An Illinois man who left town before his time serving on the jury in a federal trial was up narrowly avoided a jail sentence -- but will be forced to pay a $1,000 fine.

Scott Enke, 33, of Plainfield, Ill., was ordered to pay the maximum fine, in addition to writing an essay about his experience and attending a symposium on jury service because he abruptly stopped showing up for jury duty during a criminal trial in March, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Enke, a medical supply salesman, could have been sentenced to serve three days in prison for leaving town for a business trip in Iowa in the middle of an ongoing trial, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the Associated Press, Enke had feared losing his biggest client if he didn't make the trip. He had left a voice mail asking to be excused from service to leave the state but was later held in contempt after that request was denied, CBS Chicago reports.

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Was Scott Enke's punishment too harsh for skipping out early on jury duty?