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Jerry UberDork
7/27/20 4:28 p.m.

I got the notice the beginning of the month, just after I learned I was paying for the majority of a roof repair.  (Thanks 2020, keep 'em coming.)

The bosses tried to get me out of it, had me email that I couldn't be away from my job.  That didn't work, shocking.  So I reported this morning, with mask, and sat with about 30-40 other people to decide who wins the Golden Ticket.  We spent until about 12-1230 pm going over safety stuff for COVID-19 precautions, and then both sides asking us questions to decide if we were acceptable.  The fact that both sides asked me at least 2 questions each I knew I'd get picked.

Sure enough, they booted the others out and there I was with 12 other lucky contestants.  There was one guy that I'm pretty sure everyone was glad to see go away.  High nasally voice, asked really...dumb questions, mentioned about normally sleeping until 9am, just... off. 

They brought us lunch, decent sandwiches and salad.  Then 115pm was opening statements.  I can't talk about the case itself, but it's real.  Like felony real.  No sting operation out of a classified ad here...  I have to say once it started I got into it.  Seeing how the case worked, the state and defense giving their statements, questioning the witnesses, watching the evidence.  Tomorrow resumes at 1230 till 430ish then they estimate completion by Wednesday lunch.

I still don't know if the bosses will cover my pay.  I get $20 a day from the court, woot free dinner!  I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/27/20 4:35 p.m.

I think if you're an employee you have to get paid?  

carli got it too, but when she called the reporting line the friday before they said her duty was completed and don't report

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
7/27/20 5:19 p.m.

In Will County some suit guy came down and reminded us if we were the guy in the hot seat wouldn't we want folks in the jury looking to be fair and patient?  

slantvaliant (Forum Supporter)
slantvaliant (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/27/20 5:32 p.m.

Whether you are the accused, or a crime victim, or simply a citizen wishing to live in peace, you should be interested in having good, fair people on juries.  Sometimes, that means you.

RX Reven'
RX Reven' SuperDork
7/27/20 5:38 p.m.

Anticipating a tsunami of hate and that's OK...

Every couple of years, I'd get a jury summons...I'd just toss them in the trash as they weren't sent certified mail = can't prove I got it.

As I got older, I thought about my civic duty and signed up.

Complete waste of time...by 9:00 AM it was obvious that none of us were going to be called and yet they kept us around the entire day.

Not to brag but I make significantly more than the average public defender (i.e., my time is really valuable on a relative measure) and yet, obviously, I was just a thing to be used in their eyes.

Now, after wasting an entire day, I'm back to tossing the summons in the trash.

I get it...if we want fair judgement, we need smart jurors, but the system has such a total lack of respect for our time that I, we, just say Berk it and toss the summons in the trash.  

The one time I was called for a jury pool, no one wanted me on the jury. The defense never seems to get past the male, white, middle aged, self employed part, before they boot me. None of the 4 cases that week wanted me.

I was crushed. (I wasn't.)


spitfirebill MegaDork
7/27/20 5:46 p.m.

I've served on two juries.  The first was pretty easy, but split along racial lines.  I was the stupid foreman on this jury.  In the second jury, the judge (magistrate) insulted the jury pool and the prosecutor  insulted large women.  Needless to say we were not convicting they accused lady for a stupid cat fight after that.  

jharry3 HalfDork
7/27/20 6:00 p.m.

I have been in Voir Dire about 4 times in Houston. 

They ALWAYS boot the people who say they believe prison is for reform and pick those who agree that prison is for punishment. 

It took me a few times to understand that. 

I was on a jury once for a felony assault with a deadly weapon (blunt instrument).  I was not impressed with the thought process of the jurors serving with me. 

They had no idea what was happening and were manipulated by the judge and DA the whole time without realizing it.  Except for me they all wanted to vote to convict without reviewing the evidence or testimony.  (This became important later)

Once the guy was convicted and sentencing phase began it was revealed he was on his 3rd strike and the minimum sentence was 20 years.  Four women started crying cause they thought it was harsh. Not one of these people realized the guy was a lifetime criminal, I could tell just by looking at him.

  After 2 hours of one group wanting a life sentence and the other wanting 20 years, and it was getting close to 5:pm, I had enough.   I told them that ALL of them voted to convict as soon as we walked in the jury room, except me, and these are the consequences.  Now we need to agree on something:  

35 years is the number we can all live with.  Otherwise we will be back here in the morning cause they will kick us out at 5:pm.    Quick unanimous decision after I said that.   Invoking self interest always gives one more leverage.

Epilogue: The defense attorney came in after sentencing and told us the deal the guy was offered was 35 years but he wanted to roll the dice for less.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/27/20 6:05 p.m.

Nice to have a modern, streamlined system here.  Every couple of years, I get the notice, and then instructions to call the night before to see if I'm needed.  If not, it's all done.

neverdone New Reader
7/27/20 6:27 p.m.

I've only served once.. it involved a machete attack against a bully who deserved almost losing his arm.  The cops and the DA thought they had it, but their attitudes clearly showed their smugness and Lady Justice prevailed.

spitfirebill MegaDork
7/27/20 6:34 p.m.
jharry3 said:  I was on a jury once for a felony assault with a deadly weapon (blunt instrument).  I was not impressed with the thought process of the jurors serving with me. 

After my experiences I have often said I do not want to be judged by a jury of my peers.  

einy (Forum Supporter)
einy (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/27/20 7:47 p.m.

After serving some years ago in a Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) jury pool, I developed a much larger respect for my coworkers’ morals and ethics.  Hanging out on the bench near the Family and Drug Court entry door over the lunch break to observe will do that.

Jerry UberDork
7/27/20 8:03 p.m.

I mentioned to SWMBO that the jury was fairly mixed in variety.  White, black, men, women, older, younger, in-between.  They also had a hospital air purifier of some sort roaring in the background, that made it interesting for some to hear initially.  They also split the pool into two courtrooms and used video for the other room.

The judge was very appreciative of our time and thanked us a few different times, noting our time is valuable.  At the end of today, it was a little early (4:10ish) and they were going to go into the judges chambers for some meeting, she stopped the attorneys and said she didn't want to hold up the jurors any longer than needed, and dismissed us until tomorrow.

Chesterfield Reader
7/27/20 9:24 p.m.

I have been summoned multiple times, and all except one I was not called to serve. The one time I had to serve ended up being 11 days of trial, and work paid me for all of it.  It was a civil action claim against a large national company. I even stated during the selection process, I was not of fan of this type of lawsuit, and they still picked me. The person bringing the suit admitted he had used the product without proper protective equipment for over 2 decades and his science experts failed to show a link between the product and his condition. The testimony of both sides experts took up most of the trial team. Thankfully, I like organic chemistry. He did not win his lawsuit.

Boost_Crazy HalfDork
7/28/20 12:01 a.m.

I’ve been selected to serve on two juries.

One trial was a short 1 day trial in which made me question how anyone is ever convicted. Getting 12 people to agree on anything it a big ask. The case was as obvious as they go. But many of the other jurors kept deviating from the evidence presented at trial and kept trying to use their personal experience and feelings at deliberations. Some made up there own alternative defenses. It was like herding cats. 

The last one I was on was one of the most interesting trials that I’ve ever heard of. A very good jury was selected that took the job very seriously. I think we deliberated for four days after almost 6 weeks of trial. I’d be surprised if we were in the courtroom for even half the time, we spent much of our time waiting in the hall. It wasn’t that they were wasting our time, but due to the legal wrangling that happens without the jurors. After the trial, I learned from news reports all the info that the jury didn’t get to hear, and it was shocking.  

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/28/20 12:31 a.m.

I did grand jury duty for a year. It was once a month, they paid for the hotel and I got almost $400 each time.


Hell, I hope to get called again really

Jay_W SuperDork
7/28/20 2:28 a.m.

I've gotten a grand total of one jury summons in the last 40 years. And I couldn't do that one.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
7/28/20 5:33 a.m.

Never had a summons.


Meanwhile, my wife is on #3, which is concerning. She is pregnant and due in early November and they keep postponing (she got the summons in March, its still rolling postponed). We have been isolating fairly hard and dont want her to go in. 


I am a bit peeved that its looking like they are going to roll her in right when shes ready to pop in the midst of a global pandemic. 

914Driver MegaDork
7/28/20 6:04 a.m.

I was tagged for a federal jury once.  Trucker going up a long steep grade slams into the back of another trucker stopped dead on the side of the road.  He broke both hips, other bones, head injuries made mental issues; can't be his fault - sue someone!

Lawyer presenting his case was a twit, unprepared and danced in circles.   It was an experience in that I learned, but I don't have to repeat it again.

Jerry UberDork
7/28/20 6:48 a.m.

I've gotten one other summons in my life.  It was from KY and I had just moved back to Ohio, so reason for requesting dismissal?  I ain't in your state no more.

I was telling SWMBO I can't imagine what else we're seeing today?  After 3-4 hours of testimony, evidence, surveillance video and 911 call, what else is there?  Honestly they were both dumb, but the defendant was also attacking the victim.  The victim was just dumb, there's no law against that.  Then again, I guess we could start deliberating today.

MadScientistMatt PowerDork
7/28/20 8:34 a.m.

I've been on juries twice.

One was a contractor who managed to get himself arrested in the middle of a bunch of roof repair jobs, and the jobs he'd been paid for were never completed. The full story, which involved ex-wives, aliases, and a philandering preacher, could have kept a soap opera going for a couple weeks. Deliberation took only a few minutes - the prosecution hadn't really proved he intended to defraud the clients, and it looked like he'd made a good faith effort to have somebody get the job done even after he'd been sent to prison.

The second was a case of a stolen car. Weirdly, I'd met the victim and his since-recovered car a few months before the trial started - he was on the side of the road with an overheated car and I gave him a gallon of coolant I had stashed in the truck. If I could have voted to convict the defendant of First Degree Being A Dirty Scumbag, I would. Unfortunately the only witness against him wouldn't give a positive ID and it looked like somebody had been intimidating him - but that wasn't what the trial was about. And there wasn't any other evidence. It seemed like we were required to acquitt the defendant, but I really didn't feel good about it.

Jerry UberDork
7/28/20 6:22 p.m.

Today was a short day.  Stuff going on in the morning I didn't understand meant we weren't required until 1230pm.  Which gave me time to go to a local locksmith near the courthouse that's only open M-F 9-530pm to finally get a copy of the Miata key.  Bonus!

We filled out Dorothy Lane Market order forms for lunch for our deliberation, free Killer Brownies are always a good thing.  Unless the other jurors see it differently, I can't see us taking long.  The video and employee testimony alone are very compelling.

Boost_Crazy HalfDork
7/28/20 10:13 p.m.

Jerry, it’s terrific that you are participating in the process and doing your civic duty. It can be a very eye opening experience. However, it’s best not to discuss any details of the case while it’s in progress,  especially on a public forum. I know you mean well, but if it got back to the courtroom, it could be grounds for a mistrial and all of everyone’s time and effort would be for naught. 

Jerry UberDork
7/29/20 7:03 a.m.

In reply to Boost_Crazy :

I realized that, the last post was more detail than I meant.  It ends today, I have to admit I've enjoyed it.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
7/29/20 12:18 p.m.

We also have the "phone the night before" system. I've had to phone in about 5 times, but I've only had to show up once, and I wasn't selected.

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