Laughing City

Have you served on a jury?
No. Never been summoned
56%
 56%  [ 9 ]
No. Summoned but never made it out of the juror pool.
31%
 31%  [ 5 ]
Yes. Severd on a civil trial
12%
 12%  [ 2 ]
Yes. Served on a criminal trial.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 16

Author Message
gundamit
Golly, Poster


A few month ago I got jury summons from the county. I misplaced it and didn't even realize it until the county was kind enough to send a second one a few weeks after I failed to appear on the first date. I called the night before that summons date and was relieved to hear they had enough jurors. Not surprising since more than 95% of criminal trials are plea bargained out. The automated message said that my jury obligation was fulfilled for another year and gave me a reference number ... which I promptly lost. A month later I get another jury summons that says its the third notice. I call the night before and this time the message instructs me to report to the jury services department in the morning. Yay.

At first I was pretty sure I could get out of it. I even told my boss that there was little to no chance I would sit on an actual jury since I figured the odds were long I would get through the selection process. I had been dismissed before on prior occasions by either the prosecutor or defense lawyers without even being being asked a question by either.

The county got 90+ people in the jury pool after the hardship cases were dismissed and before they started the selection process. I didn't file a hardship request since my workplace still pays it's employees when they serve on a jury. 12 jurors and 3 alternates meant I only had a 1 in 6 chance so I called my boss again and let him know he probably wouldn't have to pick up the slack at work.

At first prospective jurors were asked all kinds of questions and were being dismissed at a rate that seemed to justify the 90+ number jury pool number. They got down to one spot on the jury. I looked around the room and saw about twenty people left in the pool. I was feeling pretty good about the odds, until they called out a named that seemed familiar. It matched the one on my juror pool badge. Gundamit!

They asked me if any of the questions they had asked the previous prospective jurors jurors during the past 3 hours would make me believe I could not be an impartial juror. Since the defendant was charged with homicide in the first degree with special circumstances for the killing of his common law wife and her new boyfriend, I thought I should say that my favorite opera is Pagliacci because I liked the happy ending. But instead of a lame and obscure attempt at humor I said "I don't think so?" hoping that making the answer sound like a question would make me come across as uncertain or stupid, and therefore unfit.

A few minutes later I was calling my boss and apologizing because my prior assurances had not factored in the total lack of quality control by the court when the alternate jurors are selected. I told him the "glass half full" was happy to report that the judge said the trial would not go longer than 3 weeks, which by double homicide standards is quick. And just enough time for my boss to calm down.

Rather than get into the details of the case right now, I'll just give you a a link to the verdict.

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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


Heavy. Glad you all reached the verdict you did.
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gundamit
Golly, Poster


^^ I was an alternate so I was out of the box (still on call) watching the Batman movie while the jurors deliberated. I got a call from the court clerk as the credit were rolling, saying they had found him guilty.
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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


Oh, I wasn't sure whether you were selected as a juror or alternate on the case, so when you mentioned "the details of the case" I presumed that would be your perspective as a juror which you might not be privy to share, hence refering us to public article about the case. I over analyze sometimes.
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guitarfreak217
Vintage Newbie


Just recently in federal court over a civil rights case. The case sucked but the act of getting on a train every morning and going into downtown Chicago was bliss.
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Thistledown
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freakinalex
Lost at Forum


I got a summons about a year and a half ago, but I got out of it because I'm still a college student. I get the feeling that my social anxiety would probably be reason enough to prevent any court in the country from putting me on a jury though. Razz
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mikep0922
Lost at Forum


Served on a jury once. It was a civil trial, but extremely interesting! Also it was a great lesson about American jurisprudence. I was afraid however, that I would be called up for the George Zimmerman trial since I reside in Seminole County. In fact north Lake Mary, where I live is indistinguisable fom south Sanford where the trial was. No sign of trouble yet! Keeping my fingers crossed!
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Kirk
Sea Post King


Years ago, I used to have the top Google result for ďjury duty sucks.Ē

That page has long since gone offline, but I managed to fine the Wayback archive of it. Mostly because Iím embarrassed about the typos, Iíll simply repost it here, in a slightly trimmed form:

JURY DUTY SUCKS (May 2004)

On Tuesday, I had to go to jury duty for the first time. I had previously received a summons but was still attending school. Since school ended the Friday before, I had to actually go this time. My main fear was parking. I rarely go downtown and had no idea where any of the three parking lots were. I asked around and, after a few explanations and drawings, felt reasonably confident that I could make it.

I left early and made it to the close parking lot. My mom warned me that the spots were very narrow and I now think that an understatement. I slowly maneuvered through that bumpy, muddy lot and squeezed precariously between two long pickup trucks. It wasnít the best spot but it beat my alternative: an even more narrow spot with a wet tree branch hanging over it, drooping to within maybe three feet of the ground. With Les Misťrables in hand, I went for my very first time into the courthouse. I made it through the metal dectector but then had to open my book for inspection. I realize itís a thick book but I never really thought about it as a deadly weapon. After determining that I did not, in fact, have a gun hidden in Hugo, the security guard let me go on my way.

I went in and, after a brief wait in line, gave my piece of paper to the county clerk. I must note that she was a very nice lady. I also picked up the piece of paper that, after signing, would become my ticket to that glorious $6 juror pay.

I sat back down, the Honorable Cynthia Kent came on down, and things started to happen. They needed three panels on Tuesday. They called out the names for the first panel. Clear! Then they called out a very long list for the second panel. Clear again! Then they announced that the last panel would be only 15 people. They would be dismissed immediately but have to be in Winona (a tiny little town about 45 minutes away) at 2:00. They called out the first half dozen names. I was almost home free. Then, it happened: Kirk Lennon. Looking like Iíd just been sentenced to die, I went up to the front to get my slip of paper with driving directions. Make no mistake, I pouted the entire time.

I made it to my car and carefully backed out. It was nothing short of terrifying. I went to my momís work and pouted some more. She bought me lunch.
I then picked up [my friend] and we went to TJC to drop off her application. Sheís taking a class there this summer. Then we went to Wienerland and bought chili dogs and fries. We ate them, I dropped her off, and then I drove to Winona.
I have never driven to Winona before. We used to have some family friends that lived out there but we have not been to their house in something like a decade. So ended my experience with Winona. I followed the directions and made it there. I walked in and was told I was #4. Crap.

I sat down in this tiny room with the other 15 panelists, the defendents and plaintiffs, plus their witnesses. Cozy, too cozy. The plaintiffs were suing to evict this horrible white trash family from their appartment complex. There were no lawyers present. Apparently, in Texas, you can get a jury trial for anything. You need only pay $5, and you get that back if you win. The plaintiffs (the managers of the appartments) didnít know there was to be a jury.

Voir dire is a legal procedure in which both sides get to question the jury to decide any biases, prejudices or other factors negative to their cases. The amateurish process in this case was quite short. Each side, in this trial, was allowed to strike any three jurors for any reason. I had a good feeling that, since I am 20 and everyone else was considerably older, I would stand out and be eliminated. Alas, I was not. They take the first six jurors left after voir dire. As juror #4, I was screwed.

I wonít go into the details of the case, mainly because they were horribly boring, but I will note that the Justice of the Peaceís cell phone went off during the trial.
We the jury received our charge and went into the JPís office to deliberate. It was unanimous for the plaintiffs. That horrible family has until Monday to get out.

I finally made it back home at exactly 5:00, over nine hours after I left. Oh, I felt bad that day too. I had some sinus issues that started on Sunday and Iím just now almost completely over. Unfortunately, they were not bad enough to warrant pleading a hardship.

In summary, I really hate jury duty. I really didnít want to complain about my first experience because I was hoping for a real learning opportunity. Unfortunately, I did not get to see a single lawyer and I didnít learn any new legal terms. Iím rather vexed about it.
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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


That was literally 10 years ago. Back when Google was just a search engine and this forum might have still been on Eisley.org?

$5 for a jury trial huh? Laughing not very cost effective for the local gvt.

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