Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I think it's astounding that the most frequent excuse that I hear from people for not voting is that they don't want to be called for jury duty. When I explain how easy it is to be excused from jury duty, they say they still don't want to take the chance. My brother scolded me for telling people that, reminding me of the saying, "Would you like to be tried by a jury with people who were too dumb to get out of jury duty?"

I think it's my patriotic duty to serve on juries and over the years, I have served on Municipal, Grand, and Petit juries. Defense attorneys usually excuse me and I think it's because I have terminated people. That is rather ironic as I think I would be a juror who would be very sympathetic of the rights of defendants. At one voir dire, a defense attorney asked me how many people I had fired and I answered that I hadn't counted the notches on my gun belt that morning. Yes, I knew that being a smart-aleck would get me excused, but I didn't want to serve on that particular case.

One time when I served on a Breaking and Entering case, I believed that the prosecutor did not meet the burden of proof and I voted for acquittal. One of the male jurors also voted to acquit, thus the vote was 10 to 2 for conviction. The jurors agreed to discuss the case and the man who voted with me for acquittal said that he would never believe a word a cop said and he wouldn't vote for conviction. I told him that he had to be removed. He told me I was crazy because he had voted with me. I told him that I had arrived at my decision based on the evidence and that I wasn't prejudiced and he was. He was removed when I notified the judge. When the alternate juror was seated the vote was 11 to 1. Yes, I hung the jury!

After the trial, I went to the prosecutor and told him I'd like to give him a suggestion. He was immediately interested as he knew that when the jury was polled I had been the lone vote for acquittal. He told me he was shocked that I was the holdout because I had been so attentive. I told him that I knew that attorneys think they can read juries, but it was my job to be attentive. He asked why I had voted for acquittal and I told him that he hadn't met the burden of proof and he asked me for examples which I provided. He asked about the juror who'd been replaced and I told him that he had also voted to acquit. He said he couldn't believe that I went to the judge about the one who was voting with me. I answered, "He was prejudiced; I wasn't." I then asked him, "You know how the defense always asks the question whether we would believe a police officer more than other people?" He nodded and I said, "You should ask if we would believe a police officer LESS." I said, "You know if we answer yes to the defense on the first question, we'll be excused, and if we answer yes on the second question, you'll remove us!" I continued, "I think that guy would have been excused from jury duty if you had asked that question!"

At the second trial, the defendant obviously had a better lawyer because he was acquitted.

At a drunk driving case, I was in the venire waiting to be questioned and six jurors had already been seated. One of my former teachers was called for voie dire and I knew that she was near my mother's age and she could have been excused because of her age. She sat down and immediately turned to the judge and announced, "Your Honor, I need to tell you that I think drinking is a sin!" The defense attorney immediately jumped up and said that he wanted to poll the jury because she had corrupted the jury pool. He was then allowed to ask questions about the beliefs and drinking habits of the jurors and prospective jurors and two who had been seated were excused. When it was my turn, the defense attorney asked if I thought drinking was a sin and I answered, "No, merely foolish!" I was excused.

At a dope related case, the defense attorney had to punch the defendant in the side to wake him. During my voir dire on that case, I answered that I thought the use of the drug was "merely foolish" and I was excused by the prosecutor.

I doubt if I'll ever serve on another jury (CLICK HERE to see my BLOG article JURY DUTY), if not for requesting "affirmation", then because of age!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What age can you be excused automatically? ML