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  #1  
Old 08-06-2010, 01:29 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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How do you volunteer for jury duty?

I have some off time coming up and I was thinking one way I could use it was to finally do jury duty. Like most Americans, I've been avoiding it my whole life. Now, since I have time, it seems like a good idea.

Who would I contact?
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2010, 01:35 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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I don't think it's possible to do this, unless you just happen to get a summons at that time. They call you; you don't call them.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:40 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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You can't volunteer for jury duty, and a few moments thought will show why. They don't want sometimes influential or powerful defendants to have an opportunity to have a jury made up of peole who are well-disposed to them/under an obligation to them/afraid of them.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:40 AM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Yeah, I've never heard of anyone volunteering for jury duty. If I was picking a jury and knew someone had volunteered, I'd probably go after them on voir dire, hoping to find a challenge for cause. Failing that, I'd probably use a peremptory challenge to get him off the panel.

Last edited by Oakminster; 08-06-2010 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:09 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Leaving the original question open...


Ok, if I can't volunteer, how do I get my name back on the summons list? I haven't been mailed a summons in 20 years.
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2010, 03:48 AM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Ok, if I can't volunteer, how do I get my name back on the summons list? I haven't been mailed a summons in 20 years.
Most (all?) places, you just have to register to vote. Some places expand this to add everyone with a driver's license.

I've been a registered voter my entire adult life (almost 40 years) and have gotten only 4 summons. The last one was some 20 years ago or so. Two of those summons came within about a month of each other: one from the state and one from the federal court system. Haven't actually served on a jury, though.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:25 AM
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
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Not random enough

Every jury system I have seen employs a random method of selection. Any other method is subject to challenge. They go to great lengths to assure this randomness. In my big city they use a pre-screening questionnaire sent out in groups. That group is followed through the process until those who qualify are called. Each stage of the process is handled uniformly across the group. Allowing people to routinely select them selves would violate the random theme.

I have had cases locally and read of it in other venues where a judge ran short of potential jurors for a case being started. He ordered the bailiff to go out on the street and start picking people randomly to serve. Apparently, this was allowed. So if you feel really lucky, you could stand in front of the court house and wait for a call or you could spend some vacation time sitting in court and observing the proceedings.
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Old 08-06-2010, 07:33 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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I sort of volunteered once. My father was called for jury duty the week he died. I had to go the courthouse with a copy of his death certificate to excuse him. I offered to take his place -- I was distraught and I guess in my mind I figured it was something I could do for him. They told me it didn't work that way.
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2010, 08:23 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Most lawyers will tell you anyone on the panel who really, really wants to be on a jury gets cut. Jurors generally meet their civic duty with resignation tinged with very mild annoyance.
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2010, 08:40 AM
MikeF MikeF is offline
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Do I want my jury to be comprised of people who couldn't get out of it? Even worse, people who volunteered for it? Just kidding
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2010, 08:54 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Leaving the original question open...


Ok, if I can't volunteer, how do I get my name back on the summons list? I haven't been mailed a summons in 20 years.
Contact your local Commissioner of Jurors; they can answer that question. It's possible in your state that you're not in the jury pool.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:17 AM
DJ Motorbike DJ Motorbike is offline
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I was summoned to jury duty last April. It was explained that the jurors were randomly selected using driver license numbers. I had recently moved back into the area and only a few months earlier updated my new address with the DMV.

My mother who has lived here most all of her life excluding college has never been summoned.

I wonder if my having made changes with the DMV triggered my DL number to be added to the jury pool while those numbers that have remained static have yet to be added.

Just conjecture of course. Some bureaucrat somewhere probably knows for sure.
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  #13  
Old 08-06-2010, 10:19 AM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Ok, if I can't volunteer, how do I get my name back on the summons list? I haven't been mailed a summons in 20 years.
Most (all?) places, you just have to register to vote. Some places expand this to add everyone with a driver's license.

I've been a registered voter my entire adult life (almost 40 years) and have gotten only 4 summons. The last one was some 20 years ago or so. Two of those summons came within about a month of each other: one from the state and one from the federal court system. Haven't actually served on a jury, though.
I've never been able to figure out how it works, though obviously it relies on a combination of government records such as voter registrations and drivers licenses.

Lots of people I know who live around here get called very rarely, or not at all. Yet I get called practically like clockwork, every one or two years. I just got my latest summons this week.

ETA: The system here is "one day or one trial", meaning that you are only on call for one day, and if you don't get put on a trial you have fulfilled your duty for the year. So while I am called regularly, I haven't actually sat on a trial in more than ten years.

Last edited by suranyi; 08-06-2010 at 10:23 AM..
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  #14  
Old 08-06-2010, 10:52 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Been a registered voter and licensed driver for the last 27 years. Never been summoned for jury duty once!
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2010, 11:38 AM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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In the U.S., jury duty volunteers YOU!
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:40 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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In the U.S., jury duty volunteers YOU!
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:04 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
I sort of volunteered once. My father was called for jury duty the week he died. I had to go the courthouse with a copy of his death certificate to excuse him. I offered to take his place -- I was distraught and I guess in my mind I figured it was something I could do for him. They told me it didn't work that way.
I'm curious. What would they have done to him if you had just ignored the notice?
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  #18  
Old 08-06-2010, 01:39 PM
Voyager Voyager is online now
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post

Most (all?) places, you just have to register to vote. Some places expand this to add everyone with a driver's license.
In California we were told to be sure that our names on the voter registration list match the name on the drivers license, or else we'd have double the chance.

I lived for 15 years in NJ without ever being called. In California it took about 7 years - but after I got selected I get a summons every year. One judge told us that those who report go to the top of the list in a sense. I don't know if that is true, but it was a judge.
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  #19  
Old 08-06-2010, 01:42 PM
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Every jury system I have seen employs a random method of selection. Any other method is subject to challenge. They go to great lengths to assure this randomness. In my big city they use a pre-screening questionnaire sent out in groups. That group is followed through the process until those who qualify are called. Each stage of the process is handled uniformly across the group. Allowing people to routinely select them selves would violate the random theme.
Is this pre-screening to be in the pool or for a particular case? Besides obvious stuff like excluding non-citizens with licenses, most of the questions I've gotten are more or less case related - or general stuff like being related to a cop. They've also really cracked down on being excused for hardship involving work - you need a note from your manager now.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:32 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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I've never been called. I was overseas in the military the first time I registered to vote and get an absentee ballot. Maybe somehow the system has me flagged as "military/overseas" these 20 years later.

Since I actually do work so much of my time out of the country with only infrequent trips home, I still have a nagging paranoia that I'll come home to a stack of mail that includes a jury summons that's three months past-due.
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  #21  
Old 08-06-2010, 02:48 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Most lawyers will tell you anyone on the panel who really, really wants to be on a jury gets cut. Jurors generally meet their civic duty with resignation tinged with very mild annoyance.
I always hear that but never understood the rationale. Why cut someone if they want to serve on a jury? Why do lawyers automatically assume some kind of agenda when a person wants to do a duty that most people would be annoyed by?

I think dragging people who don't want to do it makes less sense. They're less likely to take their job seriously, probably less qualified to make an informed decision, and have no more tendencies to have an agenda than people who want to be a on a jury
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  #22  
Old 08-06-2010, 03:19 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I think it's just that the attorney would be suspicious of their motives for wanting to do so.
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  #23  
Old 08-06-2010, 03:30 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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In some jurisdictions (NYS?) once you serve on a jury you're name is taken out the pool and you're exempt from jury duty for a number of years (I think 5) unless you move to another county. One can volunteer to have their name placed back into the jury pool before your exemption was up.

The only case of someone "volunteering" for jury duty was from my grandmother. When she first registered to vote at age 21 she could choose not to put her name in the jury pool because she was a woman; male voters automatically went into the jury pool. This was in the 1940s and I'm certain that law is long gone. She registered for jury duty; she thought it was ridiculous to even be asked.
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2010, 03:34 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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I think dragging people who don't want to do it makes less sense. They're less likely to take their job seriously, probably less qualified to make an informed decision, and have no more tendencies to have an agenda than people who want to be a on a jury
(Warning: Anecdote) I have been on a jury a number of times, and in my experience, this doesn't really hold. The general reaction seems to be "I don't want to be here, there a hundred things I'd rather be doing, but people's fates are at stake, and thus I have no real choice to weigh the evidence as best I can."

This was true even for me, and the other jurors, in the absolutely mind-numbing trademark infringement case I served on.

Also, Superhal, I get called for jury duty about once every ten months or so, on average. If you are in the greater Santa Barbara area, I could just give you my summons the next time I get called. I'm pretty sure that's not technically legal, but I don't recall anyone ever asking for ID.

Last edited by RadicalPi; 08-06-2010 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:02 PM
asterion asterion is offline
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Originally Posted by alphaboi867 View Post
In some jurisdictions (NYS?) once you serve on a jury you're name is taken out the pool and you're exempt from jury duty for a number of years (I think 5) unless you move to another county. One can volunteer to have their name placed back into the jury pool before your exemption was up.
In New York State, the exemption is 6 years. Personal experience from about 5 months ago.
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  #26  
Old 08-06-2010, 04:15 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
I always hear that but never understood the rationale. Why cut someone if they want to serve on a jury? Why do lawyers automatically assume some kind of agenda when a person wants to do a duty that most people would be annoyed by?

I think dragging people who don't want to do it makes less sense. They're less likely to take their job seriously, probably less qualified to make an informed decision, and have no more tendencies to have an agenda than people who want to be a on a jury
You don't want to drag anyone on the jury who really, really doesn't want to serve either, because they may take it out on your side. Mostly you want people like RadicalPi - folks who would rather be doing something else, but understand the importance of jury duty and will do it anyway.

Why would you cut those eager to serve? Dewey Finn got it - you've got to question the motive of anyone who wants to be on a jury. It may well be that they're simply interested in the process and genuinely want to do a civic duty, but the flipside is that the guy may be a wingnut with an agenda - he wants to stick it to the man, he wants to hammer some schnook in retaliation for something, he may get a charge out of being in power over the lives of others, etc. It's not that you assume that he's the wingnut rather than the civic minded citizen, it's that you don't know which one he is because you've never met him, so you cut him out of caution.

Selecting a jury is arguably more of a subtractive process than an additive one - you want to identify good jurors, but equally or more so you want to identify bad ones. You'll put some good ones on, but those are the most likely to get cut by the other side, so what you're left with are mostly the ones neither side particualrly wants or doesn't want, who don't stand out either way particularly. It's a mistake to think that these 40 or 50 strangers are all right thinking individuals like you are, and who will clearly see the rightness of you case. I like to think of it, oddly enough, as sort of like a message board. Just like most message boards, there are people whose opinions you mostly agree with, quite a few you find unobjectionable, some whose opinions are pretty mudane except for one hot button topic best avoided, a few whose opinions you strongly disagree with, and one or two whackjobs. It's crucial to figure out who's who, and who has the potential to sink your case.

I don't want to give the impression that wanting to be on a jury is in all cases an absolute bar - if someone answered the question "who wants to be on this jury?" with "I wouldn't mind, I've never done it before and it sounds interesting," he probably won't get cut based on that alone. However, if he raised his hand unbidden and said "excuse me, may I say something? I really, really, want to be on a jury, especially on a jury in a case like this. I feel like I can really help all of you out here, so make sure you put me on the jury, okay?"...would you want to roll the dice with that guy?

Last edited by pravnik; 08-06-2010 at 04:19 PM..
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  #27  
Old 08-06-2010, 04:26 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Why is volunteering a bad thing? It's not like you are volunteering for a particular trial. I can see why that would be suspicious. But just volunteering to be tasked to any available trial?
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  #28  
Old 08-06-2010, 05:07 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Why is volunteering a bad thing? It's not like you are volunteering for a particular trial. I can see why that would be suspicious. But just volunteering to be tasked to any available trial?
It's not at all bad (I once sort of wanted to be on a jury myself until I actually served), it's just different from how most people view jury duty, so a lawyer trying a case might wonder why the person wanted to serve.
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  #29  
Old 08-06-2010, 05:24 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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I don't want to give the impression that wanting to be on a jury is in all cases an absolute bar - if someone answered the question "who wants to be on this jury?" with "I wouldn't mind, I've never done it before and it sounds interesting," he probably won't get cut based on that alone. However, if he raised his hand unbidden and said "excuse me, may I say something? I really, really, want to be on a jury, especially on a jury in a case like this. I feel like I can really help all of you out here, so make sure you put me on the jury, okay?"...would you want to roll the dice with that guy?
I guess I may never serve on a jury because that's exactly how I feel

I'm in my early 30's, never been on a jury, got served 3 or 4 times. The closest I've ever been to a jury was when I was 18 and got called for the first time. I made it all the way inside the courtroom, got to sit in the jury box, but the every next move was the lawyer dismissing me.

I really really really want to be on a jury. I want to argue with people over the merits of the law. I think I can be impartial, as impartial as anyone can be who follows politics. Sure, one of my first questions to this form was about jury nullification and I think it should be taught to everyone, but so what? If a case didn't have any big consequence, I could totally see myself just using cold hard facts

But I'm human. Don't think that just because you're a lawyer or a judge that you can bully me into a position that I think is wrong. I know about the 3 branches of government, I know about checks and balances. When one branch gets things wrong, like an anti-pot law, or an anti-assisted suicide law, it's my duty to correct that

So can I be on your jury??? Roll the dice! After all, it's just 50/50 that I'll be on your side. Might as well go with the devil you know than the devil you don't, right? Right???
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:34 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Usually I would cut both devils and go with the bored housewife, but your conviction and strong sense of both duty and justice has convinced me, despite my overwhelming instinct to cut you faster than Jack the Ripper could cut a Whitechapel working girl. What the hell, if you ever end up on my panel, you're on. Remember, if you do get cut, the other guy did it, so write him a series of strongly worded letters.

Last edited by pravnik; 08-06-2010 at 05:35 PM..
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  #31  
Old 08-06-2010, 05:41 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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That reminds me. I have jury duty this month! If only I could remember when...

I don't suppose they call and remind you just before, do they?

Last edited by Khadaji; 08-06-2010 at 05:41 PM..
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  #32  
Old 08-06-2010, 05:58 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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The best way to get out of jury duty is to want to be on one! I've always wanted to be on a jury. At one of my previous jobs, the employee agreement said that you would be paid for however long you were on a jury. When next called for jury duty, they asked for volunteers for an extra-long trial (might take six months) - I jumped up and volunteered! Then I found out that the dates were for a time when I already had plane tickets to go see my parents in Switzerland. They told me I could be excused and I went home. Didn't end up on a jury that time.

Next time I was called, I was in a room with a big group of people. They called up 12 people (plus two alternates), and the attorneys and judge went through their rigmarole of tossing people off the jury. By the time there were done, there was only person left in the room who hadn't been considered - that was me!

I haven't been called for the past 10 or 15 years. Still never made it on a jury.
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  #33  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:29 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Why is volunteering a bad thing? It's not like you are volunteering for a particular trial. I can see why that would be suspicious. But just volunteering to be tasked to any available trial?
"These damn juries let criminals off on technicalities! I'll get on a jury and keep 'em from letting crooks lose to prey on our society."

"These damn juries are full of whitey's, and they always side against any minority people. I'll get on a jury and make sure the brothers get a fair chance."

"These damn juries are full of men, who take the word of any bully over the poor abused woman. I'll get on a jury, and make sure those men pay for their brutality."

"These damn juries are full of old women, who believe any girl who flutters her eyelids and says 'oh, that big man forced me' and send some poor guy away as a rapist. I;ll get on a jury and make sure a man has a fair shot."

The likelihood is that anyone who volunteers for jury duty has some motive like that. Not all, but most, so the system doesn't take chances on them. While any of them might be somewhat accurate feelings, they all betray a tendency to pre-judge a situation based on personal feelings, rather than ONLY on the evidence presented. And that is prejudice, which the legal system wants to avoid.
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  #34  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:42 PM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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I've only served on a jury once, which was a grandma-aged drug dealer in San Diego who was dealing meth that was pretty interesting.

I also made it into the jury box for a very lame trespassing/squatting case involving an old man living in a broken down RV sitting on a vacant lot that the previous owner didn't have a problem with (scared away other questionable people from the lot), but the new owner did. Except the old man didn't have the means to move the RV at that point. Fortunately the lawyers asked if anyone had a problem with the case and I volunteered that while I didn't have all the details, I was fairly sure this was a waste of the court's time and I got dismissed.

I get called like clockwork every two years, so I don't know how the rest of you are getting called so infrequently...
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Old 08-06-2010, 06:59 PM
Son of a Rich Son of a Rich is offline
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You can't volunteer for jury duty, and a few moments thought will show why. They don't want sometimes influential or powerful defendants to have an opportunity to have a jury made up of peole who are well-disposed to them/under an obligation to them/afraid of them.
That might hold true if one could pick the trial they were on, but AFAIK, jurists are chosen from a pool, and when you're called for jury duty you have no idea of what particular trial they'll want you for.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:37 PM
be bright be bright is offline
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This brings to mind the gag in 30 Rock where Liz Lemon dresses up like Princess Leia to get dismissed from jury duty. Do people ever actually present themselves as weirdos to get dismissed?

I've never been called (and won't be any time soon) because I haven't registered to vote in my state--California--yet, hah. And I think they only choose from people who are registered to vote, right?

Last edited by be bright; 08-06-2010 at 09:39 PM..
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  #37  
Old 08-06-2010, 09:50 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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No, that's not right. I know at least one person who received a summons despite not being a US citizen, although the person had a driver's license.
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:57 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Why is volunteering a bad thing? It's not like you are volunteering for a particular trial. I can see why that would be suspicious. But just volunteering to be tasked to any available trial?
It's not at all bad (I once sort of wanted to be on a jury myself until I actually served), it's just different from how most people view jury duty, so a lawyer trying a case might wonder why the person wanted to serve.
Indeed. I can just imagine a jury stocked with some sort of weirdo jury fetishists.
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  #39  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:02 AM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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I think dragging people who don't want to do it makes less sense. They're less likely to take their job seriously, probably less qualified to make an informed decision, and have no more tendencies to have an agenda than people who want to be a on a jury
(Warning: Anecdote) I have been on a jury a number of times, and in my experience, this doesn't really hold. The general reaction seems to be "I don't want to be here, there a hundred things I'd rather be doing, but people's fates are at stake, and thus I have no real choice to weigh the evidence as best I can."

This was true even for me, and the other jurors, in the absolutely mind-numbing trademark infringement case I served on.

Also, Superhal, I get called for jury duty about once every ten months or so, on average. If you are in the greater Santa Barbara area, I could just give you my summons the next time I get called. I'm pretty sure that's not technically legal, but I don't recall anyone ever asking for ID.
I wish the last jury I had been on was like that. A good half of them just wanted to take a vote and go home within 20 minutes of being sent for deliberation. That really pissed me off.
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  #40  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:47 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally Posted by dtilque View Post

Most (all?) places, you just have to register to vote. Some places expand this to add everyone with a driver's license.
In California it took about 7 years - but after I got selected I get a summons every year. One judge told us that those who report go to the top of the list in a sense. I don't know if that is true, but it was a judge.
Well, he was wrong (as Judges frequently are). Or at least, he would be wrong here in Minnesota. California might be different.

Having previously worked at county data processing on the computer systems that do jury selection & summonsing, I know something about the procedure.
  • We use voter registration lists, drivers license lists, and state Id (non-driver) lists as sources to select jurors. They were considering adding income tax & property tax returns to expand the pool; I don't know if that was implemented.
  • The lists are match-merged, so if you are both a registered voter & licensed to drive, you are NOT twice as likely to be chosen. (But that might not work, if your name is different on those lists.)
  • The merged list is purged, removing people who have been convicted of a felony within the past 10(?) years, or who are still on parole/probation. Also removed are people who have actually shown up for jury duty within the past 3(?) years -- just showing up gets you off the list for 3 years, even if you are never actually selected to serve on a jury. We also had lists of professions that we eliminated, because they were almost always challenged and didn't end up serving on a jury. Examples were lawyers, elected officials, clergy, etc.
  • The selections are random, from that merged list. So the chance of being selected is the same whether you came from the voter list, drivers license list, etc.
  • While the selection is random, we had some overall checks to ensure that random chance didn't leave us with get a jury pool too similar. For example, by age (under-30, 30-65, 65+), or by home location (urban, suburban, rural) -- we didn't want more than 2/3rds of the selected juror pool from just one of those groups. Same for male-female -- we didn't want a pool with more than 2/3rds the same gender. If it was, we held some of those for next week's selection, and had the computer randomly select some more.

    Note that this was just our pool of summonsed jurors. The ending pool was often skewed because of excused jurors; for example, young people were often excused because of college classes, middle-aged people excused because of work hardship, thus leaving a higher proportion of older, retired people in the jury pool.

----------------
About the seriousness of not showing up when summonsed -- that depends on the county Court. Ours took it quite seriously.

The people in the jury office were both reasonable, and quite persistent. So, for example, if you called them and said "I got this summons, but I'm a student taking classes -- I need to be excused" they would respond "Oh sure, we can reschedule that -- when is spring break at your school?". Quite reasonable about postponing it to meet your schedule, but very persistent that you must eventually report for jury duty. Same with claiming that you were too busy at work -- they would just ask when would there be a slow time at work, we can reschedule you for then.

As for just not showing up, they would recall you for the next week, and the week after that, with increasingly more emphatic letters. They would not actually send a deputy out to arrest you, but their policy was on the 3rd strike (3rd time not showing up when summonsed -- 2nd time if they had rescheduled it for you) they would have the court issue an arrest warrant for you. The sheriff's department seldom ever had time to actually serve those, but it went onto your record. So if you were ever pulled over for a traffic stop, went to renew your drivers license, to replace your license plates, get a copy of your birth certificate or other government document, etc., this would pop up, and you would be hauled off to jail. As they said, eventually we will get their attention.
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  #41  
Old 08-07-2010, 01:18 AM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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I'll almost certainly be summonsed for jury duty some time between now and 30 June next year. I received a letter a couple of months ago informing me that I was on the jury roll for the 2010/11 year.
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  #42  
Old 08-07-2010, 03:00 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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I'll almost certainly be summonsed for jury duty some time between now and 30 June next year. I received a letter a couple of months ago informing me that I was on the jury roll for the 2010/11 year.
Actually, this is a situation where you CAN volunteer.

If there's a certain time during that year that is most convenient for you, call them up and ask to be scheduled for that time. Generally, they are happy to accommodate you -- it increases the chance that you will show up.
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  #43  
Old 08-07-2010, 04:14 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Actually, now that I think about it, I did go on a summons once. We were waiting, and then they said they had enough jurors. So, they made us drive a few blocks in case they needed more jurors in another case. When they didn't, we were dismissed with a "thank you, you have served your civic duty." I haven't received any letters after that.

Maybe, if you do it once in my state, you get moved to the back of the line?
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:29 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I still don't buy the arguments for volunteering.

Since you don't know what case you're on, since a lawyer can strike you out for good reason how would you know.

The only thing I can think of is unemployment. Right now we have a lot of it. A whole bunch of people would volunteer to get on a jury in hopes of getting paid. After all I am underemployed, I am not doing anything anyway.

If I volunteer, may a lot of people would do so. You'd get a disproportionate amount of unemployed people serving and that could "look funny." Suppose more blacks than whites are unemployed in your area. The black people volunteer, then you as a lawyer exclude too many, you look like a racist, even though you're not.

I am fully aware that is a weak argument, but I am just trying to look for a reason.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:47 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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If you're employed do you get adequate compensation in the US for the time off work? Here in the UK the maximum allowed is far less than most people would actually earn and if it turns out to be a long trial you could stand to lose a bundle.

On the other hand it's pretty easy to get excused. When my partner was selected we wrote to say that given our commitments any time off work could push us into debt (which was certainly true). She was excused duty with no fuss at all.

Last edited by aldiboronti; 08-07-2010 at 05:48 AM..
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  #46  
Old 08-07-2010, 06:27 AM
asterion asterion is offline
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If you're employed do you get adequate compensation in the US for the time off work? Here in the UK the maximum allowed is far less than most people would actually earn and if it turns out to be a long trial you could stand to lose a bundle.
Not really, no. As I got paid time off from my employer for jury duty, I didn't get anything from the state. Had I received the jury fee (New York State), it would have been $40 a day. For comparison, minimum wage in the United States is $58 a day. My personal daily wage is something like $177 a day (rough translation from a salaried position to an hourly wage). But your employer does not have to give you paid time off for jury duty, so you indeed could lose a bundle.
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  #47  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:09 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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I would imagine that mentioning the words "jury nullification" would get you excused from jury duty the moment the DA heard about it.
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  #48  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:26 AM
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
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Large pools

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Every jury system I have seen employs a random method of selection. Any other method is subject to challenge. They go to great lengths to assure this randomness. In my big city they use a pre-screening questionnaire sent out in groups. That group is followed through the process until those who qualify are called. Each stage of the process is handled uniformly across the group. Allowing people to routinely select them selves would violate the random theme.
Is this pre-screening to be in the pool or for a particular case? Besides obvious stuff like excluding non-citizens with licenses, most of the questions I've gotten are more or less case related - or general stuff like being related to a cop. They've also really cracked down on being excused for hardship involving work - you need a note from your manager now.
In my venue the court randomly selects names from the driver's license list and sends questionnaires to pools of several hundred at a time, perhaps 600 or so. Every procedure from that point is handled uniformly for all 600. Of the 600, perhaps 300 will qualify because they returned the questionnaire and were not felons and so on. Then as cases come up for court, a certain number of those 300 are notified and called to jury duty for a week or two. The court now uses a phone system to allow potential jurors to know the day ahead if they are needed the following day. Jurors for each case are then selected from among those in court using voir dire.
The dilemma is that so many people do not even return the questionnaire. The questionnaire is not a summons. To get a response from those non-responders would require equal random treatment in the form of a summons and show cause. The court simply does not have the resources to do this so they limp along and occasionally make a public case of those actually called who did not respond to an actual summons.
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  #49  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:36 AM
DrCube DrCube is online now
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I've never been called. I was overseas in the military the first time I registered to vote and get an absentee ballot. Maybe somehow the system has me flagged as "military/overseas" these 20 years later.
For what it's worth, the only time I was summoned to jury duty was when I was right in the middle of a 13-month tour in Iraq. So the "military/overseas" flag doesn't work too well, at least in Illinois.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:39 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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I sort of volunteered once. My father was called for jury duty the week he died. I had to go the courthouse with a copy of his death certificate to excuse him. I offered to take his place -- I was distraught and I guess in my mind I figured it was something I could do for him. They told me it didn't work that way.
I'm curious. What would they have done to him if you had just ignored the notice?
I believe that, unless they had first cross-checked his Social Security number against some database and discovered his death, they would have issued a warrant against him for contempt. In attempting to serve the warrant, they would either have found no one home, and presumably a neighbor would tell him that he had died, or found me home, in which case I would have shown them a copy of the death certificate.

However, as I was the executor of his estate, I believed it was my responsibility to answer the jury summons on his behalf, the same way it was my responsibility to settle his debts, and if I had not done so, I also might have been in contempt. I don't think any charges would have been pursued against me. Someone here may know that better than I do.

ETA: As he was older than 65 and in poor health, he could have gotten an automatic excuse anyway. I have never been called for jury duty.

Last edited by Sigmagirl; 08-07-2010 at 11:40 AM..
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