anyone have any good jury duty stories or cases they want to talk about?
The Runaway Jury by John Grisham is pretty good.
Ohhhhhhhhh! Those sort of stories. Sorry
My one jury duty experience was quite pleasant because I never had to serve on any juries. I was only called out of the main room where they kept all of the prospective jurors one time. That one time, they called 20 people, and since they only needed 12 jurors, they picked eight random names to send back to the main room, and I was one.
That one time I was called out was pretty interesting. One of the other prospective jurors was a law professor who taught at the same school that both the prosecutor and defender had attended. I asked him if lawyers would want a law professor as a juror, and he said definitely not, because a law professor would be able to explain to the other jurors special important law stuff that the lawyers might not want the jury to know. He didn’t make it on the jury, either.
I didn’t think that anyone with professional legal training was allowed to serve on juries anyway… or is that just in my country?
I was in a jury pool for a civil case with 2 sitting LA Superior court judges. Both of them (a man and a woman) seemed very fair-minded and eager to due their civic duty, stating that lawyers and judges should not be excused or even seek to be excused from jury duty.
Both judges were excused with preemptory challenges, one from the plaintif’s attorney, one from the defendent’s attorney.
I was accepted as a juror. Who’da thunkit?
I got a summons about a month back & I wrote them that Im deafened & don’t know enough sign language for court trials & they wrote me back asking for more details. Idiots. Plus, this is the fourth summons under a year.
I had one very entertaining experience with Jury Duty. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
First I tell my boss I’ve been summoned next month. I get the patriotic duty speech. God, apple pie, motherhood, etc. The day before I serve I remind him and I get the “Why didn’t you get out of it?” speech. Figures.
So I go. I sit in a room (a large room, hundreds of seats) with televisions and magazines and wait to be called. Lunchtime comes, no call.
Get back from lunch? I’m called. And they didn’t get to me before they’d filled that jury. Back to the room.
I get called again. This time I’m accepted.
The case is a guy who had his drivers license revoked for drunk driving a year or so ago. He was arrested for driving (not drunk).
He chose to represent himself. Uh Oh.
He’s completely out of control. He won’t let the prosecutor speak, he smiles at us in the jury, he’s completely adrenaline high.
He was volunteering at a halfway house next to his ex-wifes place when he got popped by the cop. So he calls as his witness a guy who gets up and says “I’m a paranoid schizophrenic and the defendant is completely innocent” and then he starts twitching and screaming.
We in the jury stare, open-mouthed, as the defendant continues to question him like this. He answered questions, sometimes coherently, sometimes not.
The prosecution called the arresting officer to the stand and she gave her story. The on cross examination the defendant just argued with her. No questions or nothing.
It was truly a strange experience. Much less dull than I’d thought.
We acquitted him, btw. The officer had seen the car being driven and later saw him sitting in the drivers side with the door open but never saw him driving.
And after that he waited at the courtroom door and thanked each of us personally, shook our hands, asked our names, gave us his card (he was some sort of salesman), and offered to take us all out to dinner.
Couple of years ago, I was part of the jury pool for a robbery-assault case: some guy that got rolled in a hotel room. When they trooped us into the room, I noticed an attractive blonde in a grey mini-skirt business suit, seated at the defendant’s table next to two older guys in suits. I figured she was a lawyer, since she looked the part.
She was attractive enough for me to entertain myself looking at her while the prosecutor droned on as he questioned prospective jurors about their qualifications. He dismissed 3 or 4 prospects, then finally found one he felt was acceptable. One of the older guys with the blonde got up then, and asked the prospect if he had any prejudices about transexuals: only then did I realize that the blonde I’d been fantasizing about was a tranny!
When they let us out for lunch, I ran into the blonde at the courthouse steps. I got a big smile from her, as she’d obviously seen me eyeballing her and probably thought it’d be good to make friends with a prospective juror. She just didn’t look as good close up, though, with a prominent Adam’s apple and big hands. I wished her good luck, and wasn’t chosen for the jury anyway
The only jury I served on selected our foreman because he was in the restroom at the time we were deciding and couldn’t protest.
I was called for jury duty on my birthday a couple of weeks ago. The only room I went to, ended up being sequestered for the next day because the judge had to go home early for a family emergenct.
I come back the next and end up in the final fourteen. In the trial I was at, there are still only twelve final jurors but they don’t choose the alternates until time for deliberation.
(Keep in my mind, I’m a senior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The judge doesn’t let students off except for mid-terms or finals. I’m still missing critical classes and labs.)
There were three defendants with eaching facing two charges. A supposedly short trial, ended up being six days. To top it all off, one of the defendants never showed up in the courtroom. He was in the building but didn’t want us to see him.
Thankfully, I was chosen as the second alternate so I got to go home early. I was able to make one of my labs that day. Best of all, I got a check today worth $111.60.
there’s gotta be some more good stories out there!!!
I posted the following in this thread.
To Johnny L.A.: I’ve been in that jury assembly room. In the Superior Court building, which hears only civil cases, the bailiffs are not uniformed county sheriff’s deputies as in the CCB two blocks away. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if these civil-court bailiffs–who wear blue blazers and gray slacks–do carry guns, as I sense that some judges do under their judicial robes. In any case–especially since all the entrances to both court buildings have security gates which everyone, jurors included, must pass through, it would take considerable ingenuity–and nerve–for someone such as you described to get into the civil courthouse with a gun!
Guess when they put those security measures in? That’s right. After the shooting I described.
Not so exciting as a shooting, but here’s mine.
I was selected to be on a jury for someone accused of breaking and entering (or something). Among the qualifying questions was whether the (alleged) fact that marijuana was somehow involved would color our thinking. IIRC, this knocked a couple folks out.
[aside] One of the other jurors was a cousin of my wife - we both had to assure the court that wouldn’t affect our deliberations
The trial was set for the next day. The jurors showed up. The judge was there. The prosecuter was there, as was the defense attorney. Unfortunately, the defendant was not there. We waited for about an hour before the very pissed off judge called us in, thanked us for our time, and said a warrant had been issued for this guy’s arrest. The defense atty. was trying to disappear into the furniture.
On the security front, a few years later I was called (not selected this time), when I entered the court house, I had to surrender my key-chain Swiss Army Knife - blade about an inch long. LOOK OUT ---- HE’S GOT A KNIFE, at least I think it’s a knife?
First case I served on was a no-brainer…guy charged with vandalism for rolling a police ATV into a fire during a riot in Huntington Beach, CA during a July 4th Surfing contest. I can’t recall what the defense’s argument was exactly, because all I can remember was that the whole incident was caught on videotape.
As soon as we adjourned to the deliberation room, we broke out laughing. GUILTY.
Second case was an attempted murder case. Everybody agreed on the assault charges, but when it came down to the charge of intent, it was an eleven-to-one vote…I stood alone on “not guilty.” My argument was that we could not know what was going through his head at the time of the incident and that there was reasonable doubt that he intended to kill the victim. We needed a unanimous decision.
To make an extreeeeeemmmeely long story short (shades of “Twelve Angry Men,” I love telling this story, but it is toooo long to describe here), we eventually found him “not guilty” of the intent charge. (If anyone is remotely interested, e-mail me…I never get tired of telling this…)
Last case involved who was responsible for an attack of an employee of a company by a temp worker. Again, I stood alone, eleven-to-one, but this time, we only needed a three-fourth majority vote.
To this day, I still believe that the temp employee himself was personally responsible and accountable for his attack on the employee…it was his choice to (verbally) assault the guy. My fellow jurors said it was the Temp Agency’s fault…if they hadn’t made the guy available to be (temporarily) hired by this company, he wouldn’t have been on the premises to assault the employee.
To me, this translates to:
If someone kills someone while driving his new car while drunk:
- The bartender who served the drinks is responsible, because if he hadn’t, then that person wouldn’t have been drunk.
- The car salesperson is responsible, because if he hadn’t sold the car to that person, he never would have been behind the wheel of the car that killed the victim.
I could go on and on, but ultimately, I feel that a person should be accountable for his own actions, not blame others for putting him in that situation.
Sorry for the long-windedness…
My all-time favorite jury story was the time that a Utah superior court judge was called to appear in her own court as a juror.
Another one along these lines occured in Indianapolis a while ago. Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard was called to serve as a juror in Marion County circuit court. It took them several hours to get around to him in the jury pool (due to grilling of other prospective jurors), and apparently neither the attorneys nor the judge recognized him for who he was until they looked at his juror information form. He was excused for cause, reportedly on the judge’s own motion (once they realized who he was).
chief, if you search at http://www.google.com/ for ‘funny jury duty stories’ you can find a lot of them. Just in case you need some more
About ten years ago I was called to a courthouse for possible jury duty for the first time. The one and only time I was called for a juror pool, we waited in the courtroom while jurors were called, at random, from their numbers. I was not called at all, and I sense it was because I had the same last name (Montgomery) as the defense attorney, which might have inspired the prosecutor or even the judge to question me as to whether I am related to this lawyer or would even side with him just for having the same last name. I didn’t get called, so I guess it’s moot.
A number of years ago my mother was on a jury in a civil case, about an automobile collision. She got through the screening all right; but she later told me she was one of few who voted against the party who prevailed (in CA, civil verdicts, of course, need not be unanimous), because he was Oriental and she has long had a dislike of Oriental drivers. (This, of course, was not her own phrasing.)
poopah, I just wanted to point out that the entire premise of this thread is to tell these stories, long or short. If you want to tell it please do. You won’t be the first to have a long story on the board.