An O'Fallon woman faces possible prison time for contempt after refusing to serve jury duty in federal court.
She claims she's a full-time student, a judge in Texas, would free murderers if forced to serve, and is the daughter of "Judge Judy" from the famous television show.
Nicole Kugler, 35, went so far as to seek an order of protection against the federal judge ordering her to appear, according to court documents.
Kugler now faces up to three days in prison and a $1,000 fine for failing to complete a jury questionnaire. She faces an additional three days in prison and $1,000 fine should a federal judge hold her in contempt for not appearing at a related hearing July 24.
The day before her hearing, Kugler unsuccessfully sought an order of protection against U.S. Chief Judge David Herndon alleging the court staff's attempt to reach her for jury duty amounted to stalking. St. Clair County Associate Judge Patricia Kievlan denied the request.
Judge Herndon has ordered her to explain why she should not be held in contempt at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 20 in the U.S. District Court.
Attempts to reach Kugler for comment have been unsuccessful.
In letters filled with misspellings, inserted into the court file, Kugler gives multiple reasons for not complying with the court's order to serve on a fedeeral jury:
* She says she is a full-time student and works full-time. After a court clerk asked for a school note to excuse her from jury duty, Kugler replied she could not "send people to jail" and would free murderers.
* Kugler states she is a judge in Texas and no longer lives in the area. She also told the court clerk to stop threatening her and to show her where it is in the law that judges should serve on juries.
The most recent letter was from John Kugler, Nicole Kugler's husband, who states he also is a judge and police officer. John Kugler asks, "What gives you the right to judge judges?"
Neither Nicole Kugler nor John Kugler are listed as licensed to practice law with state bars in Texas, Illinois or Missouri. Nor are they listed as being a judge at the trial, appellate or supreme court levels with the Texas Office of Court Administration.
The letter's return address is a fictitious address in St. Charles, Mo. He states the couple lives in Houston, Texas.
In his letter, John Kugler tells Judge Herndon to "cool down."
"I hear that you wrote my wife and threatened to arrest her if she did not show in court," John Kugler wrote. "Where does the law state that judges have to appear in court before another judge to be dismissed? You know the show Judge Judy? That's Nicole's mom. She will take action if you go through with the arrest."
Judy Sheindlin hosts a syndicated TV show "Judge Judy." Sheindlin has "no knowledge of this person whatsoever," according to Gary Rosen, a spokesman for the show.
Sheindlin does have a daughter named Nicole D. Sheindlin, who is a partner in a New York law firm and lives in Larchmont, N.Y.
Nicole Sheindlin, 45, could not be reached for comment. There is no public record of Nicole Sheindlin having ever lived in Illinois.
On the other hand, Nicole Kugler has lived in Belleville or O'Fallon since at least 1995, according to public records.