Friday, October 24, 2008

6 Things about my Jury Duty

Sarah at The Library is a Hospital for the Mind tagged me for the six things meme awhile back. I honestly have been feeling a little swamped lately, so it's taken me a bit of time to get to it, but I've decided to tweak it a little, since I think you all have heard just enough random things about me!

6 Things about my Recent Jury Duty

1) Last year when I had jury duty, I got two books read and sat in the waiting room all day. I brought three books this time and expected the same sort of day. No such luck. I was in the first group called to go to a courtroom.

2) Judges are less likely to let you off the hook for short trials. If they don't let you off the hook, you might want to rack your brain for anything in your past that would conflict with your ability to be fair and unbiased. I was amazed at how the people who tried to get off on a hardship, also had extensive backgrounds in the issue at hand.

3) Crime affects a lot of people. I was really sad to hear so many stories from prospective jurors about terrible violent acts committed against them and their loved ones in their past.

4) Reading legal thrillers really did help me know exactly what was going to happen! Voir dire was exactly as I expected, except much more boring. They can skip over a lot in the books and focus on the interesting jurors. Plus, it seemed like there was an endless supply of pre-emptory challenges for the lawyers.

5) Our lawyers didn't seem very skilled. In fact, during deliberation, some jurorists theorized it was the prosecutor's first case. The judge made a little bit of commentary on that as well. It's just as well because...

6) This case felt like a huge waste of tax payer dollars. We all felt that way.

Having said all of that, in a way it was fun, and I enjoyed getting to know the others on the jury. I hope I get picked again sometime for a more interesting case.

Have you ever been on a jury? What was the experience like for you?

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I've never been on jury duty, but my husband has been every place we've lived.

Holly said...

I was picked last year for a one day trial for a domestic dispute: young couple, husband hit wife and pinned her to the ground in front of their toddler. The DA was typical small town slime ball. A real creep. During the selection process he actually said that compared to other things, this situation only measured a 1 on a scale. He also said that everyone fights and gets angry at their spouses. It's normal. I was so mad, I spoke up and said something to this effect, "No. It's not normal. Not everyone fights and yells and screams and hits each other in a relationship. My husband and I talk. We don't fight. We might disagree about something but we don't yell or scream or get physical. It's not right and it's not normal." I figured they'd nail me for contempt or kick me off as a potential juror because it was obvious I wasn't on the side of the perpetrator. I wasn't fishing for that, but the lawyer made me so angry with his assumption that hitting your spouse was normal and ok. They kept me on the jury and we found him guilty in about 20 minutes once we deliberated! It was an interesting experience.

Thomas said...

No jurty duty. There would be one problem with me sitting on jury duty. I would want to ask the witnesses my own questions.

Thomas

Lindsey said...

I was picked my first time, and was really nervous. Everyone told me, "Oh, you won't be picked!" but of course I was, lol. It ended up being just a one-day trial, it was pretty open-and-shut I think. It was a woman who had been caught with drugs in her house and she just smiled (I'm not sure she was all there? lol) and admitted it. Nobody was really sure why she was even having a trial when she was obviously guilty. I guess she was hoping someone would feel sorry for her? Interesting, though.

Colin Matthew (The Book Pirate) said...

I was so upset when I got selected for jury duty and they didn't pick me to be on the jury. I wanted to have jury duty (preferably for some big controversial case

Sarah M. said...

I've only been called once, but the case was canceled and I never even had to report in. Meanwhile it seems like everyone I know is called up repeatedly. What in the??? Great post. Thanks!

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reading in Seattle said...

Your post was fun to read - I've never served on a jury before, so I don't have any great stories to add, but it was fun to hear about your experience so far!

:) Wendi
http://wendisbookcorner.blogspot.com

RAnn said...

I'm a paralegal so I see jury duty from that perspective. I know no one would ever pick me to serve on a jury. I'm reading between the lines and it sounds like you were on a criminal jury. If so, your observation about it being the lawyers' first case could very well be accurate. In most places neither the assistant DAs nor the public defenders are well paid, so there is constant turnover. About the case being a waste of taxpayer money, if you meant that any idiot would convict the accused, then just remember that without the right to a trial, we'd all be at the mercy of the State.

Amy said...

RAnn...actually it was the opposite, not enough evidence. :) I certainly appreciate what you're saying though...and am thankful for our system.

Michele said...

I have been on two juries - one for check forgery and we wondered why it even went to trial; and one for statutory rape of a 15 year old by a 17 year old. That second one was much harder.

Ronnica said...

I've been called up for jury duty twice, but wasn't able to do it either time as I had permanent residency in Kansas though I was practically living in Oklahoma (the first time) and North Carolina (the second time). I got off the first time no problem, simply providing proof I was a student, but the second time they did not want to let me off. I about burst into tears as I relayed my frusterations of: not being able to buy a plane ticket just to come back for jury duty, still having to complete school responsibilities here, and having gotten off for the same reason before, no problem. When we pushed them a little, they finally admited that I would be able to get an exception if I sent proof I was a student. Now that I'm legal and a resident of the state where I actual reside, I haven't been called up yet. Maybe North Carolina has less criminals? (doubtful)

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