Yes. Don’t kid yourself that jury nullification will only favor scrappy underdogs with truth and justice on their sides but not the law.
I’ve been summoned twice. First time I didn’t have to appear. Second time I got as far as voir dire. One of the questions I had to answer beforehand was regarding restraining orders and if I had ever taken one out on anyone. I had, on my ex-husband when I filed for divorce. Turns out the case I was there for was a man accused of violating a restraining order his ex-wife took out when she filed for divorce. The DA asked to dismiss me so fast.
Not the defense lawyer? I would’ve thought the DA would want you on that jury.
Yeah, I pointed that out in post 76, citing all-white juries not convicting a white murderer when the circumstances were right.
I received a jury duty notice recently. Will have to appear on March 15. Looking forward to it actually, as I think it will be an interesting experience. I was expecting it though, as last year I received a questionnaire to fill out for general information, and it said I might be called within the next 12 months. Then a few weeks ago, I received a follow-up questionnaire basically asking if there was any reason I could not serve from March 15. My answers made it clear I could serve, so then I received an unofficial notice saying to expect an official summons 2-3 weeks before March 15 and to expect to serve 5-12 business days if placed on a jury.
My only other experience was shortly after graduating from university in West Texas. At that time, I was not really interested. I was too busy being broke and scrambling for money. So I showed up looking like the grungy college student I had been, but no longer being a student and not having a job I truthfully put down that I was “Unemployed.” The jury I was up for was a civil case, a middle-aged couple suing a contractor for screwing up their home renovation. I was dismissed immediately. For some reason, they apparently did not want some scruffy-looking jobless punk on their jury.
While living in Bangkok, I maintained my voting eligibility in Texas, and once I did get another jury summons. It showed up at my father’s house back when he was still alive. He just called and told them I could not make it.
I received my third jury summons for December last year but was able to get it postponed because we were short staffed at the hospital. I have to do it starting March 1st and am not looking forward to it. Last time I served, I was called in four times and seated on a jury each time. One of the trials was a sexual abuse case and left me disturbed for weeks afterwards. It was horrible. I actually was seated on a second abuse case but the prosecutor muffed the opening statement somehow and a mistrial was declared much to my relief.
Yeah - my wife got called for March. I think it - um - problematic, to call unvaccinated folk.
Here in Hudson County, NJ, when you received a summons, you are assigned a group number and for two days, you check in ahead of time to see if your number has to show up the next day. After two days, if you number isn’t called, you have fulfilled your obligation.
If your number is called, you go to the courthouse the next two days and spend the day going in batches in front of the judge and attorneys to see if you are selected for a case. At any point during those two days, they might fill up all the pending cases for your group and tell everyone not to come in.
The first time, my group number never had to go in. The second time, I had to go on, but wasn’t selected and at the end of the first day they told us we had fulfilled out obligation.
I have only been called for jury duty once, and that was several years ago. I live in southeastern PA, and I compared my experience to some friends who live in Baltimore. It turns out that the ways that PA (or at least my county) and Baltimore do things are significantly different.
In Baltimore, you call a number in the morning and see if you need to go in that day.
In PA, you serve for a week. You go to the county courthouse and sit in a big room with all of the other potential jurors. You are assigned a number. When they need a jury, the computer picks a bunch of numbers at random. If your number comes up, you go to another room with about 30 other people and the lawyers whittle it down to 12. If you aren’t one of the 12, you go back to the big room. If your case ends before the week is up, you go back to the big room. You could theoretically serve on multiple cases each day for all five days (not likely), or you could end up not getting picked for any cases and just sit there in the big room for the entire week. It’s all random as to whether or not you get picked.
There were a few people who served on two cases during the week that I was there. I don’t think anyone served on three. There were also quite a few that did not serve on any cases.
I sat in the big room for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They played some PG type family-friendly movies for us. It was all very boring. Thursday I got picked for a case. We did the jury selection in the morning, and heard the case in the afternoon. The guy was charged with drug possession since he had a crack pipe on the table in front of him when the police busted in, and when they raided his apartment upstairs they found a gun, so they charged him with possession of a firearm by someone who is not permitted to own a firearm (that usually means a convicted felon). We didn’t deliberate for long. The crack pipe was obviously his, and there were so many different drug dealers and druggies going in and out of the other apartment that there was no way to have any confidence at all that the gun belonged to him. So after a short deliberation, we found him guilty on the drugs and not guilty on the gun. The prosecutor told us afterwards that the case probably should have just been plead out since it was so straightforward but the guy didn’t want to plea.
We ended right around 5pm, and since there weren’t many cases scheduled for Friday and plenty of people in the big room, the judge let us have Friday off and we didn’t have to go back.
For a bunch of drug dealers, it was the wimpiest piece of crap gun you could imagine. Picture the worst $20 pawn shop type of gun you can think of. We all had a good laugh over that.
Anyway, I don’t know how they are doing things now in the time of Covid, but that was how they were doing things here a few years ago.
Well, it looks like I may not have jury duty after all. As you may recall, I have been working in a hospital for two years now. My manager this week told me there is absolutely no one to cover for me, so she’s trying to get me out of it. Faxed a letter to the Jury Pool Office. We’ll see what happens. I received the official summons today, mailed the same day the letter was faxed. I’ll call them next week and see.
Too bad it was not for a couple weeks later, when I have a scheduled two weeks off. We can’t travel at this time, so I would have been happy to have done it then.
Our local countywide trial court has announced that they’ll resume jury trials on April 26, but I think that’s still 'waaaaay too soon, given the relatively low vaccination rates and still-high infection rates around here.
As a lawyer, I’m not eligible to serve on a jury in my province.
The same for me, but I did serve on a jury prior to becoming a lawyer.
What really made that experience interesting was that it was a coroner’s jury. Such juries do not determine “guilty/not guilty” verdicts; rather, we had to listen to evidence from medical professionals, and others, about a particularly horrific death, and make recommendations so that in the future, such incidents didn’t happen again.
Interesting. Lawyers can serve here (Washington State) and judges too. I’ve had lawyers on my juries (rarely).
Our calendars are a mess. Each county is doing it differently. Some have gone to remote jury selection and trials with masks and social distancing. Some are all remote. Some have delayed all jury trials until at least April.
I got a jury notice a few weeks ago. Besides the usual questions were a couple of check boxes:
- Do you have a computer with a camera?
- Would you be willing to serve on a remote trial?
I answered Yes to both. Alas, when I called the number on the night before, my group was excused.
I’m watching this thread because I am interested in what the process is now.