet tabulated. Wilson convened Friday's hearing when he learned about Curtis' firing, summoning Bunten to show cause why he shouldnt be held in violation of federal law.

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