Ya, call me crazy!
But I am intrigued by the whole legal process and I dig the idea of either helping to put bad guys away, or saviing the poor sucker unjustly accused. Plus, I’d love the time off work.
So, how can I sign up?
Ya, call me crazy!
You’ll never get selected with that attitude.
So, you’re saying that the, “damn it this is a waste of my time, I don’t want to be here” attitude is MORE desirable?
Note, that I am not all into locking someone up, or totally for letting everyone go.
Come on over here and take my place in December so I can actually have a vacation after finals are over.
The last time I did it, my group was called almost every day to come in and sit around. One time we actually went to voir dire and most of us were dismissed. Another time, a judge came in and said the parties had decided to settle things without a jury, so they sent us all home. We had to call in every evening to see if we had to go again the next day.
Are you sure you want to go through all the fun?
Find out how your jurisdiction selects prospective jurors, then make sure you’re in the pool. For example, some counties/states select from DMV lists or registered voter lists (I think). Maybe the Internet has some clues. I think it’s a learning, interesting experience to do once.
I’ll probably never get to do it. I was called the first time less than a month after I turned 18. At the time, I was 300 miles away on a summer program at a university in another state, so my folks wrote a letter and I was excused.
I didn’t get called again until last fall. At the time, I was enrolled full-time in a university, so again, I was excused.
Now, I just got my JD, and I’m studying for the bar exam. And if there’s one person lawyers DON’T want on a jury, it’s another lawyer; he’ll critique your performance, instead of the merits of the case. So now I bet I’ll never get a chance to sit on a jury. Oh well, coulda been interesting…
If you do get selected for questioning by the judge, give thoughtful, well reasoned, balanced answers. Both the defense and the prosecution are looking for some jurors who don’t seem too biased.
It also helps if you have lived in the jurisdiction a long time and might therefore be the defendent’s peer.
As Neurotik indicated, do not appear too eager to serve. You’ll get tossed.
If you have a close relative who is a lawyer or in law enforcement you may get tossed.
But most of it’s blind luck. Some people are registered to vote, registered with the DMV, or whatever constitutes the pool and never get called even once in a lifetime. You may get called, watch TV all day and get sent home because there weren’t enough cases. Your pool may get selected but your name is not selected as a juror candidate. You may get tossed. You may get selected for a jury, and as vivsalostwages indicates, the case is settled out of court. So you never can tell.
I wouldn’t mind a paid vacation without using any of my leave time. Sure, being a juror wouldn’t be much different from my job, but at least it would be a change of scenery;)
Remember, every jusridiction has different rules about how they call you and use you. And the type of jury you sit on will also influence things. I have sat on an animal cruelty case in Virginia, and a Grand Jury here in Ohio. Both were very interesting, although the case in Virginia was not much fun. I would like to do it again, especially on a Federal Grand Jury. But it probably won’t happen.
A little while ago my mother was on a jury, but she was kicked off when they found out that my step father was a security guard for NEC Electronics. She was really disappointed because she was on a good murder case or something.
Just thought I’d share…
I was always told that lawyers don’t want internal auditors on a jury - I’m not sure why. But I’ve never had a chance to test it, since I’ve never been called for jury duty.
I want to do jury duty too. I think it’d be interesting.
Not much chance for me, though. I’ve worked in counts 4 law offices in this area and I know too many lawyers. I’d get tossed the minute I said “why yes, I used to work for Plaintiff’s counsel, he’s a total crook.”
Reminds me: that first time I got called, right after I turned 18, there was a BIG murder trial about to start, concerning a fellow who, as I recall, killed three members of his own family and two cops. If I hadn’t been in another state, I might’ve been on that one…
It depends on the size of your local population. When I did the Grand Jury, the County Prosecuter was the lawyer I go to. And my uncle who is a Lieutenant on the city police has sat on juries here, for cases by the Sheriff or the State Patrol, simply because it is almost impossible to find someone that does not know someone in law enforcement or a law firm locally.
Nevermind: nice to see you have an interest in the legal system, and that you are willing to do your part.
Move to the City of St Louis, MO. You will get summoned for jury duty about once a year.
Seven or eight years ago the wife of the St Louis Chief of Police sat on a jury, and voted to acquit the defendant in a criminal case.
It is possible to volunteer for jury duty. My girlfriend (a web developer who otherwise doesn’t have too much else to do) asked them at the courthouse the last time she was called, which was a few weeks ago. Apparently all you do is show up at the courthouse and tell them you’d like to volunteer. The bonus to doing this is that it’s a way of getting it over with on your own schedule, since you won’t have to serve for a year or whatever it is in your jurisdiction afterward, just like if you didn’t volunteer.
I was on a jury once. Even though it was a murder case, I found it to be very boring. Alot of stopping and going in the back room so the lawyers and judge could talk and stuff like that. All the evidence was presented in a methodical(dull and dry) way. I think that the accused was even bored. It lasted three days and I was glad to get out. The accused might find it even more boring, he got life. But I do feel that I did my job, going to the jury pool, listening to the evidence, deciding what I thought was right, and making a hard decision that meant the accused was never going to be free no matter how long he lived.(He was seventeen at the time of the trial.)
This is apparently the case even if you don’t practice; I’ve never actively practiced, but I am bar admitted in New York, and I can’t ever get past voir dire. I’ve been called five times and sent home five times. I’m not holding my breath to ever actually serve.
My mother, on the other hand, has been empaneled for four trials in the last twelve years. She’s not been pleased; her employer made her use half of her banked vacation/personal days, and then didn’t pay her anything for the rest of the time that she was out. In the county where she lives, a juror gets $8.48 a day, plus bus vouchers. The last trial she was part of ran nearly seven weeks and she ended up having to dip into savings to pay her bills after she maxed out on vacation time.
It leads me to think that some times, it’s just not worth it.
:smack: Not Fair! I would think after the judge was told this was her 3rd time, he’d dismiss her!! Maybe I’ll just keep a low profile!