I am on Jury Duty this week

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I am on Jury Duty this week

Post  williamwriter on Sun Mar 29 2009, 23:55

I may not be available this week depending on how jury duty goes.

Of course, I will bring a couple of books of poetry with me. Robert Frost and Shakespeare's Sonnets should fit the bill! Very Happy

I will let you know how it works out!

-William
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testing

Post  danellsw on Fri May 01 2009, 02:08

got logged off; testing getting back on

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So, how DID it work out?

Post  Dan Ellsworth on Fri May 01 2009, 02:10

Did you already tell somewhere? How was jury duty?

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Re: I am on Jury Duty this week

Post  William on Tue May 05 2009, 23:39

Hi, Dan

Well, it's so hard for me to understand. We moved back to Marion County in October of 1990 and it is now May of 2008. Over 17 years and I have finally been called to jury duty.

I went into a room with coffee and seats. I brought a book to read and listened to several apologetic speaches. I'd guess that two hundred people were present. The judges wanted a certain number of people and the Jury selectors called off a number of names. Perhaps as many as 20-30 people were called. My name wasn't. We were told that we could take a lunch break at about 11:00 AM and to be back by Noon. I ate lunch and came back ready to serve!

I am very patriotic and want to serve, to do my part, my fair share.

We came back and were told that we were free to go home and that we were each now exempted, at least for a year from the date selected.

Now, I hear all the time that the Judicial system is terribly backlogged and that courts are clogged with untried cases. So, why the apoligetic attitude! Why haven't I and others been called more?

Maybe I am not called because I am clean cut and neat. The guy that was covered head to toe with tattooes and enough metal stuck in his face and extremities to provide ballast for a battleship got called to serve.

So, jury duty for me consisted of about 4 hours of waiting. That was it.

-William
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Four Hours of Waiting

Post  Dan Ellsworth on Wed May 06 2009, 00:14

That's about what my jury experience was this year -- four hours of waiting. There were four potential jury cases up (or five) the day I went in. Apparently when contending parties are threatened with a possible actual jury trial, with a basement room of potential jurors ready to go, they negotiate a settlement (or in criminal cases, plea bargain), so in effect we invisible potential jurors scare people off from the full jury trial. And thus, however weirdly, we serve.

But I've never got all the way to trial. I've been retired a few years, I'm 65, I know it would be, uh, trying, because I'd try so hard to do well, but like you, William, I am ready to serve. Call me up, courts. I'm smart, I'm earnest, I'm available, I intend to do right. Put me to work, while I'm still able.

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Re: I am on Jury Duty this week

Post  William on Wed May 06 2009, 09:13

I loved your reply, Dan. I particularly loved this line and think it would be a great motto or refrigerator sign:

"...I am ready to serve. Call me up, courts. I'm smart, I'm earnest, I'm available, I intend to do right. Put me to work, while I'm still able." And the topper within the topper: "...while I'm still able."

I have served on a Jury, though. In fact, I served on three separate cases. Back in 1971 to 1974 timeframe, while stationed at Fleet Sonar School in Key West, Florida (in the Navy), I was summoned to Jury Duty.

The first case I was called to, a man was on trial for murder. Here's the story. He had entered a person's home at night and when she apparently heard him downstairs, she came down with a weapon of some sort. Might have been a baseball bat. He stabbed her with a screwdriver.


The Prosecution set out to prove that he was a burgler caught in the act. The defense claimed that he had simply walked into an unlocked house to get out of the rain in the middle of the night. When she approached with a weapon, he had to defend himself.
I didn't make it to the opening arguments! The Prosecutor questioned each of us and then the defence attourney did the same. As they questioned, they were able to dismiss jury members in what they called a jury selection. The defense attourney asked me, "If the jury came up with a guilty verdict, would I be for or against the death penalty. Of course, I was for it and I was dismissed for that trial.

The second case was a civil case. The Game Commission Officer stopped a boat and inspected the catch of Florida lobsters taken. The Lobster fishermen had taken some female lobsters out of season.
The question we had to decide on was whether the Game Commission Officer had probable cause to search the boat. The case, as I remember it, was thrown out by the judge when the lobsters in question turned out to be a yellow variety that was not protected by that law.

The third case was an assault case. A man and a woman got into a heated arguement in a local bar. The man ran home and got his double barrelled shot gun. She alleged that he had placed the V beween the two barrels on the bridge of her nose. He claimed that she had made up the story about the shot gun threat. He said he only brought it to the bar to show off.

After listening to the testamony of witnesses, we all came up with a guilty verdict, however, we had these choices. Innocent, Guilty of Assault, or Guilty of Assault and Battery. The Prosecution made the point that, though no actual physical damage was done and the shot gun was not loaded, just the fact that the weapon touched the victim was enough for the battery Charge. The emphasis was "What terror would go through your mind if a shot gun rested on your nose?". And the law plainly stated that the simple touching of an intrument of harm to a victim was enough to warrent a battery charge.
Of course, I was a strong advocate of tough law and I voted for the "Assault and Battery" charge. However, the other members cried out that the man was only 20 and would serve a good part of his young life behind bars...
With only two of us going for the Assault and Battery, and the other giving in, I held out for a bit, but then relented.

And isn't that the case, so much of the time. Yes, he broke the law and did wrong, but the poor dude will have to face this terrible punishment...

And that is why 20 year old kids think it is okay to place a shotgun between your eyes in a bar.

But that sums up my Jury Duty experiences.
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Yes, it would be trying

Post  Dan Ellsworth on Wed May 06 2009, 11:33

William, your experience reminds me of one thing: If I think the law is wrong, to the point where I would not be able to bring a true verdict, I need to get that out there while the jurors are being questioned. It sounds like the ten jurors in that one case were concerned, not with which level of the charge was true, but whether the resulting punishment was too severe for their beliefs. But as a juror, it's not my place to change the law; if that is my duty as a citizen, it needs doing before or after jury duty. While in the box or the jury room later, I should be able to focus on "a true verdict," as I've heard it called.

And I have some sympathy for your stand, reflecting that a shotgun held by a 20-year-old could do as much damage as one held by a more mature person.

Well, again, a trial could be trying, as your experience shows, but service sometimes is -- and needs doing. It's not that I would actually enjoy the experience or want it, but as a citizen I look at myself as a potential juror and say, "Put this man to work."

I appreciate being able to talk about jury duty with you.

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Re: I am on Jury Duty this week

Post  William on Wed May 06 2009, 23:03

Well, one consolation, Dan. If this person has a habit of showing up in a bar with a shotgun, sooner or later he will take it too far again. If he doesn't and has learned his lesson, then the law has done its duty.

So, while I wasn't completely satisfied that justice was done in this case, I was able to reconsile the outcome.

My thought was that just having a gun put in my face would probably cause me some amount of stress! Very Happy

But I am with you. We should not be trying to be the judge by trying to set the penalty. We should be giving a verdict based on the facts. If the judge feels that the person should be sentenced more or less, then he/she will give a minimum or maximum penalty or even put the person on probation.

Unfortunately, we do have some pretty awful judges out there! But in the end, we don't have to rely on the justice this world gives. Also, the deeds performed usually carry their own seeds of justice. But then, all this is another subject!
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