Thursday, March 29, 2007

Breaking News

I don’t know of anyone who has been called to jury duty more than me. And it has happened again—this time I’m being called up to the big leagues—to work with the Feds (U. S. District Court). This will make my eighth time being called up for jury duty. In all, I’ve sat on one jury, when I was just 21 years old. It was a murder trial and after deliberating a day and a half, we found they guy not guilty. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime. Later, we learned the same guy had already been tried by another jury. They were unable to come up with a verdict. I’ve must of gotten a reputation as a softy, for no DA has wanted me on the jury since (twice my butt has been saved from the jury box due to being good friends with the defense attorney). I am really looking forward to seeing if I can make it in the big leagues. On a Monday, in a few weeks from now, I’ll drive north to the big city with 8 quarters in my pocket (they tell me to bring 8 quarters in case the parking attendant is AWOL—is this class or what?) and a good book to read. It’s too bad I don’t live a few more miles away; I could go up Sunday evening, book myself into a hotel and take them up on their generous $110 “subsistence allowance.” I'm not sure what kind of hotel I'd have to stay in the downtown area without "subsidizing" their allowance.


  1. For 15 years, I have wished that I would get a chance to be on a jury. I want to experience our judicial process up close and personal. For 15 years, I have not received an invitation to do so. Maybe I need to move to a higher crime neighborhood.

  2. Ed, I wish I knew what you had to do to get "lucky." If I knew what I did, I'd stop doing it! But I am glad to have had the experience when I was younger to have served on a jury.

  3. Sage, I bet your file has been red flagged by the ladies for the southern accent. If I were you, I'd lay off the light blue when you go. If you've worn that on other occasions, I'm sure that is also mentioned in the file. :-)

  4. Eight times? I've always wanted to serve on a jury. Wish I knew what the secret was.

    Michele sent me here.

  5. Wow sage, they've got your number!

    I've never been called... shhhhhhh, please don't tell. :+)

  6. Sage - they seem to have my number too - I've been on juries twice - a criminal case (DUI) and a civil lawsuit. I'd be interested to hear about your experience as a federal court juror. No one I know has been called to serve in federal court, and I recently did some research on how a federal jury pool is selected. And you have already answered one question - since the area from which the pool is drawn from (probably from the voter roles, fyi), they do offer a subsidy for accomodations . . .

  7. I've been on jury duty four times--the last time was Grand Jury where it doesn't matter who you know or what you do...

    We were supposed to be the special murder grand jury--NY's not a death penalty state.

    But a lawyer on the jury is a police oversight attorney. The jury ended up trying to indict the cops who were witnesses

    It was an absurdly stupid experience--in 20 days we heard 15 cases. Most Grand Juries hear at lesst 50 cases

    I honestly forget how much we were paid but any amount was too much

    I do believe that not every alleged perp is guilty, but Grand Juries are generally given just enough evidence so that they will indict

    I found it offensive that people would assume all police entrap all perps.

    Hope the book is good

  8. Murf, If I'm a juror, they won't be hearing my southern accent--except behind closed doors. But over 1/2 of my shirts are blue or have some form of blue in them!

    Jean, I think I have it in my genes. I know another guy out west who also gets called every few years if he needs to or not

    Karen, yeah and they keep it even when I move from one local to another

    Diane, the subsidy is only if you are 100 miles from the courthouse (85 miles in winter). Yet, I have to be there at 8 AM! When I was in Utah, I was called to Federal Court too, but the case didn't come to court so I found out two days before I had to report that I didn't have to go. I was 250 miles away, which would have meant that my mileage reinbursement would have been nice. They do give you the IRS rate of 48.5 cent a mile plus (I usppose) the eight quarters for parking in the cheap lots.

    Pia, I haven't been on a Grand Jury--it sounds like your experience was a waste of time!

  9. Wow, I've never had jury duty. Hopefully you get something interesting.

  10. Hi,Sage! I'm in NJ tonight. I wish I could get jury duty. I think it would be fascinating. They have only called me 3-4 times, and each time I had to get off due to having weddings to attend to.

    Michele sent me!

  11. Peri--I've come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of people in the world--those who have been called to jury duty and those who haven't.

    Kenju--at least you've also been called. Twice before I have tried to get off jury duty before for business reasons and haven't been so lucky (once they denied it and the other time I had to make it up the next time). It sounds like I should have found a wedding to go to.

  12. Wow! I've been on three juries. I thought that was bad. About five years ago...well, I still worry if we made the correct decision.

  13. I *want* to be on jury duty, but every time I get called I find out that they don't need me after all. Waaah. I think it would be interesting, as long as I didn't get some horrible murder case or child abuse case.

    Here by way of michele today... nice to see you!

  14. I also think I'd like to serve on a big murder trial or some such. But then again, someone would have to die for that to happen, wouldn't they? LOL!

    "Hi" from Michele, and also from me :)

  15. As someone who reads (and has read) a bit about our legal process and jury selection, I'm a bit torn about jury duty. Sure I want to do my part and serve, but I know how important jury selection is to a trial and the machinations the attorneys utilize to get the jury that is best for their client. Furthermore, I've heard, read, seen too many cases in which the innocent are wrongly convicted. Part of this is due to the jury makeup, but part of it is not. In any case, at this stage I would gladly serve on a civil or minor criminal trial (maybe not a misdemeanor though), but would find it very hard to serve on anything else. Though I'm also guessing with my views of our judicial system it will be hard to remain on a jury. Anyway, just my thoughts.

  16. Paul, that must be hard to worry if you made the right decision--but you can only do the best with the evidence given you.

    Panthergirl, the murder trial that I was on-there was no doubt as to whether or not the guy killed the other guy, the question was if it was first degree and we didn't feel that it was--that it was done in self-defense. that, and the fact the DA had the stupidest witnesses, got the guy acquitted. I would not want to be on many of the murder/abuse cases you hear about.

    Carolyn, a "rational reason" for not wanting to be on a jury

    V, I wonder if being a law student might exempt you? I know I'll never be on a capital case, but MI doesn't have capital punishment (but this will be in Federal Court)

  17. I think you're going to have to find a way to get the voices in your head to come to the fore the next time you're in court.

    I see it as the quickest way to taint yourself and get yourself stricken from ever being called again.

    Kidding aside, jury duty is one of those solemn, critical prices of democracy. You're a good soul for stepping forward time and again.

  18. I have never been selected for jury duty in my life and I really, really want to do it.