Jury Duty is Lame (rant)

When I lived in Cook County (IL) I got called every 2 years or so (only actually served on a jury one time). Then I spent 12 years living in Will County (IL) and was never summoned once.
Here in San Francisco I get summoned every 2-3 years but have yet to be seated.

I’ve always maintained that the people who always want to get out of jury duty are the ones we don’t want on juries anyway, so it works itself out.

I served on a grand jury once, which was a little different than regular jury duty. One day a week, for three months, we had to go to an office building downtown, and listen to a prosecutor and some witnesses describe a crime, then we would either indict or not. Only once did we see a target (at the grand jury level, they’re not defendants yet, they’re “targets”), who came in solely to say that he wasn’t going to testify. It was a bit of a pain to go down there every week, but fortunately my job was accommodating about it.

It was kind of an interesting experience. We heard about a lot of different crimes: a shooting at a bar which we had all seen on the news, a pretty grisly murder where two people were beaten to death with a claw hammer, and a case that was actually really interesting, where someone working for the state department of revenue (the state equivalent of the IRS) was embezzling money from taxpayers. Along the lines of “Pay me $5,000, and I’ll make your $20,000 tax bill go away.” It was fascinating, in a geeky way, to see all of the computer evidence they had put together to identify the culprit.

I’ve only ever gotten a single summons to serve on a regular jury. In that case, I called the day before, as instructed, and was told that yes, I should report to the courthouse the next day. Later that afternoon, I got a phone call from the court clerk’s office saying, you don’t need to come in tomorrow after all, they settled the case.

Whenever I get subpoenaed to the grand jury the first question I ask the secretary is “When was their first day?” The first couple days for a new jury you know they are going to ask a lot of irrelevant questions and you are going to be on the stand for a long time. By the end it’s in and out.

So true! By week 15, I was firmly in Ham Sandwich territory.

I’m still pissed at the ADA who responded to my “what is the definition of an assault weapon” with a 5+ minute reading of a HUGE list of individual weapon models. The other jurors were giving me the side eye for a while after that.

I seem to get a jury summons every 3 or 4 years and have had to report to the courthouse in maybe half those instances. We have one those antiquated “call in the night before” systems.

I served on a grand jury in the summer of 2017 and it was actually quite interesting. Some of the cases were pretty nasty: child abuse, rapes, miscellaneous assaults, and similar unpleasantness. A lot of it was boring domestic squabbles. Usually it was something cut-and-dried: somebody was caught on camera stealing from the Wal-Mart or someone was caught by a neighbor beating on their spouse in the back yard or whatever petty small-town shit bored tweakers do. One thing I remember though was a case the DA deliberately made confusing by dragging in various witnesses without introductions, talking about how so-and-so was in jail and wouldn’t be able to testify for like 2 weeks, and only after all these little random bits were dropped haphazardly in our lap did they actually explain who they wanted to charge, what the charge they were pursuing, and what the details of the alleged crime was. We were so confused that we had really no choice but to vote not to bring charges, which I’m sure was exactly what the DA planned.

I did learn that our POS county sheriff has spend trainloads of county funds over the years buying game cameras to put all over creation to, according to the local constabulary, catch drug dealers in the act. So they’ve been placed in pretty much every public park, every crossroads, Every pull-out along the local highways, and absolutely littered across the traditionally sketchy parts of town. Thousands of these cameras are installed all over the county and the sheriff’s office has a couple of officers whose sole duty is to monitor the cameras. I wasn’t too happy about that.

The worst case was a young pre-teen girl who had to testify to us about her dad raping her on the front lawn in broad daylight. After she had finished and left the room I asked the DA to give her our kudos for her bravery in testifying to us.

The worst part of the whole experience was the jury foreman who happened to be my parent’s neighbor when I was growing up and had a serious hate-on for my and my brother. He had and IQ of about 3 and his behavior closely resembled that of a mentally deficient Warner Bros. cartoon character. 20 years after enjoying his hobby of standing on the side of the road screaming at me as I drove home from school every day he failed to recognize me nor did he ever do so the 3 months we were on the jury together – despite the fact that we all knew each other’s names. How he managed to get empaneled let alone be made foreman I’ll never know.

I was empaneled for a trial jury once. There were a lot of boring aspects to it – it certainly wasn’t the drama that TV makes trials out to be. But it was interesting and I actually felt bad for the defendant. He was charged with pulling a gun on a cop who was serving him an eviction notice. We found him guilty (we came very close to finding him not guilty, which likely would’ve surprised everyone in the courtroom) and he received a sentence of 5 years in prison IIRC.

Now that I think about it I’m due for a summons before too long.

I’m 100% sure this thread has jinxed me.

OTOH, I’m not sure I want to be judged by a group of people that weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty. Just sayin’.

Bank robbers are caught 90+% of the time; I believe the stat I read was 97% but could be a bit hazy on the ones digit. I couldn’t be on the jury for a bank robbery because a jury of one’s peers would only include dumbasses; hence ruling me out. (I’m a smartass - hey…wait a second :flushed:)

I understand the sentiment, but from another POV, that’s the same sentiment the CFSG was using: everyone who is ‘smart’ cheats [on their taxes] (and in his case, everything else). It’s an absolutely ‘me first’ ideology, that on a small, private citizen scale, has minimal effect. But it is an absolute creeping cancer when applied to those with power, influence, or when it becomes the defining characteristic of society as a whole.

Yeah, this may be an old joke, but the people I’ve served on jury duty with (twice) all took it seriously and thoughtfully, and all seemed quite bright, exactly the people you’d want on a jury if you were on trial.

Jurors tend to put sincere effort into getting it right and following the court’s instructions. Even in cases I’ve lost, I can usually understand how the jury came to the decision they did. Obviously, they don’t always get it right, but they do seem to take their responsibilities very seriously.

Well, yes, contrary to the jokes people make, the people who end up on the jury are those who actually show up, do their civic duty even if it inconvenient or expensive for them, and don’t make up stuff or try to manipulate the process to [triumphantly] pass the burden onto those they feel are suckers.

I got a summons the other day and had to fill out a long form. Towards the end was a box you could check if you’re of a certain age that says “I’d rather not”. I checked it. I don’t trust my own judgement on just about anything.

I’ve never heard such things, and as a lawyer I’ve observed quite the opposite: the jurors are the VIPs of the courtroom. Everybody stands when they enter or leave the room, and the judge usually tells them to let the bailiff (or an assigned clerk) know if they need anything, like a break. At the last trial, the judge mentioned that his wife had stocked the jury’s room with snacks, and he didn’t mind if they brought a drink with them into the jury box.

It’s an important civic duty (and like others upthread have mentioned, participants seem to take it seriously), and there’s usually an effort to show appreciation towards those who serve.

My experiences with jury duty line up with what @Moriarty is saying. The judge was extremely nice, and I felt she was respectful of the time we were giving up to be there. She also emphasized how important jurors are to the court system and thanked us a lot.

At the x-ray check at the entrance to the courthouse, there was a sign that said ‘no food or drink except for jurors.’

The only thing I can think of where a judge might get short with a juror is if the person was being a jerk in trying to get out of jury service.

I don’t know if this is customary, but the one time I served on a jury, the judge came into the jury room after it was over to personally thank us for serving. He was very personable and gracious.

The defendant was facing two charges, and our verdict was split; we found him guilty of one charge and not guilty of the other. One juror asked the judge if he thought we got it right. At that point it became clear that he knew more than we did. He paused, smiled a little, and said, “Your verdict was consistent with the evidence presented at trial.”

I returned multiple times during selection for several murder trials, and the only time I heard the judge get annoyed was about prospective jurors who had not shown up when the roll was called.
The judges were even polite to people who said that they didn’t believe in the legal system. And the judge (and everyone) on the trial I was on were great.