Is it fair to duck jury duty if you know you could never send anyone to jail?

I’m such a soft touch for extenuating circumstances that I’d freak if I had to make a decision based on inference or motive or the testimony of an accomplice.
I’d even be too non-commital for a money award.

Is it fair: yes, it is always fair to not participate in a racist and fundamentally unfair system. <ducks, as conservatives begin throwing things>

Is it practical: No, you’d still have to show up for voir dire and be eliminated (the judge would probably accept removal for cause).

Just tell them that when they question the jurors- if the Prosecuting Attorney can find better jury candidates in the pool, they will try to have you removed (If I was the Prosecuting Atty, I know I would try to pass you over if you said that)…

You can’t be permanently disqualified jury duty service just because of your tendency to acquit. You’ll just get thrown off all the panels.

My advice: Bring a good book to read while you’re waiting around in the jury assembly room.

In California, there aren’t too many reasons you can get yourself permanently excused from jury duty.

I’ve managed to get myself kicked off a jury because I am the ex-wife of a convicted felon. During voir dire (the part where both sides ask a bunch of questions to see who’s most likely to vote in their favor), I said that because of my status (enough to get me kicked off in itself), I was likely to be prejudiced against the police. I was sent home.

To answer the OP, yes, I do think that anyone who has doubts about their ability to convict has an obligation to step forward and say so.


You’re really not being asked to send someone to jail. You’re only being asked if the prosectution has proven it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt. What happens after that is not your concern. (lots of people are given suspended sentences, probation, time served and what-not)

Are you saying you are not capable of making a decision based on the facts presented to you? Or are saying you would always favor a defendent’s version? Make sure you say that in a loud, clear voice when the judge asks.

In California, you’ll still have to serve 10 days in the jury pool. You just won’t get on a case.

To quote John Adams “it’s your duty, dammit!”.

It may be “duty”, but I certainly don’t like the idea of a possible murderer or drunk driver who’s essetially a danger to society running loose just because one person doesn’t liek the nasty idea of helping in his conviction.

Nobody likes getting their hands dirty, do they?

Quite surprisingly, no one has pointed out (yet) that you don’t always serve on a jury hearing a criminal case; you might well serve on a jury hearing a civil case, where your feelings about incarceration are even more irrelevant than they are as a fact-finder in a criminal case.

Go. Serve. Be excused if they decide to excuse you. Don’t shirk a duty that provides YOU with an amazing protection if you ever need the use of a jury yourself.

Because of my ex-husband, and my own (VERY) negative experiences with law enforcement and the justice system, I can make the very persuasive argument that I would view the police’s actions with more than a healthy dose of skepticism, most likely to the point where I might favor the defendant.

I’m not opposed to jury duty in principle. The case I was excused from was a case I would have loved to hear, just for the entertainment value alone. (It involved a lawyer being busted for possession of a sizable amount of marijuana which he had allegedly taken as his fee. I should note, FTR, that the original trial ended in a mistrial because of the police’s actions.) And I want to note that I would serve on a civil jury in a heartbeat.


Oh, please. That is the biggest load of… wait, I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, let me tone it down a bit.

I am an ardent believer in jury nullification, and in fact I consider it my duty to forgive people for their sins.

Now if only they’d bother to call me for jury duty. I’m rarin’ to pardon.

“Jury nullification” refers to the ability of a jury to enter a verdict that is absolutely contrary to the law and facts and presented to them. It means the refusal of a jury to convict someone they know is guilty. A jury does have the ability to enter a null verdict, since you cannot make a jury convict someone if they don’t want to, but it flies in the face of their duty to the court and to society. That duty is to decide the facts of the case, apply the law as given to them by the judge, and reach a fair verdict – not to decide for reasons other than the facts and the law, that they will refuse to do so.

I am amazed that anyone would describe themselves as an “ardent believer” in jury nullification. It amounts to saying “I am an ardent believer in violating my duty as a juror and in ignoring the facts of a case as well as the law in order to reach some result that I personally think is right but that is without reasonable factual or legal basis.” If I strain, I guess I can see how a person might favor a null verdict in one particular case – if the facts and law were both very, very bad – but I can’t see how anyone could possibly be generally in favor having people ignore both the law and the facts to reach some decision they think is “right.” If you ignore the law and the facts, how can you possibly decide which decision is “right?”

If a person considers it his duty to “forgive people their sins,” then I suggest that person look at the clergy as a possible line of work. The duty of a juror does not include: deciding whether or not someone has “sinned;” "deciding whether or not that person deserves “forgiveness;” or choosing to grant or withhold societal forgiveness. Rather, the duty of a juror in a criminal case is to decide whether or not a person did in fact commit the crime he or she is accused of commiting. The question of severity of punishment and possible forgiveness comes after the determination of whether the person did in fact do the act complained of – both at law and in religion. If they didn’t do it, then there’s nothing to forgive.

It amazes me that a person would cheerfully announce himself “rarin’ to pardon” without regard to the severity of the crime that might have been done, the damage to the victim or victims, or the justice of punishing the perpetrator. Unless you think that every crime, no matter how atrocious, should automatically be “forgiven” and the criminal set free. In that case, you have no business being on a jury.

Rergarding the OP, as long as you show up when directed and honestly answer the questions put to you, you are not “ducking” jury duty; you are in fact doing your civic duty to the best of your ability. The fact that nobody would ever in a million years actually put you on a jury because of your unwillingness to convict is not your problem.
Now if only they’d bother to call me for jury duty. I’m rarin’ to pardon.

Just for a giggle…

Dilbert does Jury Duty.

Jodi – I certaintly don’t see how anyone can call themselves a Christian and maintain that the forgiveness of sins is wrong. Your duty to God outweighs your duty to society. If you are a juror, you are an arbiter of society’s forgiveness. The punishment of sins – Justice – is properly left up to God. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! You know darned well a guilty verdict would be punishing this person.

If you do not forgive people for their sins, then yours will not be forgiven either. Do not judge others lest you be judged. You might think that these are just meaningless phrases, but to some people they actually mean what they say.

And don’t pretend that “sin” and “crime” don’t mean exactly the same thing.

Where did Jodi call herself a Christian? I mean, she might be one - I don’t know - but why assume that she is? Why assume that anyone on a jury is a Christian?

“Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s.” Jesus H. Christ.

Your duty to society is to show up for jury duty, honestly answer the questions asked of you during voir dire, and if selected for a jury, serve to the best of your ability: ie, consider the law and the facts of the case and render an honest decision regarding guilt, innocence, or liability.

If you are a juror, you are an arbiter of society’s forgiveness. The punishment of sins – Justice – is properly left up to God. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! You know darned well a guilty verdict would be punishing this person.

By this argument, no one would ever be punished for any crime, ever. Are you saying that rapists, murderers, child molesters, armed robbers, thieves would be allowed to go unpunished because jmullaney forgives them? And what about their victims? And their future victims, if they kill/rape/attack again? You would want all criminals to go free, awaiting “God’s ultimate judgement?”

Whether I “forgive” someone or not is irrelevant to jury service and the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Trials are for the purpose of determining whether or not the accused committed the crime - whether he or she did something that even requires forgiveness.

So how do you feel about civil cases? Do you automatically favor one side or the other?

Um, they don’t. Should I have been prosecuted for every time I “dishonored my father and mother” during the teen years?

I am fairly certain she claims to be one.

You are misunderstanding this passage. This is regarding whether someone who does not use money needs to pay taxes.

Well, the “I was just following orders” defense doesn’t chalk up with the Christian God.

And by your argument, no one would ever be forgiven for any sin ever.

We don’t live under mob rule. A juror represents the judgement of society. If that juror is a Christian, they are supposed to forgive people. Just because the system is flawed does not create an excuse to ignore your moral responsibilities.

It is not what I want, but what God wants.

If you forgive them with one breath, why would you want to still condemn them with the next? You aren’t making any sense.

Trials are for exacting vengeance. Don’t lie.

Propety disputes are another matter entirely.

Not all sins are illegal, but I can not think of many things which are illegal which might not be considered sins.

jmullaney, that is an absolutely false reading of my views. I do think that as a juror, forgiveness is not my business. Forgiveness is something a criminal needs to seek from his victims and his conscience (and God, if he is religious), not 'the state" or “society” or “the jury.” That doesn’t mean forgiveness is not possible, just that it is not the point of a criminal proceeding.

Your “forgiveness in advance” of all criminals puzzles me, and I ask you again:

Do you, jmullaney, think that all crimes should go unpunished by society?


Are you saying that rapists, murderers, child molesters, armed robbers, thieves would be allowed to go unpunished because jmullaney forgives them?

You did not answer my question. Is it your position that rapists, murderers, child molesters, armed robbers, and thieves should never be punished by the state?


You would want all criminals to go free, awaiting “God’s ultimate judgement?”

I’m opening a can of worms here, but how do you know?


Whether I “forgive” someone or not is irrelevant to jury service and the guilt or innocence of a defendant.

[4th grade] NO, YOU ARE NOT MAKING SENSE! [/4th grade]

I’m not saying that I forgive or don’t forgive anyone! I’m saying that as a juror, under our legal system, my “forgiveness” is irrelevant and your “forgiveness” in advance of even knowing whether they have committed a crime should preclude you from serving on juries in the USA. I hope that if you are called for jury duty you are honest about these views during voir dire.


Trials are for the purpose of determining whether or not the accused committed the crime - whether he or she did something that even requires forgiveness.

Yes, vengeance upon all the defendants who are found not guilty! Of course! :rolleyes:


So how do you feel about civil cases?

So, how do you feel about them? A big bad chemical company poisons little children, someone sues. You are on the jury - do you leave it up to God to decide whether the chemical company is liable for their actions and the children deserve compensation?

Again, the gist of your arguments is that society has no right, whatsoever, to punish, incarcerate, or in any way decide the guilt or innocence of wrongdoers - that should all be left up to God. Rape, kill, injure, abuse, molest - jmullaney forgives you, so you should be free to continue until judgement day.

Is that what you are saying? Please clarify.


I never said that the forgiveness of sins is wrong. But then, unlike you, who appear to consider yourself something along the lines of the Second Coming, I do not consider myself to have the ability to forgive sin. A sin is an offense against divine law, and IMO is only “forgivable” by God Himself. (This, BTW, is one of the reasons I could never be a Catholic – I do not believe absolution can be granted by a priest or any other person on earth.) It is something different than a crime, which is an offense against secular law. As magdalene points out, the American justice system rightly confines itself to the question of whether an action is criminal – against society’s law – and not whether an action is sinful – against God’s law. Can an action be both criminal and sinful? Sure. But the justice system only worries about the criminal part.

My duty to God is not inconsistent with my duty to society. It certainly is not inconsistent with fairly and impartially hearing the facts of a case before rendering a decision under the secular law.

Wrong. As a juror in a criminal trial, I am a fact-finder concerned with determining whether or not a person has commited a particular crime. I can neither produce nor obstruct forgiveness by the victim or by society. As society forgiven O.J. Simpson? He was acquitted.

Justice with a capital “J” – defined by you as the punishment of sin – is properly left to God, but justice with a small “j” – the punishment of crime – is properly left to society.

Are you seriously arguing that no crime, no matter how henious, should ever be punished by society? Because, not to mince words, that is ridiculous.

No; a guilty verdict will result in punishment, which will be imposed by the judge – that’s what sentencing is. But even if we can say that finding a person guilty equates to punishing him or her (and certainly I would argue that it ought to), so what? They violated the law; they ought to be punished. That’s the whole point of the system.

I can forgive people their actions, but I can’t forgive their sins. And, despite your apparent belief to the contrary, neither can you. In any event, punishment and forgiveness are not inconsistent; I am fully capable of personally forgiving the girl who steals my purse while simultaneoulsy thinking that she ought to be punished for it.

So not only should there be no punishment, there should be no judging – no legal accountability at all? Sounds like a big ol’ bad idea to me.

That there should be no justice system, no accountability, and no punishment for secular wrongs? You are the first person I have ever meant in my entire life – religious or secular, conservative or liberal – who thinks this is what these passages mean.

I don’t have to “pretend” that; I believe it and I have said it. For reasons given above, sin and crime are NOT the same things. If you doubt this, look them up in whatever dictionary you have handy.

By the way, this bugs the crap out of me:

You do not have any more basis for knowing what God wants than any of the rest of us, and no more reason to believe He tells “the truth” exclusively to you. And since you are yourself an admitted sinner who does not follow the laws of God as you understand them nor, apparently, even seriously try to anymore, it takes balls of solid brass for you to tell anyone what God wants. God wants you to be a little less arrogant and a little less literal. He told me so Himself.

First: it is perfectly legal for you to state that you have a bias for or against particular people, crimes, etc, as long as it is the truth, in fact if you are required to answer questions of this sort if asked. You can’t get out of Jury Duty that way, but you will be sent back to the jury pool where you can read or do crossword puzzles in peace. But it is perjury to claim a bias that you do not really have simply to be excused from a panel.

But then: Jumllaney. Uh-oh. You must be off your meds again. I really don’t get you. In most threads you seem perfectly sane. Then something like this comes along, and you’re in JDT territory.

You are saying that as a society, we have no right to police protection? You would refuse to convict a [insert bad-deed]er because you believe YHWH commanded you to? A christian juror, because they are supposed to forgive people, must therefore acquit all defendants? And what about this?:

Umm, no they are not. They are about protecting society from bad actions. The purpose is to prevent rape, murder, robbery, etc. Many times we decide that the only way to do that is to lock people up so that they cannot commit the crimes. But the purpose is to protect ourselves, rehabilitation, punishment and vengence are secondary.

And I can think of lots of things that are not sins but are illegal. Crossing the street in the middle. Not a sin, but against the law. Not paying taxes, again not a sin but illegal. Refusing military service. Smoking pot. Driving without a driver’s license. Practicing law without a law degree. Selling cookies that were made in a non-govt-approved kitchen. Helping undocumented aliens get jobs.

So we have easily demonstrated that many things that are sins are not against the law, and many things that are against the law are not sins. So, would you be able to convict someone for commiting a crime that was NOT a sin? Say, if someone was busted for pot. Since they haven’t commited a sin, by your logic there would be no need to forgive them so you could send them to the slammer with an easy conscience.

Bah. If that’s the kind of crap religion comes up with, all I can say is thank God I’m an atheist.

Um, folks, when someone is trolling with absurd viewpoints to see you get all wound up, you really shouldn’t take the bait like that. Jodi at least knows better.