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Thread: Jury duty

  1. #1
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    Jury duty

    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.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

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    Never fails: Lose bowel control. Frequently. Answer all yes or no questions with "Depends".
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  3. #3
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    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.

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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    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.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    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.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    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...


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    Justice is supposed to be blind, not stupid

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    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.

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    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.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B.
    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.

    Wolverine, we want photographic proof of your last statement.
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    My dad got out of it because my mom was having surgery....But I think it was a rare occurrence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    Wolverine, we want photographic proof of your last statement.
    This was some years ago... if only I'd thought to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon Star
    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?

  17. #17
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    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.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B.
    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.

  19. #19
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    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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B.
    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.

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    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.

  22. #22
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    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.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    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.

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    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)?

  25. #25
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    This is so strange I just pulled Jury duty I got to be there on the 8th hope you can go on without me

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    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.

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    Point in case....

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arneb
    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.
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  29. #29
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    Aren't employers legally required to allow you to be a member of a jury without any penalty?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    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.
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