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January 24, 2008

Comments

michelle k

#102308610: what a great inside view to the mystery that is jury duty. i hope it was everything you wanted it to be.

Raul

I know what you went through. I had Jury Duty a while back and waited all day until about 2 pm. I was the last group in the waiting room and then they said, we are excusing all of you. I really wanted to be on that murder case!

brother john

I'd much prefer a trial by combat than any "peers" my local gov't might select. It must be different in your area. When I look at the great unwashed on the street in the D.C. area, I wouldn't trust them to park my car much less decide my fate.

Chris G.

Good for you, Bean - fulfilling your public obligation with such enthusiasm. I'm impressed. Now if I could just manage to quit throwing those summons out*...


* Just a joke to any government people looking on.

Chrissy

While Seattle might have a better selection of people to pick from for jury service, I have actually served on a jury in San Bernardino County, and I would never want to be tried there, ever. But it was a fun experience. Three weeks of jury service while we tried to decide if someone was a Mentally Disordered Offender because she shot her boyfriend and then heard voices. I would love to serve on another jury, but I haven't been called once in the five years since.

alisa

My condolences, Juror Formerly Known as #102308610. But at least now you know who has been hoarding all your jury duty summons prior to now - that OTHER Gene Baxter!!! dundunDUN!

Heather

"I found myself wondering which jurors were going to be trouble once we got into deliberation. Kind of like how you size up other passengers on an airplane to see who you could take if you had to."

Oh my God - I totally do that too! I am not crazy about flying, but have to do it for business trips. A small ritual I have is to count the number of rows between me and the exit (both forward and behind me) and then to size up everyone between me and the exit. Is that little old lady going to give me trouble as I run screaming out of the burning plane? Nope, becuase I will knock her flat if necessary.

Congrats on the jury duty!

Jackie

My recent jury duty experience ended in an early excusal as well. And while I shouldn't be so quick to judge those people who elected to uphold their civic duty, my main impression of the lot was based on our time in the waiting room. We were given a choice of what movie to watch by vote. There was quite a wide range of decent movies--not great, but decent--and somehow this group of say 200 people whittled our choices down to Ghost Rider featuring Nic Cage. I immediately discredited the majority of people in the room and returned to my book.

Tiffiny Whitney

I'm totally with you on jury duty, Bean. I was actually really excited when I was called to serve--but your day was MUCH more exciting than mine. I didn't get called into a pool until near the very end of the day, and THEN the case settled while we were waiting to go into the court room. :(
I was, suffice to say, pissed off about it.

By the way...just so that you know, "voir dire" does NOT mean "to tell the truth." The literal definition of "voir dire," if you break it down into its two respective verbs--"voir" means "to see" and "dire" means "to talk" in French. So, the process literally means, "to see, to talk," or essentially, the ATTORNEYS go through the process of seeing and talking to all potential jurors for evaluation. If it had anything to do with telling the truth, it would be something like "pour dire la verite"--literally, "for telling the truth."

Just saying...they lied to you in the court room.

Tiffiny

Diane

I have served on two juries, and found it to be an interesting, and valuable, experience each time. And my fellow juror who was a member of a cult that was an offshoot of Jim Jones' People's Temple (the branch that didn't drink the kool-aid) wasn't as odd as one might think.

karlee

i lied and did anything i could to get on a jury and i did! it was a medical one (sinus surgery). you would have found it very interesting. i learned so much about why the judicial system takes such a long time. so much that i was able to read all of the lord of the rings books. the first thing is the court reporter needs breaks every 20 minutes or so. end result we favored the defendant a dr who performed an antiquated version (Caldwell Luc) of todays sinus surgery resulting in the guys partial feeling paralysis on his face where his wife now misses his intimacy? um yeah tears and everything. he claimed he was not informed of the surgery and had he known he would never have agreed to it, although terribly suffering from sinus infections. WTF? the dr presented many documentations flushing that accusation down the toilet. lucky for you you had attractive lawyers to look at. mine were fugly and crusty.

ever heard of ejury.com?

Lisa

Congrats on fulfilling your civil duty.
I, myself, was Juror #1 last week for a civil suit about a failed real-estate-investment-partnership. Not entirely exciting but the psychological tactics the lawyers used were very sneaky!

db

jury duty ya ya...I clicked on Michelle K's profile she is pretty hot! Bean how about a blog party eh? eh? and you don't have to be there

Geo

Good for you Bean. I'm glad you had the chance
to have your wish become a reality.

Fred G

No, potential jurors that can't speak English but swear they'll understand every word? No, hot babes in the waiting room?

and how come you didn't show up to work before going in? As my ex-boss used to tell me "It's jury duty, it's not vacation"

Better luck next time.

Vic Rattler

My one day in court was a lot like your day 2. Though I did get called to court, for a child molestation case, but was dissmissed without questioning.

The two things I remember most:
1) being shortly after 9/11 (yes, that one) the judge felt it necessary to inform us that the defendant with the Middle Eastern name was a "Coptic Christian" and held no terrorist affiliations. So we could judge him fairly, as opposed to those awful Muslims?
2) We signed papers 'swearing' to blahblahblah duty, and a man stood up to say that his religious beliefs would not allow him to 'swear.' He was asked to instead 'affirm' which he agreed to. If the space between Heaven and Hell for you is that semantic, I think you're missing something.

Debbie

About 8 years ago, I was an alternate juror for a burglary case until a juror was excused after one day so I was bumped up. It was interesting especially when the defense attorney picked up the handgun used as evidence and held it to his head for drama. Yeah, we found the guy guilty.

Then 3 years ago, I got selected for jury duty which is now 1 trial or 1 day so if you are not picked up for a trial by the end of the day, you're done. I guess they're trying to make jury duty appealing.

Matt

The problem I have with jury duty is I got 5 summons in one year. And can someone explain why some people get summoned more than others. My employer will not pay for jury duty and I don't see how most people could take a week, month or year off without working. Jury duty would work better if it was required that employers paid their employees when called and that their job is protected.

Those people might have been nice but I will bet that not one of them that got selected had a college degree.

Steve-o

there's another gene baxter? in the same city? what are the chances!??!! too bad you didn't get picked though, better luck next time...if there is one! :)

Gina

Matt, you would lose that bet! Last jury I served on included not one but two medical doctors.

DeeJay

I always take jury duty very seriously. I guess I just want to know I have some court house karma built up if I ever find myself in the nightmarish defendant seat. It is interesting how quickly you bond with your fellow jurors. I agree that for the most part, they have been solid folk. I also find it fascinating to see the young lawyers. Especially when testimony starts. What a system we have! Since my company does pay, I seem to get called at least once a year. A friend of mine served on a famous murder case here in OC (remember Denise Huber?) and it really took a toll on her. I don't know how I would handle that.

LA

Ever since OJ got off, I've taken jury duty seriously. I've only actually served once. It was a civil case in Orange County, and we found for the defendant because the plaintiff didn't come close to meeting the burden of proof. My fellow jurors were a bright bunch. Most of us were professionals. Oh, the judge looked exactly like Jason Robards.

http://venturacountystar.com/news/2008/jan/23/juror-held-in-contempt-for-blog-of-murder-trial/

be careful
I'm just sayin'...

Abel

I know what it feels like. I had the fortune of being picked for service at the Compton courthouse. A carjacking case with 3 defendants. It was agony for 4 days. Going back each day, hoping to hear my name called. To no unveil they picked the jury with out me getting a crack at it.

mel

i wouldn't resent and try to get out of jury duty at all if it didn't mean
a. annoying my employer and co-workers by creating more work and trouble for them
and
b. losing out on getting paid - i can't afford to lose even a day's wages much less a week's or more...

the system is great in theory but needs to be worked out in practice...

RMC

I agree with what mel just said. My employer doesn't pay and once I lost two weeks pay (a WHOLE pay check!) to jury duty. OUCH. I actually have to call in next week to see if I have to go in.

Jojo

You can always do volunteer jury duty until you get picked.

LS

yes, in theory Jefferson's idea works really well. But! OJ's "peers" did not try him...OJ's peers would have included the Hollywood elite or other NFL football players..People that lived in Bel-Air or Brentwood, NOT people that lived in Compton or Watts.
Furthermore, I am an independent contractor and if I don't work, I don't get paid. Simple. Or not simple. I choose not to work for "the man" and I'm much happier even though I don't get paid vacation. But to take off and do jury duty? I cannot, at this time, justify doing it. Unless my landlord could waive rent, Verizon waive my payments, Whole Foods give me free groceries, etc. etc.....

Matthew

Yeah, that is why they let you out if it is a financial hardship. You don't have to serve in that case.

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