Jury duty, 7 days then phfffft.

A few months ago I received a notice for jury duty at one of the two superior courthouses in my county. I showed up promptly last Monday, June 19th at 8:00 am along with about 200 others. Listened to a judge, watched a video then the waiting game began. A bit after 9 I was one of 50 selected to go into a jury pool for a case. We were all herded into a courtroom and through a process of elimination, 14 of us were chosen. We received some information about the case and were told to be back on Tuesday for the start of the trial. We spent 3 days that week listening to testimony concerning the case then had Friday off. We all returned this past Monday and the case continued until this morning. Both attorneys gave final statements, the judge read the jury instructions then he had to select the two alternates that would be dismissed. Jurors number 3 and 11 were chosen. I was juror #3. The two of us were led out of the court to the jury room to collect our stuff then escorted out of the courtroom.

Thats it. I gave up 7 days (well not really, my employer is paying me while I’m gone) to do my duty then poof, I’m done. There is a very slim chance I could be called back if one on the other jurors can finish before a verdict is reached. The bailiff did take my phone number and I will be called and told of the verdict when it is given. I also kept a notebook and wrote down the days proceedings, I still haven’t decided what I am going to do with this. It would make for a long and boring post here. Per the judges orders, I still can’t talk about the case till a verdict is reached, it is driving my wife crazy because I can’t talk about what happened.

Based on the testimony and without the deliberations, I would have found the defendant guilty on all 3 counts in which he was charged.

[Steven Wright] I wanted to be on the jury in the inferior court, but they told me I wasn’t good enough. [/Steven Wright]

  1. Jury Duty
  2. ???
  3. phfffft!

IMHO you got to do the interesting part. The one trial I’ve been on, I found the testimony very interesting (it was a little too dry to be called fun), but the jury debate I found very stressfull. About half the people had irrevocably made up their minds and were not amenable to reason, which pissed me off even if I agreed with their verdict. The others had a reasoned debate, which was interesting, but then there were two holdouts. The holdouts had good and valid reasons for their views, but unfortunately they were also the two lower-class Spanish-speaking members of the jury, which resulted in some really unappealing scenes of rich white yuppies trying to browbeat the cleaning ladies into a guilty verdict. Not cool. Fortunately, we were all able to come to an agreement based on the merits of the case, but it took some time and finess (and a few STFU).


I was on a trial jury in January, and the alternate sat outside the jury room reading while we were deliberating, so at least you got to go home. (In our case, we deliberated for less than four hours over two days, so she didn’t have to wait long.)

Odd. I was just on a jury, and the alternates were identified before the trial began. They got to go home when we started to deliberate, which only took 2 1/2 hours, and was not at all stressful. Everyone on the jury was attentive and cooperative, and I, as foreman, drew up a process for things. The first vote was 11 - 1 for conviction, and it took only about 10 minutes to bring the holdout around. Not being able to deliberate would be like kissing your sister, I think.

The trial itself was inefficient. The judge started at 1:30, and it took 3 days to get the jurors seated.

Happened to me the last time I sat on a jury (I’ve sat on three so far, I think they’ve got my number) I sat through an entire day of testimony then I was the alternate. They told me I could stick around for the verdict but I chose not to.

My previous experience with jury duty has been a bit exasperating at times. A “jury of your peers” doesn’t necessarily mean they can understand the law as it is explained to them or see past the inconsequential details. It can be frustrating IMO but mostly I found it interesting.

I still wonder about the last one, he was obviously guilty and practically admitted as much in his testimony. Charged with three different things and we had options of how we could find on each of the charges. Really the story was just surreal…crack deal gone bad (possibly sex for drugs) possible car jacking, extended police chase (partly in reverse!) ending in the car hitting a pole. Wild. Like something you’d see on cops.

That’s exactly what happened to me last month. I was the last juror chosen, alternate #2, and they let both alternates go at the end of the one-day case. I lost the e-mail address I had gotten from one of the jurors who stayed through deliberations, so I didn’t find out what the verdict was, although I think I know how it went. I guess I could have stayed around to find out, but the one defense lawyer was such a cheesy grandstander, and by that time I really didn’t want to look at him anymore.

I think I would have stuck around if the trial had lasted 7 days, though, or if the case had been something more interesting than a DUI.

I was informed this morning that the trial ended with a hung jury. I just talked to one of the jurors, he said 2 voted not guilty and the rest guilty. He says is was an aggravating experience, they could do nothing to change the minds of the two that voted not guilty. He said by this morning, some would not even talk to each other, everyone seemed to get along great till the deliberations started.

Now the gag order has been lifted to and I was able to do some investigating of my own. The case involved a drive by shooting in which two people were hit with one bullet. The primary victim knew the shooter, the other victim did not. Though not brought up at trial, it appears to have stemmed from a drug deal gone bad. The defendant had previously spent 6 years in prison for cocaine possession. Part of the trial also involved the defendant mother’s car which was totalled a few weeks after the shooting. The reason for the accident was never mentioned but the defendant has been in jail since last October and is charged with felony vehicular assault, assault in the first degree and DUI.

I don’t know if my perception has been skewed by television or the OJ Simpson trial, but neither attorney in this case did a very good job. The prosecution did what she could with what she had but there was a lot missing. The lawyer for the defendant did a poor job trying to prove his innocence but the prosecuton left enough holes to make her job a bit easier. The police investigation was haphazard, the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing. It was definitely a learning experience and I will look forward if/when I get called again.