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  1. #1
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Jury Duty
    I have to report for jury duty tomorrow morning.

    The real killer is there is a courthouse about eight or nine blocks from my house, but I'm assigned to a courthouse about 20 miles away, 20 long, rush-hour-congested miles.

    Rats.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  2. #2
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Was on the jury about 3 years ago for some guy that got busted breaking into a business and taking everything out of it's refrigerator...

    Didn't touch anything else..

    Just food and leftover juices and crap....

    He was hungry.

    Prosecutor was trying to hang this guy, take him away from his family, lose his job.... basically didn't give a darn about destroying his life for making a stupid mistake...

    In our minds, it was just a notch in his belt....

    He was guilty, but we didn't want the DA to get the 10 years he was looking to get and suggested 165 days in the Harris County Jail... ( which he had already done - time served ) and made him pay for the window!

    I lost a lot of respect for the "system " after that...

    Those prosecutors have no soul around here....

    IMHO!

    Good Luck A H !!!!!

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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    I used to live 2 blocks from a courthouse. They always assigned me to a courthouse an hour and a half away or in the most crime ridden areas (a juror was excused because her car was stolen out of the courthouse parking lot). I tried to get out of it as much as possible simply because they were so inflexible in allowing me to serve where it was more convenient.

    Since moving up here, I've been called FOUR times in five years. Three of those summons were in a 20 month period. Ugh. I've served twice at local courthouses and was able to be excused the other two times due to medical issues (from courthouses far from home). I don't mind serving at nearby courthouses, say once every 5 years or so, but not every year or several times a year. My husband hasn't been called once. I know people who have lived here their entire lives and have never been called. Ugh.

    The one case I was on, it was an open and shut case of armed robbery of a jewelry store. The suspect's fingerprints were all over the store, stolen merchandise in his apartment, etc, etc. Airtight case. It took 3 days to explain to 2 hold outs what "reasonable" doubt meant and that their doubts weren't "reasonable". They were coming up with all sorts of off the wall "what ifs" to try to get the man off. I had to drive an hour and a half each way to get to this place and spend the day beating my head against the wall trying to convince them of the man's guilt when it was clear as crystal. We eventually convicted him unanimously, but they wasted 2 days of 10 other peoples' time just because they didn't want to be responsible for convicting someone. If they were uncomfortable with that, they should have told the court and been replaced with alternates.

    And they wonder why people try to get out of it so much! I hope your experience is more pleasant than mine, Hound. Bring some good books with you.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  4. #4
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meadowmufn
    Bring some good books with you.
    Man, is that good advice....

    Lot's of sit on your butt time....

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
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  5. #5
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I had to be a member of a Grand Jury a couple of years ago.

    It was mostly drug cases.

    Had to serve on it for 4 months.

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  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    I've been called a few times, but never selected. The good news if I ever get selected is that we only have one county courthouse, and it's within walking distance of my house. If I ever got some sort of federal jury call, the federal courts here in town are about a mile from my home with little or no traffic.
    Generate more fake news.

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I only got selected once, about five years ago. I enjoyed seeing how the legal system works and doing my civic duty.
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  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I only got selected once, about five years ago. I enjoyed seeing how the legal system works and doing my civic duty.
    It definitely was interesting to see how the system works and I was proud to have put away a bad guy too. But after the 10th or 11th summons, it got kinda old. LOL. I really don't know why they love to call me so much. They usually spend a lot of time questioning me and decide they don't want me on the jury. Might be because my dad was in law enforcement. LOL.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
    - Silence is golden. Duct Tape is silver.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I hope I do get called someday, and I hope it's not something as obvious as murder or drunk driving or something. One of the best ways to make a difference is to serve on jury duty - some guy gets busted with a couple ounces of marijuana and the prosecutor wants to jail him? Not guilty! I don't care how airtight the evidence is - not guilty!

    Of course, now that I've said that, I'll probably never get selected
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  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    I was called 3 times and served 2. The first time was the Federal court in Cleveland, OH, a good 40 minute drive away. I was the Project Manager for a couple important high dollar projects and my employer could not do without me at that time. So, they had their in-house attorney request I not have to appear at that time. They agreed and said I would be available in the pool again like June 1.

    They said that didn't mean I would be called but only in the pool. Oddly enough (a coincidence? I don't think so), on June 1 I was summoned again. I didn't make it through the entire process the first day but made it to the courtroom on the second day. The case was about some drug dealer claiming brutality by the police dept. Since I used to be a police dispatcher and have been friends with some cops for a good 20 years or so, they didn't think I was a good fit for their case.

    Did jury duty locally and after a few hours of wait time they said the dispute was settled and we were let go.
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  11. #11
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Well, I spent all day yesterday at the courthouse, and I have to be back later today.

    Al morning was spent in the jury assembly room, sitting around reading. It was freezing in there. We were released for lunch*, and it was almost as cold outside.

    One group had been sent to a courtroom in the morning and we were told another group would be sent out at 1:30. Back at 1:30, but they didn't call out another group until almost 2:30, and I was in that group.

    We got a brief intro from the judge and then we all waited in the hall for almost another hour. When we went back in they picked the first group to be questioned, and I was in that group. They barely go through the first set of basic questions and little more before the judge adjourned for the day.

    The bad news is that this case is estimated to last for a MONTH. The good news is the trial will only be in session 3 hours per day (1:30 to 4:30). The bad news is that it was ROASTING in the court room, and after going from freezing to roasting, I feel like I'm getting sick.

    So, I have to go back in a couple of hours. Maybe for the last time, maybe for day two of 30.

    To be continued.
    ______
    * Right outside the jury assembly room is a sign that says "Cafeteria is on the 3d Floor". Went to the third floor, and couldn't find it. Asked, and was told, there IS NO cafeteria anymore. I looked around and there isn't even a snack bar in the building. This is in downtown Pasadena so there are many, many places to eat in the area, from fast food to elegant, but that does require leaving the building and having to go through security and metal detectors a second time. Plus they have only one metal detector, and in the early morning and at 1-1:30 the line can be very long and very slow.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  12. #12
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    I need to appear for selection in March, for the first time. Should be interesting. I hope the boss let's me go!

  13. #13
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_jones
    I need to appear for selection in March, for the first time. Should be interesting. I hope the boss let's me go!
    You boss has no choice. They have to let you go. Its a summons from the court.

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  14. #14
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    In many states, they have to pay you also.
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  15. #15
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Free at last.

    Two days of my life gone.

    I was excused, so I can comment more about the case and the procedures.

    It was a murder case, which would have been real interesting to be on, but not for 30 days.

    After reporting at 1:30, we stood around in the hall until 2:30 and then attorney voir dire finally began. In the old days, it was pretty much unfettered, but several years ago, judges started imposing strict rules on how much time the lawyers had to question prospective jurors. However, in major cases, they're generally given a fair amount of time. Here, the judge gave the lawyers only 1/2 hour each, which, though I wanted out as quickly as possible, was really unfair to the parties to the case. I really do think that was an unreasonably short time in this kind of a case. In their 1/2 hour each, the lawyers barely scratched the surface of what they needed to ask.

    The case must have centered around forensic evidence, as the defense attorney spent more than 1/2 of his time asking about who watched CSI and whether or not the prospective jurors realized that show was not real and that nice, neat packages like in tv crime shows didn't occur in real life.

    There also must have been an issue about a police dog, perhaps tracking down the defendant, because both lawyers asked us about our dogs, and most of the questioning directed to me centered on my daughter having been a dog trainer and my relationship with my dogs.

    Anyway, after voir dire was concluded and another 20 minute break, the judge first removed one prospective juror for cause, due to him having definitively stated that he believed in jury nullification. Then the lawyers were given their turn to exercise their peremptory challenges, and I was the first to be kicked off.

    On other point, the defendant was a large, scary looking individual, accused of MURDER. Yet, the only security in the courtroom was a single female 5'5" bailiff. Had he decided to jump over the counsel table and attack a witness, judge, or juror, he certainly could have succeeded.*

    Note re jury pay. In California, jurors receive $15.00/day plus mileage one way, but each only AFTER the first day of service. So, for my two days I'll get about $21.30. I don't understand mileage one way. Either pay total actual mileage or don't bother.

    ____
    *In my very early days practicing law, before I specialized in personal injury litigation, I did a lot of family law, and in one case where I represented the wife, the husband was a real hothead, and at the conclusion of one hearing where the judge had ruled in our favor on some issue, as the judge stood and turned to leave the bench, the husband did jump up and start to run towards the judge, but two large male bailiffs jumped on him.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    I was the first one kicked off the last panel I was on during peremptory challenges. It was a drunk driving case. I was asked if I knew people convicted of DUI (I did). I was asked a lot of questions after that, most of which I don't remember. The folks I know convicted of DUI acted stupidly and they learned immensely from their mistakes. I probably said that in court and that's probably what got me kicked off. LOL. I suppose I didn't come off as very sympathetic, but I am very capable of analyzing evidence objectively and making a decision based solely on the evidence. I've done it plenty of times before.

    Ah well, I was glad to be out of there as soon as possible anyway, as there was NO juror room! We had to sit out in the hallway with very little to do.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  17. #17
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    The case must have centered around forensic evidence, as the defense attorney spent more than 1/2 of his time asking about who watched CSI and whether or not the prospective jurors realized that show was not real and that nice, neat packages like in tv crime shows didn't occur in real life.
    That part is probably pretty standard (from a good prosecutor), as popular as those shows are. Things are never as neat and clear as it is on TV. There will be discrepancies between witnesses. People won't remember things exactly the same.
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  18. #18
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    That part is probably pretty standard (from a good prosecutor), as popular as those shows are. Things are never as neat and clear as it is on TV. There will be discrepancies between witnesses. People won't remember things exactly the same.
    In this case, though, there were no percipient witnesses - all of the prosecution witnesses were police officers and forensic experts. (The prosecutor specifically asked us whether we would be able reach a guilty verdict based solely on testimony from law enforcement. I answered that [with my ulterior motive of being excused in mind] by saying I would wonder why there were no other witnesses).

    And those questions came from defense counsel, with only a couple of follow-up questions from the prosecutor.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
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  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    20, 25 years ago they were probably asking who watched L.A. Law
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