Jury duty
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Author:  Channel Zero [ Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:38 am ]
Post subject:  Jury duty

Been stuck in jury duty selection over the last week or so. And now it looks like I'm "in the box". Looking forward to it.

It's curious that a number of folks don't care to serve. It's scary that a number of people, who might otherwise say how great our "founding fathers" and the body of laws they created, will ignore one the purpose of the fifth amendment.

You hear it from prospective jurors who just want to get out of their service:
    If he or she is there, they must be guilty of something.
    If he or she doesn't say anything on their behalf, then they're probably guilty.

And these are people who would otherwise call themselves Americans and tax payers with rights.

Author:  dori [ Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

On Olbermann's program, Bush said while pardoning the turkey that turkeys vote. Olbermann hinted that is how we got Bush.

Just keep in mind, turkeys vote. They also serve on jury duty.

Author:  Catherine [ Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Congratulations, CZ...update us on what's happening when you can.

I've served on several juries. The last time I was the forewoman of a jury that determined if a fellow from VA had been charged with DUI and speeding. I was negatively impressed by the behavior of the arresting officer during the hearing. He was very unprofessional. After hearing the testimony, we determined that while the fellow had been indeed exceeding the speed limit, he was not driving under the influence. We learned later that had the man been found guilty of DUI, he would have lost his job in Virginia.

Author:  Channel Zero [ Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

I served on a jury when I was in college -- just before finals!

I've got projects going on at work, but it seems that my boss is okay with my serving. I thought of making excuses, but didn't have the heart. Good thing. A lot of the excuses I heard were pathetic.

The judge kept asking the excuse makers if they really believed in the founding fathers. I got a kick out of that.

One thing is for sure, you must be extremely desperate or stupid to use a racist excuse like this one guy in a Fresno court.
During jury selection, Hall told the court he couldn’t be fair as a juror in a Hispanic man’s trial because research done by the station showed Hispanic males have a propensity to commit violent crimes.

I'll take an easy out, and, oh yeah, a career killer too, please!

I didn't think about this until now, but an accused appearing in court with jail clothing might bias his presumption of innocence, especially when it's coupled with the charge of abduction and murder.

Author:  Catherine [ Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Another jury I sat on many years ago was charged with determining if a man's widow was entitled to millions of dollars in damage payments by a telephone company. Her husband, a telephone company employee, had climbed a telephone pole to repair some lines when the temps had been way below freezing for several days. The pole's being frozen apparently gave a false reading when the man "sounded" it because while the man was at the top of the pole, it broke and the man fell to his death. It was a very complex case as the telephone company was sueing the organization it had hired which was supposed to monitor the condition of poles. During testimony, it was revealed that the employees of the monitoring organization had simply driven by the pole and given it "an eyeballing."

The case lasted a week, and we awarded the woman about half of what she and her attorneys were asking for. It wasn't that we hadn't felt that she deserved the rest of the money, but there were two women who were relatively uneducated on this particular jury. They stubbornly refused to acknowledge that the phone company had been negligent in several ways. They put the blame solely on the deceased employee who they said should have known the pole was frozen and not climbed the thing. They also believed that the widow, who was young, would marry again and do just fine. (I think they were secretly jealous of her...)!

We were stuck with either becoming a hung jury or compromising with the two stubborn jurors and giving the widow half of what she was asking. As a result, the phone company came out smelling like a rose.

This case taught me something that I've never forgotten. If I ever get into trouble and require a jury of my "peers" to determine my fate, I'll want the most educated people sitting on it I can find.

Author:  Channel Zero [ Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Interesting story, Catherine.

It sounds like the two jurors were putting more into their decision than was required; i.e., the widow's ability to possibly remarry.

From what I understand, there's a difference in jury verdicts, depending on the case being criminal or civil -- at least around here. It only takes three-fourths of the jurors for a civil case. But it sounds like you all needed these two stubborn jurors.

Actually, the widow did all right, it seems, if she was only awarded half of the millions.

Author:  Catherine [ Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Yes, the widow did ok....and I believe she did remarry a short time later...but the attorneys didn't do as well because they were taking their fees from a percentage of what she got.

One thing that I'll always remember about that case other than the two stubborn jurors... one of the two attorneys kept referring to the deceased husband by the wrong first name. You know how they do...try to make the jury feel as though they know the "victim" personally. I kept getting confused, wondering who the hell he was talking about! The judge didn't look none too pleased, either, and finally he reminded the attorney what the fellow's name was.

I don't remember the actual situation as to why we had to have a unanimous verdict, but it may have had something to do with the complexity of the case.

Author:  A Proud Liberal [ Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

I served as foreman on a jury in Orange County California. It was a civil case that required 6 of 8 to agree. The plaintiff was a young woman who had been raped in a motel room. The defendant was the motel owner accused of providing poor security. The plaintiff spoke only Spanish, the motel owner spoke only Chinese. Members of the jury were required not to be able to understand either. The thinking was all jurors would get equal information from the translators. It turned out the motel owner owned several motels but had decided the clientele of this particular motel (mostly Mexican) weren't deserving of any security measures. The jury decision came in two parts. First, whether the motel owner was liable. The vote here was 6 to 2 of liability. When the two negative jurors tried to have input on the amount (they wanted to award $1), the second decision for the jury had to make, I informed them they would be consulted only if the six of us couldn't come to a decision. We awarded the full asking amount plus 20 percent, $240,000. The two negative jurors were older women that said she had been asking for the rape. It was then I came the conclusion that some women are the worst of enemies to women as a whole.

Author:  Catherine [ Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

When you get a chance, about an update on your jury experience?

APL, that is a very interesting story about the motel owner!

Ever done federal jury duty?

Author:  Channel Zero [ Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

We just finished a two day deliberation on a three-count, sexual felony case. It was extremely emotional for some.

The defendant was accused of taking two girls (one 11 and 18 at the time) against their will for forced oral copulation. The evidence found the defendant to be guilty, in some form, to all three counts.

The sad thing is that this guy had a wife and two young girls (five and younger) of his own. He claimed to be looking for hookers and wasn't aware of their ages. It was obvious these kids looked young.

They polled us and I was not sad for the dude like some of the others. I was mad that he let himself get into that situation and ruin so many peoples lives -- not just the kids he affected, but his family's as well.

Author:  dori [ Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Sad for him? He is the one who caused all this pain.

I will never understand people who feel sad for the perpetrator. This is the person who forced himself on two underaged females, ruining his family as well as the girls he attacked.

I feel sad for the situation in Illinois because a crazy person is doing great damage to the government. Somehow, I don't feel sad for a man attacking two young girls.

Author:  A Proud Liberal [ Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

Catherine wrote:
Ever done federal jury duty?

No, I haven't and I suspect I'm on some exclusionary list because of having more intelligence than the average rock—suspicions only but so far not contradicted. :? :lol:

The type of jury duty that appeals to me would be Grand Jury duty where each juror is allowed to ask questions but alas that has not arisen either. :dontknow:

Author:  Channel Zero [ Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty

The nice thing about the experience is that I got to meet 15 nice people. (12 jurors and 3 alternates.)

Some of the jurors vowed to get together again, because they developed somewhat of a friendship.

Some of us were interested in going to the sentencing.

Interestingly, the audience area did not have many visitors at all. There were a couple of reporters lurking, though. And then there was the defendant's wife and two kids.

Oh, the story the dude must have told his wife about how his situation. She did not show up, I believe, for the verdict. She would have seen the defendant cry like a baby.

Author:  Catherine [ Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Jury duty


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