Parthenokinesis, Juror #5

Well, I’m doing my civic duty and serving on a jury. I got called to go in Monday, and I thought it might be kinda fun, be a part of the system, do my civic duty and all. Ends up, I’m on a kind of high profile child-molestation trial. Of course, while the trial is on going I can’t talk about any specifics but I have to say this is definately exceeding my expectations.

I feel special with my little Juror button, going through the secret passageways in the courthouse. Everyone has to stand up when I walk into a room. Attorneys quiver before me, with their big puppy dog eyes, pleading for some little morsel of approval. When I meet their eyes I have the power to cruch them under my heel, or send them into raptarous spasms of ecstasy, or send them slinking back to their little table, head down, tail between their legs. Bad attorney! No biscuit!

For the next week (or thereabouts, the judge estimates a week and a half total) I hold the defandants life in my slightly sweaty, well supremely capable hands. These hands, which last night made cookies to bring for everyone who inhabits the olympian seats of our deliberation room (where we can leave our belongings safely as the baliff locks it when we’re not there (no, really, yesterday someone brought a sandwich and when we came back during break it was still there, quite safe (I only brought a book to read, figuring we’d go out to eat, and we did, and she brought her sandwich along and ate it))), with a mere downturning of the thumb, can plunge this man into a Dantean abyss, or by rotating that same hairy and scarred, but still god-like hand, a mere one hundred eighty degrees at the wrist, on the vertical plane, so the the thumb extends upward toward the shining beacon of the heavens, and as if I have erased history, his lilfe will return to what it once was, and chaos and terror of the last year will dissapate, so that only relief and joy remain.

Of course, I could end up being one of the alternates. So there’s that. My head is so swollen I don’t just need a reality check, I need a reality checkmate.


I sat through a 2 week trial last year as juror #3. I ended up as one of the alternates and was sent home before deliberations. I was rather bummed out about that.

My SO was juror for a child molestation trial a few months ago. The trial took a week, and he couldn’t even tell me what the trial was about until it was over. So when I said to him on the phone that he must be hearing some kind of exciting murder mystery, he couldn’t tell me until later that it was pretty sordid and straightforward.

p.s. – I didn’t mean to imply that murder isn’t sordid, just that the trial he was hearing wasn’t anything like on TV…

Er, sorry, but the fact that nobody stole a sandwich while the jury was “in” doesn’t prove that your deliberation room is “quite safe”. Try leaving yer laptop there tomorrow–g’wan, I double dog dare ya! :smiley:

I don’t understand the beef people have about jury duty, except for the ones who lose business or have their pay docked. For me it was a nice change from the usual routine, and the long lunch breaks are nice. The latter’s especially true if you are in the downtown of a major city since there are usually dozens of interesting places you can walk to. I went to La Golondrina for lunch twice when I was serving in downtown L.A.

I have jury duty coming up. I’ve actually been summoned twice this year already, but the first time was during the school semester so I postponed it to the beginning of summer break; the second time, I lost the summons and forgot about it until the day after I was s’posed to come, and I rescheduled because I didn’t know that I could’ve just shown up at any time in the next two weeks and been fine.

Whoops–got chopped in half there… Anyway:

I’ve always been fascinated by the legal process, having observed a few cases in DC as a child, interned at a law firm here and watched a whole lot of Law & Order (yick) and Boston Legal. Of course, I’ve seen enough cases to know that it’s not like on TV, but I still think it’ll be awesome to take part in the process. Plus, part of me secretly hopes to take part in a jury nullification ruling.

In some states, are the alternates not designated until after the testimony?

I served in Los Angeles County Superior Court a couple of years ago, and was “Alternate #2” before the trial proper ever started. I didn’t even get to sit in the jury box; Alternate #1 and I sat right next to it. When the 12 “real” jurors went into deliberation, Alternate #1 and I had to simply hang out in the jury waiting room. Once a verdict was reached (which didn’t take long), we got summoned back into the courtroom to hear it read.

I left a plate of home made oatmeal pecan dark chocolate chip cookies (the secret is to add a little extra salt) all day and we couldn’t give them away. Today I think I’ll leave a paperback book, a tin of mints, and a half full bottle of red tea and see if any of that turns up missing.

Aparently, here in Florida, alternates are not designated until after. So there is still a 25% chance (Apparently, here in Florida, at this time, 6 person jurys are the norm, miniturization trends spreading out from tech areas, I guess) my mighty thumb of justice will be neutralized (baking soda also works), leaving me bedraggled and forlorn, moping on the courthouse steps. I hope not, I’m not pretty when I’m mopey. Don’t make me mopey, you wouldn’t like me when I’m mopey.

I don’t mind jury duty, even though for me it usually means sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a badly lit room listening to daytime TV and trying to read until they decide they don’t really need me, hand me a check, and send me on my way.

However, ever since a co-worker got summoned for jury duty and ended up on a grand jury, one day a week for over a year, I do get a little nervous when a summons shows up.

Oooooh. How you doin’? :wink:

I’d love to do jury duty some time. Unfortunately I can’t due to a sleep disorder. But if that ever improves and I get called again (was passed over this year, never even had to trot out the doctor’s excuse) I’ll try some cookie-based experimentation :slight_smile:

I sat for a few days over a civil trial involving a car accident. After the second day there was a message on my machine saying that they settled out of court and don’t come in tomorrow.

Rats, I wanted to vote, argue, and act out my favorite lines from 12 Angry Men.

Just remember that due to the gravity of this case there is no question that is too stupid or irrelevant for you to interrupt the attorneys or the judge at any time to ask. They expect this, and in fact you’re not doing your civic duty if you don’t.

Also, remember that there is no verdict until the jury decides on one. If the jurors can’t reach a verdict and case is a mistrial, it wall cost the state thousands and thousands of dollars to retry the defendant, and they know this. Don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage: “We have reached a verdict your honor- and we’ll tell you what it is for an extra $300 apiece. Oh, you think that’s unfair and our being taken away from our jobs and homes and having to listen to what the Alleged El Sicko over there may or may not have done is fair? Well, that’s fine… just remember that when election time comes around you could have had a verdict right here right now for $3,600 but now you’re spending $20,000 of tax payer’s money to retry it, cause you know what? Suddenly I just can’t reach a decision to save my life… what about you Juror 2? You can’t either. How bout that. And Juror 3… what, you’re indecisive too? Damn shame. Looks like Juror 4 is trying to remember what she was thinking also… gee, maybe 300 little friends would help her make up her mind…”

This process is called habeus corpus mea maxima culpa juris prudence tort velociraptoria de facto obiter compos mentis vagina dentata and it’s an ancient, respected, and very much expected part of the legal process. Don’t be the least bit shy about demanding it: in fact, the judge and attorneys will lose respect for you if you don’t demand the extra money before delivering your verdict, and if you don’t believe me, just ask them anytime during the trial.

It’s also your right to get to see pictures of the attorneys wives/domestic partners/husbands and kids, and or their tax returns. Feel free to ask for them.

Juror 8: Do you think the accident really was caused by negligence?

Mr. Goob: Bright? He’s a common ignorant slob. He don’t even speak good English.

Juror 5: I just think that he wants too much in pain and suffering…

Mr. Goob: Human life don’t mean as much to them as it does to us!

Juror 10: I need to see the accident report again…

Mr. Goob: This kid is a liar! I know it. I know all about them! Listen to me! They’re no good! There’s not a one of 'em who is any good!

Juror 11: Kid? He’s 49 years old…

Mr. Goob: He’s got to burn! You’re letting him slip through our fingers!

Juror 4: He just wants $4000 to fix his car and $3500 for pain and suffering…

Mr. Goob: But supposing he really did hear it. This phrase, how many times have all of us used it? Probably thousands. “I could kill you for that, darling.” “Junior, you do that once more and I’m gonna kill you.” “Get in there, Rocky, and kill him!”
You don’t really mean you’re gonna kill me, do ya?

Juror 10: Now Juror Goob is making a good point…

Later that evening:

“I’m Anderson Cooper. A case involving a minor car accident today resulted in the first ever sentence to death by lethal injection imposed upon a plaintiff in a civil suit…”

Sampiro, you kill me.

When’s that book coming out? Reading the above and remembering your great ones of the past, I want to be put down for the first copy.

Yesterday I suggested to the judge that the trial would go quicker if he just told us if the defendant is guilty. He seemed a little suprised at the idea and quickly moved on, but I know he’s thinking about it.

Oh, OK, I guess. I used to make these with a carmel glaze. Called ‘em my Tortoiseshell cookies (pecans chocolate and carmel, like a turtle, but sort of inside out, but Turtle with its guts ripped out and spread all over it’s body till they harden cookies doesn’t have the same kind of ring, ya’ know). Since I’ve moved to Florida, I seem to have lost the knack to making the carmel glaze. I used to do it by heating a sugar syrup till it darkens and just pouring it on the cookies. Now, everytime I try, the syrup cyrstalized before it darkens. Don’t know if it’s the change in altitude, or relative humidity, or if my little saucepan it too scratched up, or my water is too hard.

Anyway, the cookies are still well regarded. Left them overnight and when we returned the next day, they were gone. Still no soap in one of our bathrooms though. I tell ya, juries we don’t get no respect.

Sit there & chant:

For the whole trial.

Judges like that.

I’ve never been called for jury duty. My wife was once, but we live 2 hours from our hometown right now (where we are registered to vote and all that) so she would have had to take time off work, drive home, and then be there for it. They let her out of it with proof that she was down here for college.

[long back-story]

Several years ago, my mother was a bookkeeper for a business, which was audited, and they found money missing. Apparently, a large sum (30k or so over many years) that no one could explain, but the auditor said she was responsible for a small amount (5-6k) and they would be pressing charges on her for taking that money. The case was a joke from the beginning (I was at my parents one weekend when her lawyer came over - the prosecutor had called and asked him to fax him over the notes from a meeting with the judge, then admitted in an email that he had no case and wondered if the defense lawyer would outline his defense ahead of time for him so he could prepare one…)

My mother was cleared and the prosecutor was rather embarrassed because of some comments made by the auditor (who thought she was guilty but the prosecutor was a crappy lawyer - of course they didn’t press charges for any other amount of money)

[/long back-story]

My dad was called for jury duty the week before my wedding. He walked in the courthouse, pretty much explained to everyone he was supposed to talk to that he didn’t feel it was right for him to sit on a jury with the county prosecutor in the room - told the judge he wouldn’t be objective because he knew this guy was full of shit - so they sent him home. He laughed about that a good bit.

Brendon Small