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A jury of your peers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Angel_1756, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Angel_1756

    Angel_1756
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    The Big Four-Oh

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    I got a notice in the mail yesterday that I could be a potential juror and that I needed to fill out the enclosed questionnaire to see if I qualified. One of the questions was whether I had been convicted of any criminal offense by way of indictment for which I had not been granted a pardon. The letter went on to list a number of offenses (not prosecutable by indictment) for which I could have been convicted, but would not have excluded me from jury duty. These included:

    * engaging in a prize fight;
    * being nude in a public place;
    * disturbing a religious worship;
    * being a vagrant;
    * failing to keep watch while towing a person on water skis/surfboard; and
    * pretending to practice witchcraft.

    It made me think about my last call to jury duty, where the caliber of people considered to be "my peers" included a woman who, during the selection process, made no less than 14 phone calls to her "puddy cat Muffin", an elderly gentleman who told anyone who would listen about his last prostate exam, and some emo kid with thick black eyeliner who had to be told by the judge (!!) to turn off his ipod while in the courtroom.

    Focus: If you've done your civic duty, you've surely seen some interesting characters. Tell your jury duty tales. Either how you got out of it, or what you saw while you were there.

    Addendum: On my way out of the courthouse that day, I saw an exceptionally pregnant teenage girl, a teenage boy with the crotch of his pants nearly dragging on the ground, and an obese hot-pink-sweatsuit-wearing mother of one of them coming out of a courtroom. I then heard the mother turn to them and say "Well, y'all are married now. Wanna go to McDonalds to celebrate?". Classy.
     
  2. Nettdata

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    I've never been called on for Jury Duty. I'm not sure why that is.
     
  3. Judas

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    I got my summons for jury duty when I was 19. I just told them I was in college and I couldn't miss classes. I feel like the only people who actually go to jury duty are the ones not smart enough to get out. That or they forget about it until it's too late.
     
  4. audreymonroe

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    I, on the other hand, was called for Jury Duty three times in a year for both the place I was going to school in, and the place I grew up in. Not sure how that happened, but I only actually went once. It was in one of the sketchiest neighborhoods of Boston and I got lost because it was only accessible by bus. I was called to be on the jury, and I was even in the seat which would've been the one to read the verdict aloud, which I was really excited about. But, the case was a white girl accusing a black man of stalking her, and the defense took one look at the jury and released the three of us on there that were white. That was one of the first times I realized that our justice system isn't the greatest.

    Joke's on him, though, because I had already decided the guy was innocent. The girl just seemed like she was craving attention. I win at this whole fair trial thing.
     
  5. Thorgouge

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    Clearly this is the best method to avoid jury duty.
     
    #5 Thorgouge, Oct 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  6. effinshenanigans

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    When I was right out of college and still job hunting, I was called for jury duty and chosen to serve. The court house was located in Bridgeport, CT, a prime area for some great people watching. A few highlights:

    - While waiting in line to go through the metal detector, a guy behind me was selling weed over the phone to someone. He was there that fine day to see the judge about a charge of possession with intent to sell.

    - More guys than I could count decided to wear their finest Ed Hardy jeans and flat brimmed baseball hat with the stickers still on it (because you know every judge is impressed by how fresh your hat looks and the cool pictures on your pants).

    - There was a girl who was wearing a tattered v-neck shirt with no bra and her tits hung out every time she took a deep breath--perhaps a strategy to get the prosecutors on her side.

    My case story:
    The case I was a part of involved a corrupt cop, a woman and her son, and this guy who had accused the woman and her son of threatening him, and the cop of covering it up (since it turned out he was friends with the woman). The incident occurred when the man was walking back into his house with a pizza he had gotten, when he was confronted by the woman's son--at which time the son threatened to beat him with a hammer because of an ongoing civil suit.

    As the woman/son's lawyer went over these details when the man was testifying, he came up with what I've since referred to as the "Accusatory Pizza Offensive." This is basically what he said:

    Lawyer: So after you were threatened with this supposed hammer, what did you do?
    Guy: I went inside, called the police, and ate my pizza.
    Lawyer: Did you eat the whole pizza?
    Guy: Yes, I think I did. I was pretty hungry that night.
    Lawyer: You ate the whole pizza then? (Turns to the jury) Does that sound like a man who really felt threatened to you? A man who, according to him, was threatened with a hammer, went inside and ate a pizza. Sounds like a cool character to me.
    Guy: What was I supposed to do? Cower in the corner while it got cold?
    Lawyer: Well sir, we're not here to discuss how much pizza one man can and should eat after being threatened..
    Guy: (interrupting) Um...it sounds like you are...
    Lawyer: (Clearing his throat) BUT, it does seem suspect that you consumed the whole thing. No further questions, your honor.

    At this point, his case fell apart. Numerous jurors were also chuckling. The guy's lawyer stood up, laughed for a moment about what the hell the other lawyer was talking about with the pizza, and continued with graceful tact.

    The cop was clearly lying and definitely fudged documents, as were the woman and her son. When we went into deliberation, we all sat down and one guy raised his hand and said, "So, based on the evidence and testimony, does anyone not think they're full of shit? And what the hell was with that pizza thing?" Not one person disagreed and we all laughed about the pizza, so we put it to a (moot) vote and re-entered the court room within 30 minutes.

    On my way out that day, a man was being escorted into a holding cell area for pulling a shiv out of his crotch and leaping at a prosecutor.

    Oh, Bridgeport...
     
  7. mya

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    I have gotten called once. I was a student as well, and that didn't get me out of it. I also didn't see one person who was excused from duty when trying to state their case as to why they couldn't serve (as I recall, it was anything from "I am a physician and own my own practice and should be out there saving lives" to "I am a single mother and have no childcare"), so I don't know about the fact that the only ones who serve are the ones not smart enough to get out.

    Anyway - I had a very simple experience as Audrey except mine was a domestic violence case and I was roughly around the same age as the battered (allegedly) wife. I wasn't asked a single question and then was the first to be dismissed. Yeah for stereotyping.
     
  8. magz

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    I was called in for jury duty about six years ago. Spoilered for brevity...

    The first couple of days consisted of waiting around in a lobby, reading books and magazines and waiting for my number to be called. It was incredibly boring and the atmosphere was similar to that of a hospital waiting room or lounge.

    Eventually my number was called, and I was part of the selection for some type of felony gun charge case. Both sides asked questions narrowing down the pool that started out pretty vague ("Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, what?") and then became more specific ("Do you own a gun?"). That was my one shot of getting out of having to be on the jury, since there were a couple of questions that I had to expand on, with the main one being, "Are you related to a Minneapolis police officer?" I answered that my uncle was a city cop for 30 years, and then was asked if I felt I had a bias towards or against other officers because of that. If I had answered yes I would have been taken out of the pool, and I knew it. However I felt it was my civic duty to serve so I said no, and was kept on the jury.

    The trial itself should have been straight forward. A guy in his late teens/early 20's was up in the hood with some friends hanging out on the street late one night, someone called 911 to complain about the noise, the cops rolled up and claimed they saw or heard someone drop a gun, and they found a handgun under a car by (but not next to) the suspect. Shit got complicated however after there was some discrepancies in the two officers' stories. And that was the moment I lost faith in the average human being's ability to reason.

    During the jury instructions, the judge was very adamant that we were not to use any outside knowledge about the law, including what we had seen on TV shows like CSI and Law and Order. We were only to use the definition of the law itself, combined with the testimony from both sides. Well after the cops testified, the jury met to discuss the testimony. REPEATEDLY a couple of people would bring up episodes of TV shows that they had watched that somehow applied to our situation, only to be reminded by a woman on the jury (a lawyer) that we couldn't do that. "But I saw it on TV once, and the guy was obviously GUILTY!"

    Over the next couple of days, shit like that would keep happening, and I just sat in the corner with my arms crossed listening to the idiots fight amongst themselves trying to justify their ridiculous explanations for what could have happened. Yeah, you're right, the wind could have blown a loaded 9mm ten feet across the street and laid it under the car. The lawyer woman next to me and myself would just shake our heads in amazement and how fucking idiotic our peers were. Thankfully we eventually came to a verdict, mainly because people wanted to get the fuck out of there and go home.
    The main thing I took away from serving jury duty is that your average, common man is a fucking idiot. The scary thing is that means there is a large segment of people BEHIND that person that is even more idiotic. It was a real eye opener. And it was also a lesson to avoid getting wrapped up in the legal system at all costs, because chances are that if you end up on the other side of a jury bench, you are dealing with people that are too stupid or too naive to have gotten out of jury duty in the first place. And that's a terrifying thought.
     
  9. dixiebandit69

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    The only time I've been to jury duty was after I'd pulled a double shift at work and was dead tired. It was brutal; I just wanted to go to sleep, but they kept moving us from room to room.
    At the end of the day they just told us all to go home.
    That totally wasn't a waste of my time.

    A few years later I got a jury duty notice in the mail, and I sent it back saying that I had a medical disabilty that keeps me from participating (I don't have any disabilities).
    They never checked up that, and I've never heard anything from them since.
     
  10. KillaKam

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    In all my years, I still have not been called to jury duty....bet it happens this week.
     
  11. lust4life

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    I had been called several times when we lived in NJ, and got out of it until the last time. My number got called from the main group to go to a trial. I was one of the first 12, so we went to the jury box, the rest of the called jury pool sat in the spectator seats. We were told that the defendant (Hispanic male) was accused of burglary, and jury selection began. After two jurors had been dismissed and replaced by 2 others, a clerk interrupted the judge, who then called a 15 minute recess, and we were brought to a deliberation room. There were two elderly guys on the current panel of 12, and as soon as the bailiff shut the door, one says to the other, "Oh, he's guilty alright."

    When we came back out and I was questioned, the defense attorney dismissed me (I guess he didn't believe that, since I had been a victim of a burglary--and in that part of NJ, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who wasn't--I could render an impartial decision in the case). The two seniors were selected. I don't think things worked out too well for the defendant.

    My one and only encounter with our legal system.
     
  12. The Village Idiot

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    It's because you're Canadian.

    Anyway, I've been called in NJ 4 times, and once in PA. I've been 'seated' all 5 times and excused all 5 times, due to various reasons.

    1. Case about asbestos - I was asked about it, and my dad worked with the shit for ten years, excused.
    2. Grand Jury (They meet once a week for a month or two, can't remember which) - I was seated and excused, can't remember why.
    3. Car accident case - I was seated, and dismissed by Plaintiff's counsel (no reason given)
    4. Contract case - seated, excused because I had bar exam in 2 days.
    5. Car accident case - excused because I was an attorney (I think defense used peremptory challenge).

    I have seen quite a few juries, and yes, there are definitely horror shows, but I clerked for a Judge in the Criminal Division and saw many juries and jury trials. Oddly enough, no matter how goofy looking the jury was, they got it right a LOT of the time. Maybe I'm a rare lawyer, but I think most juries try to, and in fact, do a pretty darn good job and they take it seriously.
     
  13. Mantis Toboggan M.D.

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    Between college, living somewhat off the books in Boston after college, and the military I've spent very little time since the age of 18 actually living in my official state of residence (Pennsylvania) and as such have never served on jury duty, although I've been summoned a few times. What I'd like to know is this--everyone jokes about getting out of jury duty by going in and starting to rant about niggers and Jews, but has anyone ever actually done it??
     
  14. thisisajs

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    I was on a date with a girl on Wednesday and we somehow got to talking about jury duty. I told her that luckily, I've never been called in to serve.

    Guess what was waiting for me Thursday night when I got home from work? Yup, a jury summons. Awesome.
     
  15. Kampf Trinker

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    I've never been summoned, but I think I can get out of it really easy. I was diagnosed with adhd awhile back and that has to get me out, right? I mean if you can't pay attention, how are you supposed to give a well educated verdict? I don't take any medication for it, and don't really need to(it honestly barely affects my life at all). Oh well, at least having this so called disorder does some good for me. I do fidget way too much though, which is annoying.
     
  16. Disgustipated

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    As a lawyer currently engaged in legal work, I'm disqualified from serving on a jury. Thank fuck for that. Of course, if I was every selected sometime in the future after retirement, there's no way I'd get selected as soon as they found out what my background was.

    My dad got called up for duty a few years ago. He's a hard as nails, straight down the line, doesn't take any bullshit, call it like it is old guy. No way did he get picked. I'm still wondering how he didn't cop a contempt charge, because there's no way he could have kept his mouth shut to keep from telling the magistrate how to run his court room.
     
  17. Aetius

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    I have a summons for early November. I was falsely accused of a crime in my past, I'm expecting a one and done showing; there isn't a prosecutor in the world who wants to hear a jury member muttering "bullshit" under his breath every time a cop testifies.
     
  18. toejam

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    Larry David obviously does this best:

     
    #18 toejam, Oct 15, 2011
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  19. Noland

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    THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!

    Just say those words.
     
  20. captainjackass

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    I only got jury duty once so far.

    The notice was received literally days before my study abroad flight to Australia.

    Yeah, can't serve. Will be over 9,000 miles away. And well outside the reach of this government.


    I agree that it seems that the only people who go to jury duty are the people who can't get out of it.