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ToSeek
2005-Nov-30, 11:19 PM
I'll be reporting to the county courthouse tomorrow for jury duty, so I will be largely incommunicado tomorrow at least, and longer than that if I get picked for a trial. (The first time I was called in, they hadn't implemented the one-day/one-trial rule, and I ended up down there for close to four weeks serving on two long trials, including one for first-degree murder.)

Feel free to discuss creative ways of evading jury duty. ;)

Moose
2005-Nov-30, 11:21 PM
Never fails: Lose bowel control. Frequently. Answer all yes or no questions with "Depends".

sarongsong
2005-Nov-30, 11:45 PM
When I got mine a couple years ago, it turned out that court business was so slow, they sent us all away after about an hour of orientation.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Nov-30, 11:48 PM
If you're Canadian, become a lawyer. Apparently they're ineligible for jury duty (along with police officers, firefighters, and a whole host of others). Now, the essential service people makes sense (they need to be providing their essential services), but I'd rather like to have someone who understands the law on my jury instead of Joe Sixpack. Anyone know why lawyers can't serve on a jury?

Moose
2005-Dec-01, 12:06 AM
Anyone know why lawyers can't serve on a jury?

The potential of undue influence on the rest of the jury, I would imagine, in the style of fallacy of authority. May as well have a trial by judge in that case.

Couple that with the likelihood of professional ties and/or rivalries with the lawyers and/or judge, and it's just a recipe for trouble.

Swift
2005-Dec-01, 12:07 AM
If you're Canadian, become a lawyer.
I believe that is true in the US too. A friend whose husband is a lawyer told me that even working in a law office (secretary, clerk, etc.) is sufficient.

I've only done jury duty once and ended up only serving on a single trial, a one-day long trial for robbery that took us about 5 minutes to find guilty (it was pretty open and shut). I found the whole thing fascinating and would love to do it again, though I won't want a trial that lasted weeks or months.

One thing I found interesting was that when the potential jurors were being instructed as to the process, the judge pointed out several times that it was not exactly like TV trials - they particularly mentioned the program Law & Order. When either the prosecutor or the defense attorney was questioning us ( I don't remember which), one of the asked how often you watched L&O.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-01, 12:15 AM
If you're Canadian, become a lawyer. Apparently they're ineligible for jury duty (along with police officers, firefighters, and a whole host of others). Now, the essential service people makes sense (they need to be providing their essential services), but I'd rather like to have someone who understands the law on my jury instead of Joe Sixpack. Anyone know why lawyers can't serve on a jury?

conflict of interest? can't be considered unbiased?

Showing up in uniform (military/ems/police/fire) worked pretty well for my wife. Of course, being called to testify in a different case (different call out) worked pretty well, too.

Answer questions intelligently, thoughtfully, give examples, etc. I've been called up 3 times, and rejected all three times when I was able to show I know something about the newtonian physics (drunk driving/crash for two of them) or medicine (abuse). Needn't be much (can't be, in my case :) ) Defense attorney vetoed me each time.

In the US, you can ask your boss for a 'vital need' letter - the court can still reject it, but it's worth a try.

Finally, shed 20 years (in my case), join the military - like the Coast Guard or Navy.. make sure your unit is going to deploy during the time of your jury call up :)

LurchGS
2005-Dec-01, 12:26 AM
One thing I found interesting was that when the potential jurors were being instructed as to the process, the judge pointed out several times that it was not exactly like TV trials.


I snipped some stuff, because this one line reminded me of something I learned recently.

No matter what you see on TV, in the US, you do NOT need to wait 24 or 48 hours to report an adult missing. My search and rescue group found this out when we got involved in looking for an alzheimer's patient (who is still missing, months later, unfortunately. His car was tracked to a spot several hundred miles away, and he was seen there with his car, but the trail ends there, too). Anyway, one of the things we learned talking to the police was that you can report somebody missing immediately (not just kids or alzheimer's patients, either)

Just thought I'd share that. If you think somebody is missing, DO NOT WAIT. The cops would much rather you be wrong than start to search possibly too late. So would those of us in search groups.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-01, 12:26 AM
The potential of undue influence on the rest of the jury, I would imagine, in the style of fallacy of authority. May as well have a trial by judge in that case.


Ah, not a bad point. Still, it would kind of bother me to be tried by "my peers." Have you listened to some of the people out there?

LurchGS
2005-Dec-01, 12:33 AM
Ah, not a bad point. Still, it would kind of bother me to be tried by "my peers." Have you listened to some of the people out there?


LOL - well, it would depend on whether I was guilty or not. If I'm guilty, then the dumber the jury the better (assuming my lawyer is good, of course). If I'm Innocent (and I am), I'd think I'd rather have fairly intelligent folk on my jury.

Just a knee jerk reaction...


--------

Justice is supposed to be blind, not stupid

Wolverine
2005-Dec-01, 12:36 AM
Feel free to discuss creative ways of evading jury duty. ;)

The last time I got called up, I spiked my hair, wore chains, jewelry, sunglasses, and a ripped-up Iron Maiden t-shirt. Seemed to help with my dismissal from the pool.

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-01, 12:38 AM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?

I would think that the relatively intelligent and enlightened membership of this BB would see some value in performing that civic duty.

If you were on trial, would you really want a jury composed of people who couldn't avoid an obligation they find onerous? Wouldn't you want some smart, skeptical, and open-minded jurors?

I've been called to one-day, one-trial duty three times but only served on one jury. It was a DUI case, and we convicted (didn't buy the Nyquil excuse). I wasn't particularly happy about giving somebody a criminal record, but on the other hand I don't like sharing the road with impaired drivers.

Really, shirking jury duty is like refusing to register and vote.

Swift
2005-Dec-01, 12:53 AM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?

I would think that the relatively intelligent and enlightened membership of this BB would see some value in performing that civic duty.

If you were on trial, would you really want a jury composed of people who couldn't avoid an obligation they find onerous? Wouldn't you want some smart, skeptical, and open-minded jurors?

I've been called to one-day, one-trial duty three times but only served on one jury. It was a DUI case, and we convicted (didn't buy the Nyquil excuse). I wasn't particularly happy about giving somebody a criminal record, but on the other hand I don't like sharing the road with impaired drivers.

Really, shirking jury duty is like refusing to register and vote.
Absolutely. As I said, I would like to do it more, both for my civic duty and because it is so interesting.

But, as to the last sentence, look at the percentage of people who vote. :mad:

Wolverine, we want photographic proof of your last statement. ;)

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-01, 12:58 AM
My dad got out of it because my mom was having surgery....But I think it was a rare occurrence.

Wolverine
2005-Dec-01, 01:02 AM
Wolverine, we want photographic proof of your last statement. ;)

This was some years ago... if only I'd thought to do so.

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-01, 01:06 AM
My dad got out of it because my mom was having surgery....But I think it was a rare occurrence.In my state, a situation of that kind would be grounds for a postponement, but not a cancellation.

I should have qualified my little scolding above. In places where the one-day-or-one-trial technique is not used, I can understand someone trying to avoid several weeks of pool duty. Also, I understand that Grand Jury service is also a long stretch -- anyone ever done that?

Moose
2005-Dec-01, 01:13 AM
Well, the trial for which I served (child molestation) lasted just under two weeks including selection. The one immediately following (another jury trial) was scheduled to last six months.

When I learned that, I was very relieved that I was selected for the shorter trial. The timing was a bit of a hassle in terms of work, but nothing like a six-month stretch would have been.

Dragon Star
2005-Dec-01, 01:23 AM
In my state, a situation of that kind would be grounds for a postponement, but not a cancellation.

I should have qualified my little scolding above. In places where the one-day-or-one-trial technique is not used, I can understand someone trying to avoid several weeks of pool duty. Also, I understand that Grand Jury service is also a long stretch -- anyone ever done that?

Well, my mom was having her surgery in California, and my dad flew out and was there for 5 days (there were surgery complications), I think he was only assigned 3 days of duty, but I don't remember for sure.

TheBlackCat
2005-Dec-01, 01:56 AM
I was told anybody with a demonstrable background in science, medicine, or especially probability is almost automatically exempt from jury duty. The first thing the lawyers do is get a copy of all the potential jurors' transcripts and weed out anybody who has a solid enough background in anything related to the case that they can't be easily tricked.

sarongsong
2005-Dec-01, 02:56 AM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?...One reason often cited is lack of equitable compensation. Considering what lawyers and judges are making, it would seem jurors should be offered more than busfare---minimum wage at least.

Chuck
2005-Dec-01, 03:35 AM
During jury selection, mention to the prosecutor that you're familiar with jury nullification. Juries can nullify laws that they consider to be unjust by finding the defendant innocent even though the defendant did the deed in question. The prosecution isn't going to want a juror who might vote to acquit even though he believes the defendant is guilty. They'd rather have jurors who don't know that juries have the right to do this.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-01, 03:48 AM
Meh. In any case, I'll likely never serve on a jury. I'll be a law student in 3 1/2 years, and then a lawyer from then until retirement.

tmosher
2005-Dec-01, 03:49 AM
I'll be reporting to the county courthouse tomorrow for jury duty, so I will be largely incommunicado tomorrow at least, and longer than that if I get picked for a trial. (The first time I was called in, they hadn't implemented the one-day/one-trial rule, and I ended up down there for close to four weeks serving on two long trials, including one for first-degree murder.)

Feel free to discuss creative ways of evading jury duty. ;)

Make a point appearing smart. Lawyers hate smart jurors. Neither side wants a juror who thinks too much.

Arneb
2005-Dec-01, 04:04 AM
Reading all these posts I get the impression that Americans are pretty much fed up with their jury system. I come from a country without juries (although we do allow lay judges - Schöffen - on courts dealing with small-time criminal acts); I admit being uncomfortable towards being judged by people who are not educated in the law, maybe subject to their own whims ("darn, this long haired, steel-rimmed egghead liberal deserves a lesson") and might not have been following the trial with the proper attention.

On the other hand, the jury system is a proud tradition in the Anglo-Saxon world. Why do I read so little of it here (with the exception of Donnie B.'s post)?

wayneee
2005-Dec-01, 04:08 AM
This is so strange I just pulled Jury duty I got to be there on the 8th hope you can go on without me

wayneee
2005-Dec-01, 04:28 AM
My Top Ten things to say at Jury Duty.
I think I would be Qualified because I watch a lot of CSI

I belong to BAUT

Just one look and Ill be able to tell if they are Guilty

GODZOOKS been so itchy lately!

Im a novelist, its ok if I take notes right?

I realy hope you pick me and the blonde that went right before me, Ill show her Hung Jury.

I dont go anywhere without my BlackBerry

Is it possible for me to cross examine the witnesses

We do get paid for this sequestering right

Yes I read the paper, watch the news, am well read in history and judical milestones. I often look at other countries News papers on the internet to get varied angles to same story. Im a devoted Sceptic,and fluent in the scientific method.

Arneb
2005-Dec-01, 04:36 AM
Point in case....;)

Swift
2005-Dec-01, 05:03 AM
Reading all these posts I get the impression that Americans are pretty much fed up with their jury system. I come from a country without juries (although we do allow lay judges - Schöffen - on courts dealing with small-time criminal acts); I admit being uncomfortable towards being judged by people who are not educated in the law, maybe subject to their own whims ("darn, this long haired, steel-rimmed egghead liberal deserves a lesson") and might not have been following the trial with the proper attention.

On the other hand, the jury system is a proud tradition in the Anglo-Saxon world. Why do I read so little of it here (with the exception of Donnie B.'s post)?
Arneb, a very good question (I agree with Donnie B and would be happy to do it, but we are in the minority). I don't really understand why we are the minority. I'm not convinced that the problem is that people don't like the jury system; it may be that they just think someone else should do the work - that jury duty is a task, not a priviledge or a responsibility.

Someone mentioned the point about compensation - when you serve you get some token fee that barely covers parking and lunch. Many employers (my own included) do pay your salary and look upon it as an excused absence; but some do not, and so for those people it is essentially lost pay.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-01, 05:31 AM
Aren't employers legally required to allow you to be a member of a jury without any penalty?

Swift
2005-Dec-01, 05:49 AM
Aren't employers legally required to allow you to be a member of a jury without any penalty?
I think they are required to give you the time off, without the penalty of being fired (unexcused absence) or having to take a vacation day, but I'm not sure they are required to pay you.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-01, 05:55 AM
Hm. Yeah, that seems to be the case in Ontario, at least:


3. Does my employer have to pay me during jury duty?

The law does not require employers to pay your salary during jury duty, but some employers have an arrangement to pay your salary. You should speak with your employer to determine the arrangements at your place of employment.



http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/jury/juryduty.aspp

paulie jay
2005-Dec-01, 08:14 AM
I'd love to do jury duty, but then I suppose I'm just strange...

GDwarf
2005-Dec-01, 12:42 PM
My English teacher from two years ago got Jury duty... 3 times in as many years. She said the first time she was fine with it, sure the pay was terrible and she lost all her free time, but it wasn't that bad. The second time she was rather annoyed, the third time it cut into her vacation, which had been postponed a year because she had Jury duty the previous year.

That has nothing to do with avoiding the duty, but I always thought that if she got Jury duty the next year the number of homicides in my area would've risen drastically...

Anyways, I find it rather scary that lawyers prefer juries that aren't swayed by evidence, but rather by opinion. I mean, if all the evidence showing that I'm innocent requires highschool physics to understand, I'll be in huge trouble, won't I? ;)

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-01, 01:06 PM
Three times in three years seems excessive.

It wouldn't happen here in Massachusetts. Our system makes you eligible for one day or one trial; if you do that (trial or not), you're exempt for the next three years.

I'm surprised this system isn't universal by now. It doesn't seem fair to make a few people sit on juries for weeks (as in the old system) while many never serve at all.

I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for shirking jury duty. It's sad that such a drastic measure would be needed, but maybe a change to a fairer system coupled with a bit of enforcement would encourage more people to do their civic service.

As to the lawyers who nix jurors based on their being too smart or savvy, that's all part of the game too. The lawyer's job is to get the best possible result for her client.

The more interesting issue is whether the courts are allowing that kind of challenge as "for cause" -- in other words, is it an officially sanctioned reason for exclusion? There's a limit on the number of preremptory challenges (excluding a juror for no stated reason) so lawyers don't use those up for relatively trivial reasons.

So, does anyone know whether judges accept "too smart" or "too scientific" as a valid cause fo exclusion, comparable to "conflict of interest" or other valid challenges?

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-01, 01:08 PM
Well, my mom was having her surgery in California, and my dad flew out and was there for 5 days (there were surgery complications), I think he was only assigned 3 days of duty, but I don't remember for sure.It's been a while since my last service, but I believe a postponement-for-cause could be for up to six months or so. That would cover most situations like your father's.

Heid the Ba'
2005-Dec-01, 01:13 PM
In Scotland you have no right to a jury trial, except for certain serious crimes. I would rather be tried by a judge in any case.

My court experience is limited to trials as a witness when I was a cop, most juries convicted the right people, but often for the wrong reasons.

I haven't heard of anyone here being bounced from a jury for being too clever. Here the prosecution and defence can reject up to three jurors each, simply on how they look and their instinct, they do not have any background details. Jurors must declare any interest in a particular case.

Juries in Scotland are 15 strong so we can't have a hung jury.

Jurors are paid by the court service for lost earnings.

Jim
2005-Dec-01, 02:42 PM
The last time I got called up, I spiked my hair, wore chains, jewelry, sunglasses, and a ripped-up Iron Maiden t-shirt. Seemed to help with my dismissal from the pool.

Now, that surprises me. I guess things have changed.

Many years back, I was called to jury service in Austin. Among the potential jurors was a young woman who looked much the way you describe. When her name was called, she at first did not respond. On the second call, she told the judge that used to be her name, before she got her divorce and went back to her maiden name. The judge called her to the bench and had a private conversation with her for a couple of minutes. Then she left.

The next day, she was back... wearing a suit dress, her hair nicely done up, her makeup impeccable, and her attitude adjusted. She told the judge she was sorry and she hoped she'd get picked to serve on a jury in his court.

(Turns out he had told her he didn't care what name she wanted to use, she had been called. He also told her that her appearance was entirely wrong for court and she needed to correct it. Then he told her to leave and report the next morning ready to serve.)

BTW, I was empaneled on a criminal case. It was nothing like you see on TV. We spent 30 seconds selecting a foreman (me), 30 seconds reaching a verdict ("Okay, does anyone think he's guilty?"), and 30 minutes talking about the lawyers.

Jim
2005-Dec-01, 02:49 PM
In Scotland you have no right to a jury trial, except for certain serious crimes.... Here the prosecution and defence can reject up to three jurors each, simply on how they look and their instinct, they do not have any background details. Jurors must declare any interest in a particular case. ... Juries in Scotland are 15 strong so we can't have a hung jury. ...
Jurors are paid by the court service for lost earnings.

Every US defendant has the right to trial by jury, even for traffic violations.

Each side is given a number of pre-emptive challenges depending on the case.

Juries are either 6 or 12. Criminal cases require a unanimous, consensus decision. Civil can sometimes be decided by 10 of 12.

Most jurisdictions pay a token amount ($5-$20) and encourage employers to make up the difference. However, you can also get free parking, free bus travel, and sometimes the judge will spring for lunch!

gethen
2005-Dec-01, 03:04 PM
I've been on a jury a couple of times and it can be either stupifyingly boring or incredibly entertaining. Last time it was a federal court and the guy being prosecuted for tax evasion and assaulting a federal officer refused to use a lawyer, refused to interview jurors, interrupted constantly, and just generally acted like the proverbial fool. As a result, he wound up with the head accountant for a large company as foreman and a jury that contained no less than 9 college graduates. We were the first names drawn out of the hat and that was it. It was better than television.;)

Metricyard
2005-Dec-01, 03:15 PM
Three times in three years seems excessive.

It wouldn't happen here in Massachusetts. Our system makes you eligible for one day or one trial; if you do that (trial or not), you're exempt for the next three years.

I'm surprised this system isn't universal by now. It doesn't seem fair to make a few people sit on juries for weeks (as in the old system) while many never serve at all.

I've been called quite a few times and served on a jury once myself in Massachusetts. I always thought that the one day on trial was universally used in the U.S. Learn something new everyday.



I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for shirking jury duty. It's sad that such a drastic measure would be needed, but maybe a change to a fairer system coupled with a bit of enforcement would encourage more people to do their civic service.
I had been called one time and was in the middle of a major project that I couldn't afford to miss a day. I asked for an extention and they rescheduled me for a new date one year later! So I posted the new date on my bulletin board, marked it on my computer calendar and was all set to go. When the time came I totally forgot. I had even planned my day around the jury duty. Talk about embarrassing. After calling them and explaining my lack of memory attention, they pretty much just told me to report to the jury pool the next day. I got some dirty looks from the clerks, but I wasn't surrounded by the local law enforcement or anything drastic.

I am supprised at how many people try and get out of jury duty. As mentioned elsewhere, no one want to get stuck on a major trial for weeks on end. Most of the time, even if your called to serve on a jury, the accused will usually get cold feet and take a plea bargain. As a matter of fact, the last time I was called to jury duty, a Judge gave a talk about this. By mid day, there was only one trial, all the others had plea bargained or changed their plea. I think the poor Judge was just board and figured he could give us a short lesson in the workings of the criminal system.

SeanF
2005-Dec-01, 03:46 PM
I got called in for jury duty once, but I didn't get to serve. (I think I may have told this story on BABB before, but what the heck).

It was a drunk driving case, and I was certain that the defense lawyer would kick me off when he found out my dad used to be a cop, and I didn't drink. Didn't happen, though.

One of the things they did was read off a list of names of defendants, witnesses, etc. If any of the potential jurors recognized a name, they were supposed to say so - they didn't want jurors who knew the people.

So after all the jurors had been selected and the alternates sent home, we were waiting outside the courtroom for the trial to start. Waited what seemed like a long time before we got called back in.

Turned out one of the jurors had run into a coworker in the hall, struck up a conversation, and discovered that the coworker was a witness in our trial! Seems the police officer on scene had written the witness' name down off her driver's license - that was the name that was read to the jurors - but that was her maiden name, and the juror only knew her by her married name. So, that juror had to be disqualified and, since the alternates had already been sent home, there was no replacement available. The trial was postponed, we all got sent home, and I've never been called up since.

So, there's my recommendation for how to get out of jury duty! :D

zebo-the-fat
2005-Dec-01, 04:24 PM
I was called for jury service about 4 years ago, I was on holiday and out of the country at the time so I was able to get the date changed. (I think you can only do this once in the UK). I had one interesting case and 8 days of sitting around bored! (Guy tried to rob a store at knife point, young shop assisistant kicked him in a tender spot and he ran off, the shop manager was hiding behind a stack of cans (brave!) the whole thing was caught on CCTV)
He got 4 years for it.

Argos
2005-Dec-01, 04:33 PM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?

I would think that the relatively intelligent and enlightened membership of this BB would see some value in performing that civic duty.

For several reasons (mainly because I think the truth cannot arise from opinions and votings) I would resort to anything within in my reach to avoid this task [I will remember Wolverine´s method case one day I see myself dragged into this]. However, a science-oriented fellow like ToSeek will most certainly enhance this jury. A lucky defendant, indeed. And good luck.

peteshimmon
2005-Dec-01, 05:15 PM
I always find myself watching 12 Angry Men when its televised. And I wonder
about the "conspiracy" idea that it was commissioned to encourage
citizens to think before deciding. ie too many obvious miscarriages in the
fifties. Recently we had "We the Jury" with Kelly Mcguiness (hope thats
right!). This was to encourage more suspicious thinking I think. I suspect
there has always been a 10% error rate in jury decisions of guilt but once they
are made, tabloids regard it as immutable truth. To stop this ten percent
kicking up a stink we have parole which makes them admit "guilt". If not
they are "in denial of guilt". A statement which denies any fallibility of the
system. Thank heavens for the progress of science, DNA etc which gets
the real truth out!

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-01, 05:43 PM
You know, I'm a little more confident in the jury system than some of you seem to be, based on the trial I served on. At the start of deliberations, there were a couple jurors who were dead set against conviction, for various reasons including distrust of the police, uncertainty about the reliability of a breathalyzer test, and so on.

However, after some discussion (including input from a former bartender on the jury), they came around.

I had a different objection: the breathalyzer record had the wrong date! (I was the one who spotted that, in the jury room during deliberations. Shades of 12 Angry Men!) But the defense never mentioned that, and admitted to the traffic stop and taking the test. I decided if they didn't challenge it, then the test was probably valid and the machine was just set for the wrong date (it was off by a few days, as I recall). If the defense attorney had pointed out the incorrect date, questioned the cops about it, and (in his summation) argued that the only hard evidence was (perhaps) invalid, I might have held out for acquittal.

Anyhow, my point is, in general, six or twelve heads are better than one in sorting through the evidence. The real problems with the system are more fundamental: the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, overzealous prosecutors and incompetent defense attorneys (or vice versa), and the rules of evidence that can sometimes be manipulated by one side or the other.

Jim
2005-Dec-01, 06:51 PM
I was called to a Justice of the Peace court once, for a civil trial. The JP talked to us potential jurors in his chambers, then had us sit on the benches in the hall outside the courtroom. While we were sitting there, both sides walked past us and into the court.

After about 20 minues, the JP called us back into his chambers.

"I'm not sure what you did, but after seeing their potential jury, both sides decided to settle." And we got to go home.

TheBlackCat
2005-Dec-01, 07:07 PM
However, a science-oriented fellow like ToSeek will most certainly enhance this jury. A lucky defendant, indeed. And good luck.
That is assuming the defendant is innocent. If he or she is guilty, then the defendant definitely does not want ToSeek on that jury.

Argos
2005-Dec-01, 07:34 PM
Yeah, but he/she is more likely to get the elemental: Justice. It could be worse. ;)

ToSeek
2005-Dec-01, 07:50 PM
I'm back. After the requisite orientation movie, it proved to be a very boring morning. The woman in charge said they only had three trials that day and handed out cards for two, one civil trial with 18 empanelled, and a criminal trial with 55 on the panel. We sat around for about an hour, and they sent the civil trial folks home. Then after another two hours they sent those of us on the other panel home. There were a handful of people left after that, whom I think got to leave just after we did.

I took the chance to wander around our new county courthouse, which at least on the inside looks like something Donald Trump could have designed: majestic ceilings, wood panelling, spiral staircases. Our tax dollars at work....

I was willing to serve on a jury, but it was kind of bad timing for me, not to mention my figuring that I've paid my dues with the two juries I was on some years ago, particularly the murder-one.

Gruesome
2005-Dec-01, 08:19 PM
A friend of mine received one of those jury duty questionaires in the mail - the kind where they threaten you if you fail to return it - and thought long and hard about how to get out of the whole mess.

After a few days he found the answer. At the end of the questionaire there was a line that asked "Do you have any condition that may preclude you from serving on a jury?"

He wrote "I am an alcoholic and require frequent access to a restroom."

Never heard a peep after that.

pumpkinpie
2005-Dec-01, 08:24 PM
In my state, a situation of that kind would be grounds for a postponement, but not a cancellation.

I should have qualified my little scolding above. In places where the one-day-or-one-trial technique is not used, I can understand someone trying to avoid several weeks of pool duty. Also, I understand that Grand Jury service is also a long stretch -- anyone ever done that?

My boss is on Grand Jury duty right now. It's two days a week for four months. He couldn't get out of it. There are 22 other jurors with them. If any of them had any business or leisure travel set up before they were called, or if they get sick, they can be excused for those days. But otherwise they *have* to be there. It's been a huge hassle for our office. He travels quite a bit anyway--a lot of day trips within the area. So most weeks he's only in the office one day. It's so hard to get anything done! I'm sure he's quite as frustrated. But he has described the process to us and it seems pretty fascinating. I guess if you have no other choice, you might as well make the best of it!!

SeanF
2005-Dec-01, 08:45 PM
Here's how you get out of jury duty:

Have a more important job. (http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content/news/stories/2005/12/01/20051201wacbushjuryduty.html)

:lol:

Gillianren
2005-Dec-01, 11:24 PM
I got a jury duty summons not long ago, which, horribly, I forgot all about until it was too late to turn in. This was because of the medical condition that would probably have prevented me from actually having to serve on a jury, much though I want to. (Really, who wants an admitted mentally ill person on their jury?)

harlequin
2005-Dec-02, 12:53 AM
I was reading this thread and has the Evening News on and one of those wierd things happened: News mentioned someone getting called for jury duty: George W. Bush of Crawford, Texas. He will get it delayed due to having other committments.

harlequin
2005-Dec-02, 01:08 AM
Here is a link US President summoned for jury duty (http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1521288.htm)


--

This reminds me, a year or two ago. A potential juror in New York said that his profession was former president of the United States. He was not placed on the jury.

harlequin
2005-Dec-02, 01:11 AM
This is too wierd: Kerry got elected Jury foreman only last week (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/11/23/kerry.juryduty.ap/index.html)

SeanF
2005-Dec-02, 03:27 PM
I was reading this thread and has the Evening News on and one of those wierd things happened: News mentioned someone getting called for jury duty: George W. Bush of Crawford, Texas. He will get it delayed due to having other committments.

Here is a link US President summoned for jury duty (http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200512/s1521288.htm)

Ever get that feeling you're being ignored? :(

Jim
2005-Dec-02, 04:01 PM
I'm sorry, Sean. Were you saying something?

dvb
2005-Dec-02, 05:21 PM
Now, the essential service people makes sense (they need to be providing their essential services), but I'd rather like to have someone who understands the law on my jury instead of Joe Sixpack.

I agree with TSC.

In Canada, you have the right for a trial by judge, or by jury. Not sure how it works elsewhere though.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-02, 08:42 PM
I wouldn't mind contributing to the cause of justice; I just wish it didn't have the possibility of being so financially burdensome (maybe catastrophic) for the individual. If I got stuck on a multi-month trial it would be an extreme hardship for my family. Either the government or the employer should be required to pay your real salary. Cost of justice.

I'm sure a brazenly racist, sexist, anti-social comment or two would get most excused. Or tell them you work for an insurance company.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-02, 09:17 PM
DVB: Do we have the right to trial by judge in all cases, or only certain ones?

dvb
2005-Dec-02, 10:40 PM
DVB: Do we have the right to trial by judge in all cases, or only certain ones?
As far as I know, it's only in criminal cases. I've only managed to find references in the criminal code of canada online.

http://www.canlii.org/ca/sta/c-46/sec536.html


You have the option to elect to be tried by a provincial court judge without a jury and without having had a preliminary inquiry; or you may elect to be tried by a judge without a jury; or you may elect to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury. If you do not elect now, you are deemed to have elected to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury. If you elect to be tried by a judge without a jury or by a court composed of a judge and jury or if you are deemed to have elected to be tried by a court composed of a judge and jury, you will have a preliminary inquiry only if you or the prosecutor requests one. How do you elect to be tried?

mugaliens
2005-Dec-03, 12:29 AM
Answer questions intelligently, thoughtfully, give examples, etc. I've been called up 3 times, and rejected all three times when I was able to show I know something about the newtonian physics (drunk driving/crash for two of them) or medicine (abuse). Needn't be much (can't be, in my case :) ) Defense attorney vetoed me each time.

I would agree. I've been called twice, and the first time was tagged. The second, a friend of mine who worked for the legal system told me to tout my knowledge of engineering and physics, and as you've said, the defense attorney rejected me as a juror.

Still, I feel guilty. I feel like I should have been a juror, as I would have been better able to ascertain guilt (it was an auto injury case) than some of those who were picked.

But I'm torn. On one hand, I think we need jurors. If so, we need a lot more of them, to cover all specialties. Maybe 60.

There must be a better way, though I cannot figure out what it might be.

SolusLupus
2005-Dec-03, 12:34 AM
I say that someone shouldn't be taken away as a juror based on his knowledge. Based on his potential biaseness, yes, but NOT based on his knowledge. That way, you keep the people who are best able to judge, instead of the average layman

Tinaa
2005-Dec-03, 05:03 PM
The last jury I was called for, not picked, was for a young black man on trial for a very small amount of coaine found in a car he had borrowed to pick up his kids for his weekly visitation. The reason I mention race is that his eventual jury of peers was 10 old white people, one young hispanic female and one elderly black man. Hardly a jury of his peers. I was told later that prosecutors don't like to pick high school teachers beause we are too lenient. Perhaps he was guilty, but if I were he I wouldn't like those odds. Most of the people picked had had loved ones hurt because of drug use. I really felt sorry for the guy. Yes, he was convicted. I only wish I'd been able to hear the evidence.

The scary thing was that the prosecutor asked for a show of hands of who all thought the defendent was not guilty. Only three of us held our hands up. He supposedly was trying to make the point that the defendent was not guilty until proven at trial. The funny thing was that none of us were picked, we were dismissed by the prosecutor. I pray I'll never find myself on the wrong side of the jury panel.

sarongsong
2005-Dec-03, 05:32 PM
December 01, 2005 (http://www.theconservativevoice.com/articles/article.html?id=10400)
"In various parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts...to coerce those called into providing confidential data...These calls are not from real court officials..."

Robert Andersson
2005-Dec-03, 05:35 PM
The scary thing was that the prosecutor asked for a show of hands of who all thought the defendent was not guilty.
I might interpret you wrong, but I don't think it is a good thing to have people that have made up their mind before the trial in a jury. But then, they should also have asked who thought he was guilty, and dismissed those too.

TheBlackCat
2005-Dec-03, 06:53 PM
I say that someone shouldn't be taken away as a juror based on his knowledge. Based on his potential biaseness, yes, but NOT based on his knowledge. That way, you keep the people who are best able to judge, instead of the average layman
That is true, but if you know your evidence is simply rhetoric, bad science, bad math, or bad law, then you definitely do not want people on the jury who are smart and/or trained enough to figure it out and call you on it. Certainly the person who is innocent does want this sort of person, but if one side knows they are wrong they are going to do everything they can to make sure the jury cannot and will not figure it out. Note that Jury vetos, or whatever it is called, cannot be overruled, if one side does not want you and the other does you are still gone.

Donnie B.
2005-Dec-03, 08:15 PM
Note that Jury vetos, or whatever it is called, cannot be overruled, if one side does not want you and the other does you are still gone.Preemptory challenges cannot be blocked, but challenges for cause can be disputed by the opposing side. For example, if I claim to be close friends with the defendant and the prosecutor challenges me (i.e. requests the judge to exclude me), the defense could (if they chose) provide evidence that I was lying, and never met the defendant in my life.

Tinaa
2005-Dec-03, 08:45 PM
I might interpret you wrong, but I don't think it is a good thing to have people that have made up their mind before the trial in a jury. But then, they should also have asked who thought he was guilty, and dismissed those too.

But we are always told that one is innocent until PROVEN guilty by a court of law. So the correct responce should have been that all held up their hands. The State hadn't even begun to present its case. The defendant was still supposed to be considered innocent that the time the question was asked!

Edit: "we" meaning anyone who has taken a civics class in the USA

Moose
2005-Dec-03, 10:03 PM
But we are always told that one is innocent until PROVEN guilty by a court of law. So the correct responce should have been that all held up their hands. The State hadn't even begun to present its case. The defendant was still supposed to be considered innocent that the time the question was asked!

Agreed, and the same principle applies in Canada. Until the moment the jury foreman (or judge) announces a guilty verdict and signs the decision, the defendent is most emphatically not guilty under the law.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Dec-03, 11:35 PM
Which is made very much less evident by keeping the defendant in the dock during trial...

Trebuchet
2005-Dec-04, 06:06 AM
I was on a DUI trial a few years ago. During selection, the defense attorny asked what I did for a living. Upon being told that I'm an engineer he asked, "Do you understand that things sometimes go wrong with machines?" I told him I spent most of my time figuring out what had gone wrong with machines.
The defendant was a young woman who claimed to have had only one beer at an office Christmas party. The breathalyzer showed her over the limit. The only defence presented was that she said she only had one, the machine must have been wrong. Unfortunately her attorney presented not a shred of evidence to indicate that the machine actually was wrong, or how it could have been. The prosecution, meanwhile, had a State Patrolman in who was responsible for calibrating the machine and explained how it worked.

We convicted her in about five minutes, although I felt sorry for her.

Six months later the state Supreme Court threw out every conviction which had ever been registered with that particular machine. Apparently the trooper was gaming the system.

I was NOT impressed with the competence of either attorney in that trial or another one I was on about the same time.

mugaliens
2005-Dec-04, 10:27 PM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?

I would think that the relatively intelligent and enlightened membership of this BB would see some value in performing that civic duty.

I obey the law. If I'm on trial for something, I would want people who were smart enough to see through the lawyer stuff, not just those who didn't find a way out of their duty.

Switch shoes. I would like to be there for someone else. We do that for one another. Society counts.

harlequin
2005-Dec-04, 11:49 PM
Six months later the state Supreme Court threw out every conviction which had ever been registered with that particular machine. Apparently the trooper was gaming the system..

I sure hope they put that trooper away for a very long time. Life without chance of parole does not sound too harsh to me. Authorities who fake evidence to get convictions simply cannot be tolerated.

If you really want to be scared, Google "Joyce Gilchrist".

orion11349
2005-Dec-05, 05:21 AM
I think that the main problem with the jury system, at least here in California, is the fact that most employers do not pay for more than 5 days for jury duty. My present employer is an exception, they pay for 10 days. This results in juries made up of state and county employees and retirees.

In California, you get one way mileage and $10.00 a day. I have been on 5 juries, 2 criminal and 3 civil. I don't mind serving but wish the government would mandate some form of tax break for employers to pay their workers for jury duty. Although with our budget problems I don't see that happening any time soon

ToSeek
2005-Dec-05, 04:52 PM
I got $15 for my jury duty. There's an option to donate it to help foster children or somesuch, which I marked off.

R.A.F.
2005-Dec-05, 05:06 PM
I've had Jury duty once. It was a rape trial where the victim was...shall we say, not someone you'd particularly sympathize with...but...

The evidence of forced intercourse was overwhelming.

In her closing argument the defense attorney flat out lied to the Jury concerning that evidence. (I wasn't aware that it was "proper" to do that, but she did...)

We found him guilty...

sarongsong
2005-Dec-05, 06:58 PM
I got $15 for my jury duty...The court sent me a check for 78 cents for 'transportation', after having shown up (four miles away), then being dismissed due to lack of available cases to serve on.

Moose
2005-Dec-05, 07:09 PM
Hehehe. My contract says that I get my full salary for jury duty (regardless of length), but that I need to reimburse the finance department for any per diem I earn. (This didn't count out-of-pocket expenses like meals and/or travel reimbursements.)

Anyway, when my cheque arrived, my finance department claimed they were supposed to receive it directly from Justice and not from me, and that I was supposed to return the cheque. So I did this, as instructed.

Justice sent me back the cheque, saying I had to turn it in directly to my finance department, as they didn't keep track of those sort of contractual rules.

My department's accountant emailed her Finance contact for clarification, adding that I'd "offered to make a home for the cheque if nobody else wanted it."

She got a reply within five minutes (*lol*) instructing her that that I should endorse the cheque and courier it to them, with the appropriate receipt chain to ensure its safe arrival.

Man, they whipped that cheque out of my hands so fast (figuratively speaking) that I still have the paper-burn scars on my fingers. :p

Captain Kidd
2005-Dec-05, 07:43 PM
Yeah and they probably burned up that much if not more money figuring all that out than if they had just let you keep it.

I've been called once, right before final exams. That was enough to exempt me. I'll serve when/if ever called again.

Trebuchet
2005-Dec-05, 09:10 PM
I sure hope they put that trooper away for a very long time. Life without chance of parole does not sound too harsh to me. Authorities who fake evidence to get convictions simply cannot be tolerated.

If you really want to be scared, Google "Joyce Gilchrist".

I should say that I never heard specifically that the trooper was at fault, or that anything was done about it if he was. But there was apparently a preponderance of evidence that the machine was not providing valid results. Based on his pitch at the trial, I think he'd have to have known.

Taks
2005-Dec-05, 09:18 PM
Never fails: Lose bowel control. Frequently. Answer all yes or no questions with "Depends".LOL! i almost lost my fruit snacks (tm) to the screen on that one!

"depends" undergarments? :)

amazingly, i was actually picked to go through voir dire a while back in spite of being an engineer. i sat in a room for hours until the last case of the day was called. my name on the list was not a scare, however, as i still had a few tricks up my sleeve. namely, death penalty for all dissenters. eye for an eye. old testament biblical justice for all sinners!

fortunately, the accused must have realized he was doomed should i be picked and copped a plea. i got sent home around 2pm. our system is "one-day, one-trial." in other words, if you don't get picked the first day, you're done for a year (at least).

fyi, i wouldn't have ranted thusly. had i passed voir dire, i would have gladly served my time and viewed the facts objectively prior to voting for the death penalty! :)

choosing engineers for a trial is a mixed bag. some lawyers hate us because we'll attempt to take over, and our infallible logic (to our arrogant selves, at least) will see through their dirty tricks. of course, others love us for the same reason... :)

taks

Taks
2005-Dec-05, 09:20 PM
Hehehe. My contract says that I get my full salary for jury duty (regardless of length), but that I need to reimburse the finance department for any per diem I earn. (This didn't count out-of-pocket expenses like meals and/or travel reimbursements.)we even get to keep the per diem ($30). however, colorado does not pay unless you sit for more than a couple days. so i got nada, other than a funny story.

taks

Moose
2005-Dec-05, 09:33 PM
LOL! i almost lost my fruit snacks (tm) to the screen on that one!

"depends" undergarments? :)


Yup, but you need to keep a perfectly straight face to maintain the proper ambiguity. ...And to avoid a lengthy contempt of court sentence. ;)

I've never actually tried it out myself, but do let me know how it goes. :)

Candy
2005-Dec-06, 12:32 AM
I didn't read the whole thread.

Just do what I do to get out of it, tell them your older sister is a felon. Oh wait, mine is. :rolleyes:

Edit: I don't try to get out of Jury Duty, but my family makes it very convenient. There are certain questions they ask of you, and I always get "Has anyone in your family been convicted of a felony"?

SolusLupus
2005-Dec-06, 12:41 AM
Why would you want to avoid jury service?

There's a few reasons why I'm not a fan of jury duty. Now, while...


I would think that the relatively intelligent and enlightened membership of this BB would see some value in performing that civic duty.

Is true enough, and I whole-heartedly agree, there are some things that US Courts can do to put my faith back in the jury system.

A) Not be condescending. When I went to jury duty here in Corpus Christi, they had this theme: "It's your civic duty. Period." They paid hardly anything (5$ a day), to "compensate" for your work (pfah, it was under minimum wage...), and expect you to sit there and do your "civic duty" just because it's your "civic duty". Now, I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with this, if this duty did not involve...

B) The lawyers getting rid of anyone remotely qualified to judge. The jurors being selected to actually make sense. And above all, for the courts themselves are just so corrupt nowadays... meh.

Anyways, that's my $0.02

Jim
2005-Dec-09, 02:39 PM
Here's an idea that could reduce the need for juries dramatically.

http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComic.mpl?date=2005/12/9&name=Pearls_Before_Swine

SolusLupus
2005-Dec-09, 04:35 PM
Heh.

mugaliens
2005-Dec-09, 06:56 PM
I think that the main problem with the jury system, at least here in California, is the fact that most employers do not pay for more than 5 days for jury duty. My present employer is an exception, they pay for 10 days. This results in juries made up of state and county employees and retirees.

In California, you get one way mileage and $10.00 a day. I have been on 5 juries, 2 criminal and 3 civil. I don't mind serving but wish the government would mandate some form of tax break for employers to pay their workers for jury duty. Although with our budget problems I don't see that happening any time soon

Jury duty is a civic duty. If society cannot afford to compensate it's jurors, like a mean daily wage for the county your in, then someone's got his hand in the till.

Employers should not have to take a loss for employees on jury duty. How about letting employers not have to pay you, then cap the jury pay at the lower of your actual daily pay or 150% of the mean daily wage?

Would this, though, cause poorer people to try and get on juries?

LurchGS
2005-Dec-09, 11:00 PM
I mentioned earlier in the thread that I 'got out' of jury duty. That does seem to imply a conscious effort on my part. It should not be taken so. I showed up, dressed normally, etc., and would have served happily (big change in environment for me - almost like a vacation)

I think the payment/day was set up 100 years or so ago, when $20/day was the average wage a jury member would expect in his 'real' job. I'm fortunate, in one way - I'd get paid for my jury time (salaried employee, don'tchaknow). On the down side, even though I've documented it to a fare-thee-well, there's still nobody here at my company who can do my job. Put two or three together and they could. (I'm not bragging - I couldn't do their jobs either,but with a couple others, it woudl get done. It's a small company, so there is very little job overlap)

So, I've never actually served on a jury. yet. My mother has, one of my sisters...capital crimes, both times. Cut/dried both times - neither jury was sequestered past the end of the day.