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: Federal jury duty  ( 3181 )
sofadoc
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« : July 22, 2011, 09:06:30 PM »

I just got off a week-long trial. There was a time in the not-too-distant past, when missing a week's pay would have been financially devastating. But thankfully, I've reached the point in my life now where I'm not going to miss any meals, or house payments.
It was a little frustrating though, that I was the ONLY self-employed member of the jury (everyone else got paid by their employer). And my commute was a good 100 miles a day farther than anyone else.
To top it off, it was a pretty frivilous lawsuit.
But it was more interesting than your average teen drama. It had everything from drugs, to bribery, to lesbianism (LOTS of lesbianism).
And some pretty big names were dropped during this trial.
In the end, we awarded the plaintiff an amount that will cover about 1/20th of her legal fees, and have forever effected change at a major university.
It isn't too often that you can throw 8 total strangers together, and expect them to like each other, but these people felt like friends that I've known all my life. 3 office workers, a school teacher, a cafeteria lady, 2 truck drivers.... and oh yeah, an upholsterer.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
bobbin
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« #1 : July 23, 2011, 05:02:25 AM »

I applaud you, Sofa.!  I know that jury duty can be a pain, but it's really important that each and every one of us steps up to the plate when called upon to serve.  It is a right guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, but it only works if everyone is willing to help.  I recall "getting it" when I sat in the jury pool and looked at the defendant... if I had been in that seat, facing serious legal charges, I'd sure want a jury that was willing to suspend their irritation at having their lives "disrupted" and was willing to listen to the evidence impartially and arrive at a decision.  I took that responsibility of my citizenship very seriously. 

Jury duty is great lesson in Civics.  One of my dearest friends is an attorney (a prosecutor) and I love discussing the law with her. 
gene
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« #2 : July 23, 2011, 08:14:10 AM »

I'm happy to hear a positive story about jury duty. Maybe that's just Texas.

About 2 or 3 years ago we had a trial about the murder of a 3 year old child. The jury found the foster parents guilty of the crimes that they were charged with. The big news paper in town published the names and addresses of the jury members because the news paper disagreed with the verdict.

I did a google search about ways to get out of jury duty. It seems the most popular way is to say you are gay. I wonder if that means 'gay' as in 'happy', or 'gay' as in you like to look at pictures of naked people of the same sex as you are?

gene
« : July 23, 2011, 08:15:17 AM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
bobbin
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« #3 : July 23, 2011, 08:28:09 AM »

C'mon, Gene,  enough of the 7th. grade foolishness, OK? I suspect you know damn right well what it means.  And why were you trying to find out how to get of jury duty anyway?   ;)

I believe that jurors names are part of the public record unless the judge specifically rules that they are to be kept confidential (when bribery is suspected or a defendant is particularly dangerous and "well connected").  So, the paper was well within its rights to publish the names of the jurors in the question. 
jojo
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« #4 : July 23, 2011, 09:57:08 AM »

I would LOVE to serve on a jury, and never get called! Guess that's the way it goes; the people who would do anything to get out of it always get called and those of us who want to never get called.
Sofadoc, was it an interesting case?
Btw Gene, can I play the gay card to get out of a traffic ticket?? Just wondering.
Mike8560
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« #5 : July 23, 2011, 03:15:03 PM »

Inwas called up for duty but after insatiable there all day they said they did t need us. Go home.
This was I. My local county.  How come tounhD to drive so far  why ?
Only a week it could have been worse like the anothy case  a month. 
sofadoc
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« #6 : July 23, 2011, 03:45:45 PM »

Sofadoc, was it an interesting case?
Didn't you read the part about bribery, drugs, and LOTS of lesbianism?
Of COURSE it was an interesting case ;D They don't write scripts in Hollywood any better!
The only bad part, was that the attorneys on both sides hammered mundane points "ad nauseum".
How come tounhD to drive so far  why ?
The case was in a federal courthouse for a district that covers 7 counties.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
scottymc
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« #7 : July 23, 2011, 05:59:07 PM »

I got called up for jury duty, I wanted to do it but it was a 3 hour round trip for a week. They did pay you $35 a day, but in the end it would have cost me money that I did not have at the time.

I would find it a problem if the identity of the jury was on the public record, I'm not sure if it is the case in Australia.
If a newspaper the right to publish the identity of a person doing a civic duty, putting them at risk of becoming a victim themselves, then there is something terribly wrong with that system and I'd be playing the gay card myself.
kodydog
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« #8 : July 24, 2011, 02:35:02 PM »

I was called to jury duty about 5 years ago. before jury selection began the judge said, if you feel you cannot fill your obligation then please come up front and explain why. I went up front (sorry Bobbin) and told the judge, I'm the sole owner of my company and right now the phone is ringing off the hook with no one to answer. The judge said, sir, that lady over there is a school teacher and she also had to give up her day to be here. I knew better than to argue so I sat back down. When jury selection began the judge pointed out myself and a lady to the lawyers and said we were here under protest. We both got picked.

It was an arson case. The estranged boyfriend tried to burn down hes ex-girlfriends house. Charges were brought up by the owner of the house. The main witness was the girlfriend. She was very hostile toward the boyfriend.

At noon I went out to my car to eat lunch. And who walks by? The boyfriend and girlfriend holding hands, smiling and just having a jolly old time. I was baffled.

The day of the fire the boyfriend bought gas at a local shop-n-go store. He had gas stains on his boots and cloths. He also had an accomplice but neither the prosecutor nor the defending lawyer called him. No one else saw him commit the crime.

When we went to the jury room we all said the same thing. The guy was guilty as hell but the prosecutor failed to prove his case. We had to let him go.

Sometimes I wonder if we should have professional jurors. Someone who knows a little about the law and especially about the jurors responsibilities. But I guess like everything this would be to easily corrupted.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
http://northfloridachair.com/index.html
sofadoc
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« #9 : July 24, 2011, 03:17:11 PM »

The judge said, sir, that lady over there is a school teacher and she also had to give up her day to be here.
OK, that was a LOUSY analogy by the judge! The school teacher gets paid whether she's at school, or at court. YOU on the other hand, don't have any income if your business is closed. I had to close my business for 5 days just because some spoiled rich girl thought she could "shake down" a major university. It was only because of a technicality that we had to award 1 semester of tuition ($20,000). Meanwhile, it cost her dad over 400 grand in legal fees over the last 5 years.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
byhammerandhand
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"By hammer and hand, all arts do stand."


« #10 : July 24, 2011, 09:32:37 PM »

I'd have to agree.  Our jury system here defines incompetence and glacial speed of the legal system.  When I was on a few years ago, it was a three-week tour of duty.   For that we got paid about 75% of what parking costs.   We showed up each morning, sat there from 8:30 on.   About 10am, they might start calling jury pools, or might not.   If you haven't been called by noon, you generally got sent home for the day.  On rare occasions, some percentage would get a call the night before and told they did not need to report the next day.   On a couple of occasions, I was called in the pool, but as an alternate that was not selected, or was selected but before the trial started, it was settled by plea bargain.    All told, for three weeks worth of lost time, I sat in 1 hour of vois dire (which they way they pronounced it would make a French person puzzled), two hours of trial and an hour of deliberation.

I do all in-home repair work by appointment.   How am I supposed to do work when I cannot predict when and if I am available at any given time in the next three weeks?

My nephew is a trial lawyer (we tried to disown him, but now we just say he's adopted).   He sits in court (all billable time for the client) while the rest of the judge's docket is called.  He has to be there because he does not know in advance the order in which the cases appear.  While he's waiting, he's working on his laptop (billable to another client).   Everyone else there is on salary.  When the docket is cleared all the lawyers and the judge go out golfing.  It's quite funny, but sad, the defendant is the odd-man out of this little fraternity.

Keith

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison
sofadoc
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« #11 : July 26, 2011, 06:50:11 PM »

Thought I'd do a little follow-up.
We weren't allowed to do any internet research about the lawsuit while it was going on. Now that it's over, I found quite a bit about it.
Turns out that the story got a fair amount of media coverage when the suit was first filed nearly 3 years ago. It's funny to go back and read those stories, now that I know what came out in court. A lot of allegations were proven false. Where's the media now, when it's time to set the record straight? The results of the trial got absolutely no media attention.
We see a lot of stories on the local news about mis-carriages of justice.
But seldom do they come back and report when it turns out that  someone got EXACTLY what they deserved.
Sometimes, the truth just isn't as sexy. Because of this, I'm even more skeptical of news coverage now than I was before.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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