Drat! Grand Jury!
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Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 13:56:35 MST Print View

I need to vent to somebody who cares.

After planning a week long trip in May and getting excited to officially get the time off (a rarity for me), I received a grand jury summons for the entire month. Unfortunately, deferment isn't going to be possible because of work stuff.

On one hand I'm kind of intrigued to see what the Washington, D.C. grand jury process is like, but on the other hand, why did my backpacking trip have to pay the cost for the virtue of constitutional rule of law?

I do NOT regret that I have but one May backpacking trip to give for my country!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 14:03:08 MST Print View

Unlike in the big city, we each get called every single year for petite or grand jury up here (my theory is that there are very few non-felons around who can sit on a jury).

My wife got called a few months ago and was sitting in the waiting room. The guy next to her was kvetching about having to get up at 9 am to make it in and how he'd love to find a way out of it. And that maybe he could ask his doctor for some written excuse to get out of it. "Say, you look familiar. Why is that?" he asked.

"I'm your doctor." she replied.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 14:08:06 MST Print View

Anyway, she found Grand Jury to more interesting than Petite Jury. Often an individual case gets pleaded after the jury selection has been completed making petite jury feel like a waste. But Grand Jury is (most often) just indicting defendents - no trial, no moronic posturing by attorneys, etc - that for the petite jury. And you see a lot of cases in a few hours.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 14:09:26 MST Print View

I get summoned every year for jury duty. Actually I would like to participate in a trial. But for some unknown reason, after I am interviewed by the judge and attorneys they immediately send me home :(

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 14:21:28 MST Print View

I never get picked, probably due to my enthusiasm to dole out some justice.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Grand Jury on 02/16/2012 15:10:22 MST Print View

If you tell the judge your situation, he might let you off for a week. I would try. In my county here they probably wouldn't but I know some counties would. Just tell him how long you've been preparing and that you will appear the other weeks.
I agree with David that grand jury is more fun than most. Here, it just meets one day a week. If your situation is similar, the judge might not mind you missing once.
Even if you are on a trial jury panel, there is a pretty good chance you won't ever get picked for a trial. Most people who do it, though, really enjoy the experience and feel good about participating in the purest form of democracy.
Nick, I can't imagine how many peremptory strikes you have drawn. If you are really good at it, you can be stricken by both sides.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Grand Jury on 02/16/2012 16:25:42 MST Print View

"Nick, I can't imagine how many peremptory strikes you have drawn. If you are really good at it, you can be stricken by both sides."

One year the judge asked me why I was the only potential juror wearing a suit and tie. Now that seemed to be a silly question to me, with no bearing on the case or cause for prejudice. I told him that, "trial by jury was important to me, as we are a nation of laws. And in preparation for my duty, I read all the instructions on the Website, which included attire requirements that was defined as business attire." I told him, "I am a businessman, and business attire is a suit and tie for men. And as far as I was concerned, every male in the pool should be cited for contempt of court, unless they previously requested an exemption from wearing a suit and tie, based on financial hardship." I was immediately excused after the attorneys consulted with the judge. I still don't understand the problem.

--------------

This year the case was to determine a personal injury award amount. The defendant had admitted guilt, and had paid all medical bills. In this case a boy was hit by an ice cream truck while riding his bike, and the truck was traveling at slow speed. The boy was okay and back to playing baseball with his team. However, he had a scar on his shoulder blade and was self-conscious when taking a shower after practice. Apparently the injury award was expected to be in the 6 figure range, per instructions of the judge.

The defense attorney asked every person if they had seen his ads on TV. All said they had not seen the ads. The person before me said no, and felt that a 30% fee for an attorney was unacceptable. The attorney told him he would not be selected, and then went into a long dissertation to justify personal injury law and that the fee paid to attorneys was determined by the court, not him.

Then the attorney asked me if I had seen his ads. My reply was "yes, I had lived in the community for a long time, and remembered his ads back in the days when both of us had lots of long dark hair, versus our currently balding and grey tops. I also told him his marketing was pretty poor, since I was the only one who knew who he was." He asked me if the ads would prejudice me, and I said, "No. But his attack on the previous juror did, and he had wasted the valuable time of the court and jury pool with his speech." Then the judge asked me if the court should know anything about me that could prejudice me on the case. I told him I thought "personal injury law is a bunch of crap." He then asked if I meant it would be hard to determine the reward and told me he would lay out the parameters of the award. I said, "No, it is crap. Shouldn't be part of the legal system." The judge then asked whether or not I thought an injured party, such as a young boy should be entitled to pain and suffering. I said, "No." He then asked why? I said, "life is a risk, things happen in life. Further more, I had a grandson, who was killed in a car accident a few weeks earlier, and I am sure he would have been more than happy to change places and live with a little scar, he probably would have shown-off his scar to his friends as a badge of courage." So... I was told to go home. Don't understand that one either.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Grand Jury on 02/16/2012 18:38:36 MST Print View

Sounds like you are doing this Grand Jury thing, so good for you, Evan!

Edited by ben2world on 02/16/2012 18:39:48 MST.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 19:59:38 MST Print View

Call up the Clerk. That's who usually handles this noise. They don't even understand the search parameters. I got called up 1day after cancelling. Try reading Borges: The
Library in Babel. Tell them you have two jobs.It is probably true.Let's Nick be our next Philosopher King? I yay yeah!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 20:20:29 MST Print View

My first jury summons was this year and I actually ended up sitting foreperson. When it came time to pick the foreperson, another jury member nominated someone else. I spoke up and said, "well, before just handing someone the responsibility, does anyone *want* to do it?"

Everyone in that room took that to mean that since I spoke up, that foreperson job was mine. I got to stand up in open court, state my full name, and hand a guilty verdict that would send a convicted felon back to prison.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 20:24:30 MST Print View

Travis, I hope the convicted felon doesn't remember your name when he gets out of the slammer.

--B.G.--

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 20:31:59 MST Print View

Yeah, me too. We sent him to jail for possessing a firearm, which is illegal for people with previous felonies. His first felony was gun related also.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 20:37:19 MST Print View

Worse yet, I hope he doesn't remember your name or face if you meet him in the Big House.

--B.G.--

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 21:48:16 MST Print View

I never get picked for any jury. Defense attorney hears "engineer" and I'm gone.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Drat! Grand Jury! on 02/16/2012 21:59:00 MST Print View

My wife got called a few months ago and was sitting in the waiting room. The guy next to her was kvetching about having to get up at 9 am to make it in and how he'd love to find a way out of it. And that maybe he could ask his doctor for some written excuse to get out of it. "Say, you look familiar. Why is that?" he asked.

"I'm your doctor." she replied.
OK, now that is funny. lol.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Jury duty on 02/17/2012 07:51:51 MST Print View

@ Nick: Well played. You got struck for cause, not just on a discretionary peremptory strike. It takes skill to do that. And that case you described was not worth anywhere near six figures anywhere I have been.
@ Travis: How long does he get to think about his revenge while in prison?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Jury duty on 02/17/2012 09:57:55 MST Print View

"And that case you described was not worth anywhere near six figures anywhere I have been."

Ah, apparently you haven't litigated in the Great Welfare State of California, aka the Left Coast :)

All kidding aside, that is how the interview really went. I have always been intrigued with the jury process and enjoy reading or watching movies such as "Twelve Angry Men," "Runaway Jury," or Ayn Rand's play "Night of January 16th" in which the jury was selected from the audience and she wrote two ending, depending upon how the jury voted. I realize there may be literary license going on here too. Also of interest are some of the famous trials like OJ Simpson, where the outcome may seem wrong, but we must look at the evidence, how it was presented and the judge's instructions to the jury.

The personal injury trial I described really presented a dilemma for me. It appeared the defense attorney was young, inexperienced and tentative in her interviews. Had I been the defendant I would have been worried. The prosecuting attorney has been practicing personal injury law for over 30 years and has a record of winning cases that go to trial. My background is training, facilitating, and consulting... I get paid to get people to change, and I am good at what I do. So it was tempting to try and get sequestered and then lead the jury to an outcome I thought was proper. In watching and talking to the people in the jury pool, I felt I would have a good chance of doing this. Also the trial was going to be short, less than a week, and my company pays for time spent on jury duty. In the end, the right course for me was to answer the interview questions honestly, knowing that I would not be selected. But it was tempting.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Jury duty on 02/17/2012 10:04:57 MST Print View

Ben, they never told us what the sentence would be.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Jury duty on 02/17/2012 20:53:39 MST Print View

I served twice -- one civil and one criminal. Both times guilty! And both times, we never found out about the sentencing.

The criminal one, the foreman was an idiot, and right from the get go, we had six conversations going on among the twelve of us. I stopped everyone, got a first count (10 guilty) -- then got everyone to say his or her piece -- got a second count (11 guilty) -- pointedly lectured the last guy to "make his own decision by all means but to also play by the rules given us by the judge -- then a third and final count -- 12 guilty! DIAD justice, the way it should be. :)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Jury duty on 02/17/2012 21:10:48 MST Print View

The prosecuting attorney asks questions to the prospective jurors on a murder case.

"Sir, this is a capital case. Do you have any strong opinions about capital punishment?"

Juror: "Snuff him!"

The defense attorney: "The juror is excused!"

--B.G.--