Yaaay! No more jury duty for 3 yrs ... food for thought

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Two wks ago, when I first went in as a potential juror, I actually got called into the jurors' box, but the atty's X'd my name off the list for whatever reason, so I went home for Thanksgiving wk. It would have been an assault and battery case between two middle-aged men.
    Today it was a case of a middle-aged man indicted for assault and battery of a 17-yr-old with whom he was living (not sure if it was his daughter or step-d or what. Several jurors excused themselves (one actually knew the defendant!) and even after 6 replacements, (and another half doz who excused themselves because they were still in the big pool but had served two wks ago, and the judge said the newcomers got first dibs) my name never came up by random computer choice.
    So I'm free! Woo-hoo!

    Now that I've had time to digest the issue, I was wondering ... they ask you questions like, "Have you ever been the victim of domestic assault." "No."
    And then I thought, hmm, does difficult child count? Even though he's a kid and he's got a diagnosis, and he's never been in jail. I totally forgot about it. And when I remembered, I instinctively blew it off, thinking it had nothing to do with-the case. Then again, maybe this 17-yr-old battered girl is a difficult child? Would it have influenced me?

    Another Q was "Would listening to testimony about battery be so uncomfortable for you that you could not sit through a trial?" "No."
    (Okay on that one. I've got a strong stomach.)

    "Does anyone here believe that corporal punishment is totally wrong, under any circumstances?" "No."(I almost laughed aloud at that one. I could see the defense's argument from a mile away.)

    Another statement by the judge was that the jury's job is not to find the defendant innocent; it is to find him guilty or not guilty. That doesn't mean you can't have a gut feeling or a tiny bit of doubt, just that you have to use the evidence given in court to make your decision.
    Casey Anthony came to mind. And now I understand why she got off. The jurors were instructed not to find her innocent, just whether or not there was enough evidence to find her guilty.
    I remember reading all the notes here after her trial, and thinking about it, and understanding in an abstract sense, but now that I've actually sat in a courtroom and heard the instructions, it makes more sense.

    The local trial is probably over by now (the judge said it was a 1-day deal and it's late afternoon) so I feel comfortable asking these questions (not that I remember the names, and most people here don't know where I live).
    But it got me thinking ...

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I always say when people ask the "how could that happen" question about a court case, to spend some time in court. My husband spends 3 - 4 mornings a week in court as part of Court Watch, a group of people that follow those that live in our area and are accused of committing a crime, or follow those that commit crimes in our area. husband and his fellow court watch guy are known by all the judges, all the bailiffs, all the prosecuting attorneys and a good many of the defense attorneys. They are often asked by the judges - especially when sentencing is happening, and especially when sentencing is community control, what they as a community want to see. They also advocate for those in our community that may commit crimes, but are mentally handicapped and really need services other than jail (not that there are a lot to choose from).
    Anyway, husband got called to jury duty. When his number came up, he knew the judge, the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney quite well. He didn't know the defendant - wasn't someone from our area and the crime wasn't committed in our neighborhood. He (and the bailiff) thought sure he would be excused, but the defense attorney questioned him with "Mr. S - please explain to the court how you know me". He explained Court Watch and what he does. The defense attorney asked if he knew the judge (he said yes), if he knew the prosecuting attorney (he said yes). Then the defense attorney asked if he felt he could give the client a fair trial, and husband said yes. They let him on the jury (and they found the guy guilty).
    Afterwards, husband asked why the defense attorney didn't dismiss him knowing his background. The attorney stated that knowing husband, and knowing what husband knows of court, he felt if anyone would give his client a fair chance, it would be husband. He knew that husband wouldn't allow others to go with a "gut" feeling but would point out they must judge the case on what was presented in the courtroom. He said he felt that with husband on the jury, his client would either be found guilty or it would be a hung jury if someone didn't listen to husband.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, that's really interesting, Skeeter!
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I've been called to jury duty three times. Each time it was settled out of court before it even began. Each time I kept thinking - I AM SO GLAD. I'm a notary, and at one time was very politically involoved, but I was really glad I was not called. Two of the three cases were domestic violence and one was an accident with a car.

    Glad to hear you don't have to go in. As far as your thought with difficult child? Good question. My answer would be yes. It qualifies you for exposure to domestic violence.

    Skeeter - that IS fascinating.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I also had the same question on the CA case, namely in light of the fact that several males have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter using even less evidence. I know a lot has to do with interpretation of the evidence, and people just expect a CSI-type one hour sealed case kind of thing.

    Two years in a row I've gotten a letter notifying me that during the year my name will on the list for duty. Have yet to get called up for it.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I've been called up a few times. I'm not sure they liked my answers to their questions. I was honest. But even given my own views on things, I can "just look at the facts" when making a decision. And I'd be keeping in the back of my mind the person would be locked up or worse depending on my conclusion, so it wouldn't be a oh, I want to go home tonight so let's just say its.....whatever. And I have enough experience with difficult children over the years (not just my own) to be able to look at someone say covered in tats and or piercings and realize that has nothing to do with their guilt or innocence, same as with a past record. Nor do I expect it to be like NCIS or CSI. I know about a lot of the equipment their labs use (many are the same husband had used for years) and I know what they can and can't do and the time frame involved.

    I never did pick up on why I didn't get picked though. Guess I just wasn't what they were looking for.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is curious, as to how they choose.

    by the way, I looked up the case online last night. The jury convicted him.
  8. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I've been called 3 times while living in 2 different states. No one else in my family (nor any of my friends) has ever been summoned to serve on jury duty.

    Twice the cases were settled, and once they let a bunch of jurors go home based on your juror number, so I got dismissed right away.

    Skeeter that was interesting about your husband.
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I have NEVER once had to serve on a jury but I'd almost like to, just for the experience. When I lived in Florida the county pulled names at random from the list of registered voters and even though I had been registered ever since I was old enough, my name never came up. One of my co-workers though seemed to get called up constantly and we thought it was hysterical! He was a computer programmer whose previous job had been with the county ... he was the one who had designed the program that selected the names from the lists of registered voters! His own program was calling him for jury duty over and over again!

    Now I live in this little rural county in Tennessee and we don't have that many jury trials. Every six months they call up as many people as will fit in the court house and draw names until they have enough people to make up two big jury panels, each of which will serve for three months, the first so-many names called will be the grand jury. Then when they are going to have a jury trial, they call and tell you when to report to the court house. The attorneys then pick the jury members from these pools of people. I've been called several times but was almost automatically excluded every time when they started questioning. I worked for the Dept. of Correction for 24 years - the defense attorneys didn't like that. And half of my family is in law enforcement. They don't like that either! If we ever had a big family reunion, it would include multiple city police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, a retired police chief, and even an FBI agent!
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've been called up three times in two different locations. I've been chosen all three and served as Foreperson for the last case. Each time has been interesting and makes me a firm believer in the jury system. The jurors come from all walks of life and somehow manage to get on the same page. The murder trial was the only one who had a ditz. The juror who was very wealthy actually said "I'll just vote how you want me to because I have an appointment with my hairdresser in the morning and don't want to be stuck here." OMG!

    Jury duty is a bit like intimate relations....you have to do it before you really understand it, lol. That's probably why I never questioned the Anthony verdict. You have to follow the guidelines even if your gut tells you something else. In the murder trial we, the jury, found him not guilty even though our guts told us he probably was guilty. It just wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It took me quite a bit to get over that one even though I believe our verdict was correct. DDD
  11. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    husband is also very closely acquainted with defense attorneys that have had some pretty high profile and horrible cases. He asked one of them how he could take such a case. The attorney stated that often the lawyer is NOT trying to prove someone's innocence in these horrendous cases, they already know the person committed the crime. They are there to make sure the accused gets a fair trial as guaranteed by the Constitution. They are there to make sure the state is proving guilt beyond a doubt, and to question evidence and testimony to ensure it IS good. By having a fair trial it helps to make sure the conviction is appropriate, the sentence is appropriate, and there are less chances of continuous appeals.

    And yes, husband has often said that when a case goes to a jury trial (only about 10% ever get that far, most are settled by plea bargain or a bench trial) one of the first things most of the judges will tell the jury is that this is NOT CSI or any other TV show. Cases aren't cut and dry. Evidence is often murky. And it's hard to wrap things up in an hour.

    I've gone down and sat in court with him several times when I've been off work. Almost all adult court is open and anyone can go and sit in. Our courts are overflowing, our jail is so full we have a real "revolving door" going on, and for most that get caught doing something while doing community control, they just get more community control assigned. The judges know how many openings are in the jail when they start the morning, and they have to look over their list and figure out just how they will handle sending folks to jail vs. community control based on the charges. And as I said, if someone needs mental help, hah! Good luck on that. husband has several that shouldn't be in jail, but there is absolutely nothing that can be done with them. Most of their crimes are pretty low (open flask, small amounts of counterfit money (that one was a set up), jaywalking, and the occasional fight) but they are continuous because of self medicating instead of taking his prescribed medications (he's paranoid schizophrenic). He's been through the one time rehab center. He's been through out patient services. There is just nothing to be done, and the judges know it too (the last one apologized to husband when he had to sentence Vito).
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Donna, that's funny about your coworker. How ironic. I bet he's just shooting himself.

    Skeeter, I hear you about mental health help. It's a problem everywhere. If someone could find a way to solve it, they'd make a million.
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Oddly enough, I was never called for jury duty until after I had Missy at 31 years old. After that I got called almost every year, but because I was a stay at home mom, I couldn't do it. I'm not opposed to doing it, but it's just never been the right opportunity. Then I got called this year and because of circumstances with Missy and bringing her back and forth to the IOP, I still couldn't do it, so got excused again.

    husband gets called for jury duty about every two years. He shows up and because he has a law enforcement background, they excuse him by the second day.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Too bad they can't type in something about law enforcement so they save everyone the trouble.