Jury Duty

Looks like my number came up, and I will be serving in the beginning of February. This is one of those unfortunate things, but I do consider it a civic duty, so I will go without complaint. They will never pick me anyway, at least not for any lengthy or infamous trial, due to the fact that any jury consultant worth his salt will quickly peg me as someone who will hold the state to its burden on proof, and I don’t think any prosecuting attorney will stand for it. They’d probably also be rather appalled that I believe in jury nullification under some, limited circumstances, but that’s not something I think I’ve discussed under my real name.

18 thoughts on “Jury Duty”

  1. I got called in last year. I was actually kinda excited. Unfortunately I just sat in the prospective juror room from 8am to 3pm and never even got called in for an interview.

    I don’t consider jury duty a hassle, even though my company made me take PTO. I just wish I would have gotten the chance to actually serve on a jury. Of course, I’d have been eliminated from the jury pool for the same reasons.

  2. I’ve been on jury duty a number of occasions, and even got called into a case twice – first case I was empaneled, then it settled voluntarily on day 3 (sigh), second case I got removed in voir dire (I think that’s what it’s called). ’cause my attitude towards P&S awards wasn’t P.C.
    I agree about this: if you get empaneled on a jury, it is best to keep that concept of jury nullification in your secret heart of hearts, and not go about debating it freely, lest some autocrat of a judge decide that an example of you needs to be made, to discourage free thinking among the subjects.

  3. Jury nullification is probably the oldest, and most venerable form of democracy. It is a legal precept that predates the constitution of the US by hundreds of years, and is well established in common law. In a system that seeks justice, rather than blind compliance with written law, it is an important safeguard for the rights of the accused.

    It is appalling to me that our judicial institutions try to conceal jury nullification from prospective jurors.

  4. I’ve been called for jury duty on a number of occasions. Very, very rarely do I get to voir dire–and I never end up on a jury. I expressed my disapproval of drug laws in the early 1990s, and in spite of it being a hard left county, the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney, were the only ones that understood what I meant. Everyone in the room looked at me as though I was speaking gibberish.

    The defendant in this meth for sale case had clearly been using too much of the profits.

  5. I agree about jury nullification, but I don’t take it as far as a lot of libertarians do. I would have no problem finding a drug dealer guilty despite the fact that I might disagree with our drug laws.

    Even in federal court, there’s an awful lot of things the federal government does that I think it has no constitutional authority to do, but I’d be reluctant to hang a jury on my interpretation of Congress’ commerce powers.

  6. I was amazed to learn that criminal trials are fast. A murder trial, without an expensive defense team to slow it down takes 1 to 3 days. Citizen-to-citizen civil trials are fast too.

    The trials that drag on for weeks and months are business suing business trials, or government suing a giant business that can fight back. Expert and expert, hundreds of witnesses, ten emails to read for every witness.

  7. I got called in last May, when I was unemployed. I quipped to one of the others that you know times are bad when jury duty is the best gig you can get. I heard that quip while I was there from 2 other people, so it must have resonated.

    They decided who they wanted quickly, sending the rest of us home in less than 2 hours. Some of us would have volunteered for the meager stipend, and at least one fellow obviously had a better paying option, but got picked to serve.

  8. I’ve been called up twice in the 9 years I’ve lived in my local county. Both times I went into a jury pool, was chosen, and did not get voir dired out. One open and shut shoplifting case (amusingly, the defense lawyer looked like Ted Kennedy in a cheap suit), and one somewhat more difficult assault case.

    Interestingly enough, the second case the jury questionnaire asked where I got my news from. I was NOT the only one to say I got it from the internet only. Nor did anyone get voir dired for admitting to watching Law and Order or CSI (myself included). No questions were asked about jury nullification in either case.

    My county empanels 14 jurors and randomly selects 12 to deliberate and vote – I was an alternate for the first case and voted in the second (to convict. I may have some issues with NJs use-of-force laws, but from all the evidence the defendants could have retreated in safety from what was essentially a bar brawl that happened in the parking lot).

    First time I was unemployed, second time my employer covered my pay and did NOT want my daily check back (all of $5/day).

    It’s my civic duty to serve, and so far I haven’t found it all that unpleasant

  9. I salute you, sir. Too many people broadly on “our side” want out of it, and they’re exactly the people we need serving.

  10. I just got selected as well. I hope they pick me. I can tell them exactly what they want to hear and then proceed to get my revenge for the $100 red light camera ticket those bastards made me pay!!! Mwahahahahahha!!!!!!

  11. It was an attempt at humor, but It could be appropriate under some circumstances.

  12. To those about to serve on a jury, take some knowledge from an expert (Alan Dershowitz):

    1. Virtually all criminal defendants are guilty.
    2. This is known to the defense and prosecution attorneys and to the judge.
    3. A criminal defendant often cannot be convicted without violating one or more of his Constitutional rights.
    4. This also is known to the defense and prosecution attorneys and to the judge.
    5. Most criminal defendants are convicted, not for what they did, but for what can be proved. Often what they did cannot be proved and what was proved was not what they did.
    6. Everybody is aware of this. A consequence is that almost everybody in jail is actually innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.
    7. 90% of criminal defendants plead guilty at the first opportunity (usually in response to a plea agreement). The courts are clogged with the remaining 10%.

  13. I’ve always wanted to do jury duty. It’s weird, it seems like they always select people who don’t want to serve. Though most of those who get selected just sit around for the day.

    If you want out of it, just say you are a right-wing evangelical christian and they’ll probably not select you.

  14. Same issue for me Sebastian. Served my two weeks back in August. Never picked. Was in two jury pools but in only one did a prosecutor ask me any questions. In both cases, I was not selected. It also could have something to do with the fact that I know too many people in the building from prosecutors to court reporters to deputies and detectives to probation officers. Either way, I DID get a lot of work done those two weeks. I agree with your chances of getting on a jury. Good luck regardless.

Comments are closed.