This story about John Kerry having jury duty in Suffolk, Massachusetts, which I thought was interesting, leads me to ask this question today: Who here has had jury duty, and what experiences did you have involving it?
As for myself, so far the only time I've been called for jury duty was a few months after my 18th birthday-- and I was chosen to serve on the jury. It involved a man who attempted, unsuccessfully, to steal a car from a used car lot late at night. He walked home from a strip club, went down a few blocks to the used car lot, smashed open an office window (tripping a silent alarm in the process), stole several ignition keys, and started up a car. A police helicopter arrived around that point, filming everything, and for some reason our brilliant culprit decided to leave the car and try to escape on foot.
He was eventually caught in a maintenance closet in a nearby apartment complex. Fortunately he hadn't hurt anybody. But aside from the testimony of the arresting police officer and the one in the chopper, there were several other damning pieces of evidence.
First off, obviously the helicopter was filming the guy as he left the site of the used car lot and ran into the apartment complex. It didn't actually show him in the car, but when the helicopter's camera went back to the scene of the crime, we could see the heat from the car's engine because it was in night vision. It had clearly been turned on and been on for several minutes.
And upon his arrest, the guy was carrying a screwdriver in his pocket, which he'd apparently used to jimmy open the door of the car. The fact that the guy had carried a screwdriver with him from a strip club led to many laughs in the jury room, including this gem: "Is that a screwdriver in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
Anyway, it was an open-and-shut case-- there was way too much evidence against him, and his explanations were flimsy at best. We chose to convict him. But that wasn't the end of it-- we were then told that he'd had two prior convictions, and the prosecutor showed us the documentation on that, asking us to classify him as a habitual offender. According to Indiana Code 35-50-2-8, subsection H, "The court shall sentence a person found to be a habitual offender to an additional fixed term that is not less than the advisory sentence for the underlying offense nor more than three (3) times the advisory sentence for the underlying offense. However, the additional sentence may not exceed thirty (30) years."
I can't remember what the other two offenses were, but in any case... we got him classified as a habitual offender, and no doubt he's still behind bars. Better luck next time, buddy.
Another funny quote, this one from the defense attorney: "No one ever accused my client of being smart." Which was probably the one crime he's never been accused of.
Anyone else got any jury duty stories? Or has served on a jury?
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I got called in for jury duty a few months ago. I got as far as the selection process, but it was a drug trial and I have too many issues with this and that and the other and was dismissed. That was it.
Best question asked by one of the lawyers: "How do you feel about neck tattoos?"
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I have had to go to jury duty 3 or 4 times, and was actually selected once. It was a civil case, a guy had slipped on a wet floor in a grocery store. It wasn't too bad, as it was an experimental trial where each side had 4 hours to make their case, then the jury got to deliberate and then we could come back and ask questions.
I was elected foreman, so I got to ask the questions, which was neat. In the end, the person got some money (the store admitted fault, but they couldn't agree on a settlement), and it was less than he could have settled for had the case not gone to trial. He was trying to milk it when he already had a bad back.
I always wanted to serve on a jury, so now I can check that one off life's checklist...
I was summoned once, but didn't make it past selection. When interviewed by the judge, I decided to be brutally honest.
(judge starts the basic questions, namely if I could judge a case based on the facts alone)
"Sir, my hesitation to take part in this stems from the fact that I had to leave my job in the middle of a night shift to be here, am on maybe three hours of sleep, I had to ride 30 minutes in an uncomfortable bus all the way here, I was made to wait upwards of another 30 minutes just to then be taken into ANOTHER waiting room for another 20 minutes before finally coming here. I now have ZERO interest in doing this."
Quick consultation among the lawyers and the judge let me go. They paid me 19.20$ (just enough for dinner) and I was on my way home to sleep for the rest of the day. :)
I only got to the questioning process. I was denied as a juror as soon as I was asked if I was related to, or had a close friend who worked in the police force. When I said "yes" to both, I was immediately dismissed.
"Oh it's on like Donkey Kong !!!" - Stifler, American Wedding
I got called for jury selection back in January. It was just show up, sit around, see if your name gets called. I showed up, sat around, and my name was not called. Everybody who was there was openly hoping not to get picked.
You wanted the best, you got... Out of Context Quote of the Week.
"I have no reason left to live. Now where the hell does this 7 go?" (Spank E)
While I haven't been called, I'd imagine my career would kind of disqualify me. Sure, I just deal in sports news, and any potential case would probably not be anywhere near the coverage area, but it's just good to know.
I was called about two years ago and served. The case was a 41 year old guy (who looked 18) who had sex with a 14 year old girl (who also looked 18). It was pretty open and shut, since the guy knew how old the girl was and was taking advantage of her countless life problems. It was a sad case, and was the sort of thing that made me even more aware of the fact that people do very bad things to other people. I do understand why people get out of jury duty when they can (I am a salaried employee, and don't care that much if my workload backs up for a week!), but it is IMHO one of those things in life that people should do, for the experience and perspective, in addition to the civic duty aspect of it.
As sad as the case was, there was one thing that was kind of funny. The girl's father suspected something was up with his daughter. She came home in the morning from being out all night, and he knew she wasn't where she was supposed to be. He made her give him her underwear, the very pair she was wearing that night. He went to the police station, explained the situation, and they ended up um..."finding traces of the defendant on the underwear." With the panties being submitted as evidence that he had sex with the underage girl, the defense lawyer, grasping at the smallest and last straw that he could, claimed that he might have been wearing her panties, as "we all know that some people are into.....different....things." We were roaring over that one in the jury room.
I was picked on go to Jury Duty twice, and both times I got into the courtroom but was never picked to even get a chance to be on the Jury. Each time I kept thinking about how to get off while still being honest. I was going to go the "I'm not only Republican, but I listen to Rush Limbaugh and sports talk radio" route, but thankfully it never came to that. I also didn't want to get picked because both times I had a job that wouldn't compensate me for the lost time (other than the 5 dollars from the state).
I'm not the outgoing type when I don't know people. After the first time almost getting picked, I started talking to this girl who was equally excited not to have been picked for the jury. We actually hit it off, I talked to her all day as we waited around doing nothing, and I got her digits and she took mine on our actual jury badges. Alas, I was off to college soon after, although we were going to go to a 311 show before I left. I called her once, and she said she couldn't go, and that was that. GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE!
Last August, right before I was to start a new job, I was called and seated for a week-and-a-half aggravated reckless homicide trial. The kid, 17, argued with his girlfriend, drank a few pints and jumped in his souped-up Mustang to speed off onto foggy country roads. Killed a woman.
Problem was, they didn't do a BAC test on-site (since he was, you know, pretty much dying) and by the time they did it at the hospital a few hours later they'd pumped so much lactate ringers in him that the test was about .03-.04. A doctor pretty much proved he'd be over the limit if they took it at the scene, but ten other jurors disagreed and so we found guilty of reckless homicide and not guilty on the aggravated.
Kid, now 20, got eight consecutive weekends in the clink.
The nicest thing about jury duty: the jury room at the Randolph County Courthouse in Chester overlooks the Mississippi River and a good portion of eastern Missouri, affording us a grand view.
My jury duty was spread over two days in the pool. I made the cut for one jury: an assault and battery case. Oddly enough, we couldn't decide on what constituted assault and battery, and neither attorney defined it in their arguments. When we called the judge to the jury room and asked, he said he couldn't tell us the definition. We found the defendant guilty based on our best guess of the charges (and he had definitely instigated the incident).
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I have been called twice. The first time was negated because I had moved between when they got my address and when I moved.
The second time I had to go up to Fitchburg about a year ago, where I read some of Foley's second book and was dismissed and back at home by 12:00. Still got hit for the parking though... They should pay for that!
Murphy's Law "The odds of the bread landing buttered side down are directly proportional to the price of the carpet."