Howrahruhrah. I wondered how long it would take. (2-1/2 years). And I believe I’ve figured out a fool proof way to get off the panel. Except that I really want to do it. I want a trial. I think I would like a Grand Jury gig, for that matter. The last time I was called, I decided that I really wanted my paycheck free vacation, and I wanted to be cool for the event. The case was something I remembered from a few years back, domestic violence resulting in arson. But I do believe in fair trials and I wanted to hear the story, thereby becoming part of it. And civic duty folks. Seriously, Civic Duty. But here’s the deal. I might have been overworking it. Didn’t say anything weird and answered their question well. I was just really glad to be there. And that’s it. Act like you really want to be there and at least one of the lawyers present is going to get the heebee-jeebees something fierce. I didn’t want to go when they heaved me.
It’s easy to get off, my father was a judge for years and used to laugh at the things people would say to get out of jury duty. During jury selection, the lawyers are doing all the work (well, the obvious work), so he could sit back and enjoy.
Several years ago, my wife was selected and sat on a murder trial that was a big deal in our town. She went in with no perceived notion of ever getting selected, gave short answers as she expected to be dismissed at any time, and was the most shocked person in the courtroom when she was selected…she said there was a man - reminds me of your experience - who volunteered that he was fascinated by the legal system and would be thrilled to sit on a jury…he was out the door in less than 10 minutes…It’s a lot harder to get on (which is why they summon so many people) especially as you have no idea as to the specifics of the crime and what type of person the lawyers want and DON’T serving on the jury…
I am on call jury duty right now. I get a letter telling me when to come for jury picking. I go and sit in a room and wait til my name is called and promptly I am sent home. Because I have alot of sibs, things just always pop up in my small town about one of them ( I am the only one who lives here now). The circuit Judge used to date one of my sisters, and is actually married to her college roommate. It was a scandal back in the day. We don’t care any more. Me and him exchange pleasantries and he excuses me. I go home and wait for another letter. Such is my life.
When I had jury duty just this past October, not only did we know the specifics of the crime (it involved assault of a corrections officer by an inmate), the defendant was present during jury selection. I wasn’t called up to be questioned, but one of those who was questioned was a retired corrections officer. He was quickly dismissed.
I got called and actually served. Very surprised to be chosen.
They asked me what my favorite TV show was and I said Doctor Who. The DA came up and said it was the first time anyone had mentioned the show, and who was my favorite Doctor. I’m now on the record as saying “David Tennant” (the court clerk had to ask the spelling).
Afterwards, the defense team told me they chose me because I wrote and read science fiction and they hoped that would make me more likely to believe the case they were making (which was pretty far fetched – the defendants finally took a plea after it came out one of the confessed to the crime – on a jail telephone. Yes, the one with a big sign over it saying your calls were being monitored.)
It’s pretty remarkable how few times I’ve received notice. Most of the times it happened was when I was young and out of state. It’s been years since the last time.
Yeah, my husband, who is not a citizen (but here legally, really!) gets a summons every couple of years. I haven’t had one in about 25 years. I have no idea why.
I got a summons a few years back and was actually picked for the jury. It was an interesting (to me) case; a guy was charged with assault and a couple other things for pulling a gun on a cop who happened to be pointing an AR-15 at him when he pulled his piece. I’m surprised both of them managed to not pull their respective triggers. Anyway, we found him guilty. IIRC he was sentenced to 5 years in the pokey.
Last summer I was summoned again but got a letter before I actually had to start calling every night that I had been selected for the grand jury. That was fun. Not.
The problem with the grand jury was that each day we would have 15 or 20 cases to hear–each was usually only a few minutes long. However, about… oh, maybe 70% of the time we wouldn’t actually hear the case because the officer that had to give testimony couldn’t make it, or the DA had dropped the charges, or someone who had been subpoenaed didn’t show… so we would hear a case and then have nothing to do for 45 minutes. Then we’d hear another case and then have nothing to do for an hour. It was incredibly boring. I’d much rather sit on regular trial jury. At least the jury room had coffee.
I just got a summons for the first week in March. This is the 4th or 5th time I’ve been summoned for jury duty. I’ve actually sat on 2 criminal cases (one guilty, one not*). It’s a nice change of pace from my day-to-day, I don’t mind going. It helps that my company pays me full wages for all jury duty days.
*In all honesty, he probably was guilty of stalking but the prosecution did a really poor job of proving their case. Really poor. I mean, it was a stalking by phone case and the defendant claimed, acted like and brought witnesses to testify that he was deaf. The prosecution just basically said “No you’re not” - no indication of TTY messaging, no doctor to refute his claim, nothing. And then the Ass’t DA was shocked that we didn’t convict. When we told her after the trial why we didn’t convict, she said something like “Oh, we didn’t think that was important.”
Many times I am called, never am I chosen.
The first selection process where I actually got to voir dire, the case involved a DUI. the judge kept asking question: Have you even been arrested for DUI? Have you even been in a DUI accident? Ever had a family member be involved? It kep progressing like that for a while, and I think the next question was about to be “Have you ever heard of alcohol?” Despite having no jurors say yes to any of these, the entire jury pool was excused and the trial postponed. The wheels of justice grind slowly, for sure.
The second one to make it to voir dire, the head judge came in and made a big speech about the importance of the jury, and how we must do our civic duty, and how the justice system is the cornerstone of civilization, blah blah blah, finally telling us that he was the kind of judge that didn’t want to waste our time waiting in a jury room when the trail ends up not happening. And after waiting an hour and then hearing that 15 minute speech, he dismissed us all! I almost said “If you wasn’t wearin’ that black robe I’d take out in back of this courthouse and I’d try a little bit of your honor on” ala Jerry Reed. What an ego.
Potential Jurors will typically be given enough information so that they can be questioned about possible biases for that type of controversy.
Defendants, in a criminal case, have a constitutional right to be present during jury selection, and are, in fact, present 99.9% of the time.
I’ve got a summons for a federal jury in the middle of March. First time for that. I’ve been selected twice, one civil (they settled right after we got selected) and one criminal but fairly trivial. I’ve been up for a few murder cases, but never even made it to the jury box for questioning thank Og.
I went 15 years in New Jersey and never got called. Here it is every year, but one judge told us that once you show up and get on a jury you get called all the time.
I’ve usually gotten a list of potential witnesses so that I can say if I know them or not.
As a former court clerk who participated in countless jury selections, I can tell you in my experience that, assuming you have no personal knowledge of the case, its major players or any obvious bias due to a life experience of your own, the trick to being selected is to be willing but not eager. Trial attorneys have many schemes for picking jurors, but virtually all of them are hinky about someone who really, really wants to sit on their jury. Nor do they want someone who really, really doesn’t want to sit. In both situations, jurors might sabotage their trial – knowingly or otherwise.
On behalf of the judges I worked for, please let me thank you for your willingness to serve. It would be nice to see more like you who appreciate the importance of doing their civic duty in this way.
For those who are bent because a judge “wasted their time,” please understand that judges have very little control over the situation. Many are willing to take a plea if parties are willing to agree to same right up to trial and even after a jury is sworn. It will waste a lot less of your time if the defendant enters a plea than if he takes the case through a full trial. For a lot of defendants, being tried by a jury doesn’t “get real” until they are sitting and facing their potential jurors. As often as not, we took pleas mid-jury selection and the jury then excused. You may find that a lot more of your time is wasted if you have to sit through a 2-week trial.
I’ve been summoned 8 or 9 times in my life, starting shortly after I became eligible at eighteen. The last time I was called, about a year and a half ago, I was living kitty-corner from the courthouse. I didn’t request mileage and was amused to find they actually added it in on my paychecks. (I got selected for a trial concerning a burglary.)
In contrast, Pops got summoned for the very first time in his late seventies. He wanted to get on a jury just to see what it was like and figured that since he was retired, he would be a more likely candidate. He didn’t get selected.
The only other time he got summoned, for the local district court, he had to decline. He had just learned he had bladder cancer and was just about to start chemo and radiation. (He survived that but, unfortunately, COPD was already making inroads on his lungs, which finally got him a few years later.)
The only time I’ve received a summons was in the mid 1990s, and it was scheduled for the last week that I would be working before a mass layoff. I was hoping I would be chosen, because tensions were running high at work, but a few days beforehand, I got a letter stating that my number was too high and my services would not be needed.
My SIL has been seated twice, both for lawsuits. The first one was a totally open-and-shut case, and in the other, the parties walked into the courtroom, saw the jury, and said, “We’ll settle this out of court.”
I have never been on a jury and I would have liked to have been. I lived and voted in the US for ten years, was never called, and then moved to Canada and was a non-citizen for about 40 years. But even if I had been a citizen, I think all jurors here have to be fluent in French, which I am not. Now I am doubtless too old.
I never got a summons until after I retired. I served on a civil suit case, where we found for the plaintiff. Now that I’m 70, I never have to serve again.
I never was called for jury duty until I was about 55 or so. First time out, I ended up on a sort of provisional bench, in the event that one or more of cases on that days’ docket went to trial. As it happened, the entire docket was either dismissed or plea-bargained, so I did no actual juryin’, but still got my ten bucks or whatever.
I’ve been summoned twice more since, but both times the automated system the county uses sent me a message the day before, saying not to bother coming to the courthouse. I thus feel a bit hollow that my civic duties remain unfulfilled.
My mom, on the other hand, served on a sequestered urder trial (afaik, the only one ever in our county) and was called several times to serve in Federal Court in Milwaukee, over a hunderd miles one way, and they had to make special considerations because she couldn’t/wouldn’t drive in the city and had at the time no credit card to get a hotel room. They must have really liked her as a juror.