If you hate how this jury ruled
and you have ever shirked jury duty, made excuses to get off, or blown off a summons- you are part of what causes this problem.
Too many good, smart, level headed folks deem themselves "too important" or "too busy" to be on a jury. So who ends up on one? The people like B37.
How many potential jurors who would have been more just and could have been on that jury fought to avoid serving? We may never know, but anyone who has ever been called for jury duty has seen just how many people do that every day.
So sit back and ask yourself, if you have ever fought to get out of jury duty, who replaced you, and how might that have changed an outcome, and how might that have changed a life?
And make a pledge that next time you get called, make every effort to serve.
It was a child sex offender case. The judge asked if there were anyone in the jury pool who could not be impartial. I told him that I was an assistant DA. He agreed that I was not impartial and excused me for cause. Later, when the defendant appealed his conviction, I represented the state (and won).
Defense attorneys don't like cops/ex cops on a jury.
Maybe I will get called for a civil case one day, better chance they will not care then.
To me this shows the prosecution didn't seem to care too much about whether they won. I would serve on a jury myself. I have been called once (well not just once, but I used to move a lot and one county would call me when I was a resident of another.) I went when I was called and watched the line of folks begging off. I was lucky enough to have my sister available to watch my small child. I was tempted to bring her as I did not have any babysitter or anything being a stay at home mom. But I went. And watched that line of folks with their excuses. We watched our video and then sat. And waited. Went upstairs and sat outside the courtroom and waited. And then they reached a deal on the case and we never had to do anything. And I am good for five years.
stems from having trouble filling juries because so many people try and get out of it?
Last edited Tue Jul 16, 2013, 09:02 AM - Edit history (1)
... or more delicately, people who are unlikely to think for themselves and can be easily manipulated. The one time I was called, I was asked what newspapers I read. When I said the Wall Street Journal, I was immediately excused. I wonder if they would have taken me if I said The Enquirer.
BTW, that was about 15 years ago and I haven't been called since, even though I haven't moved, have a drivers license and always vote. Explanations?
if you're a smart, level headed person your chances of being picked for a jury are slim.
Especially if you have a telltale job description like say, professor, psychologist, doctor, teacher, clergy, police, social worker--ie/ ANY profession that depends on evaluating and administering to people, you will be called but never selected. The jury selection process where many prospective jurors are actually interviewed, is where the smart or let's just say, more perceptive, less rigid thinkers are weeded out. Lawyers are very clever in profiling for the type that will win for them. They select for the most narrow-minded individuals they can find, preferably people with no college education and lo-info. They can tell Fox watchers a mile away.
You are way off base.
but in most jurisdictions each side only gets to eliminate so many jurors.
So what happens is when good people tray to get out of it, they leave fewer good people in the pool, and that makes it easier for the lawyers to dismiss them.
More good people in the pool= harder for the lawyers to eliminate them all= more good people who make it through into the jury.
Even staying until you get dismissed, thereby using up one of the challenges, is helping do your civic duty- it means maybe one other good person gets to stay.
what you suggest is not enough to make the system really work fairly.
Let's just use the word "good" to describe a halfway intelligent, objective person who has the ability to evaluate the evidence and the guts to make their own decision independently (the other problem with juries is that one or two strong individuals can persuade others to vote against their own instincts).
So what I see happening, have seen as an observer, is that obvious "good jurors" are routinely eliminated. Now you might say that some still manage to get picked, but when you have a 12-person jury where 2 out of 10 might be smart and desirable jurors....well cases get skewed very easily. Even if you can say that 50% of cases are fairly juried, that is not good enough. Lawyers are lovin it and the legal profession fights any attempt to change this flawed system. It would be fairer if juries were simply random. And in lesser civil cases, juries are just a waste of time and money for everybody--Judge Judy is perfectly fine. In criminal cases I see that, in theory the jury system has merit, but not the way that it works currently.
The best way not to be on a jury is to show up and state the inconvenient truth --that the jury system is not working very well. And be shown the door immediately, while the lawyers try to wipe the guilty smirks off their faces.
You're talking about an ideal, not the reality. Without major changes, I could never support the jury system. It is grossly exploited for profit and success by any clever lawyer, as happened in the Trayvon case. But what people need to see is that this is NOT uncommon. Sorry to be promoting this idea re. the Martin case--but people need to know it.
I strongly advise anyone who doesn't agree to go observe some trials in your locality. It will open your eyes.
...a little over a decade ago I served on a federal jury in a rather high profile case. I initially tried to fight the summons to appear but then decided "what the hell, I'll find a way to get disqualified" and, to my surprise, was chosen to serve on a jury. To my surprise I learned a lot about the judicial system and how our system of laws operate...an education that I highly recommend to everyone. There are many mindsets you take in the situation; doing one's best to be impartial and objective and to read and interpret laws. It's also a unique personal experience as you share this experience with 15 other people (this was a panel of 12 jurors & 3 alternates)...total strangers you get to know more and more about as the trial progresses. It's a dynamic that has a lot of influence when it comes time to reach verdicts. Overall you get a healthy respect for how the judicial system works and an insight into the unique situation these jurors faced as "finders of fact". Unfortunately that "finding" can be unpopular as in this case.
In the Zimmerman case, I'm far more critical of a DA's office that was reluctant to investigate and bring charges in the first place and did a piss pour job in prosecuting the case along with laws written so opaquely it enabled Zimmernan's lawyers to turn it into a trial about Trayvon.
There are many good reasons for being rejected. If a person answers all the questions honestly, they may or may not be selected. Far too many people are willing to lie to keep their lives from being interrupted. What's left isn't stupid people, it's mostly honest people. I never want to serve, but I'm honest and do my civic duty. Where I live, we get summoned about once every 2-3 years, and I've been on several juries. Our juries are not filled with dumb-asses. My experience, and that of family and friends, is that nearly all jurors are honest and thoughtful.