Jury duty

I had jury duty the other day. I was actually going to be gone during the time when I was supposed to serve so I went down to the court house to get an exemption and the clerk said, “Well, I have a trial tomorrow. Wanna come then? Do you have anything going on?” I’m 6 months pregnant… Yep. I have lots going on but I couldn’t think of a legitimate excuse so I said, “Ummmm… Yep. I’ll be here!”

I’ve never done jury duty before. The most interesting thing to me was the jury selection process. (I didn’t make it past this process so… it’s the only process I’ve seen.)

I was called up to sit in the jury box with 11 others (it may be noted that this is an extremely small town so many of us knew each other at least in passing.) Then the prosecutor and the defense attorney were allowed to ask us questions. (It may also be noted that at 34, I was the oldest person in the jury box and the only one who was married. Several people had kids but I was the only one who was married, with kids and over 30.) Even more interesting than the questions we were asked by the lawyers, which were mostly designed to weed out those who didn’t understand or couldn’t be educated about due process, was the list of personal questions we provided answers to in order to help the court room understand more about us. Very revealing. jury

It kinda shoots the whole theory of “you can’t judge a book by its cover, or at least by the blurb on the back” all to hell.

How old are you? Do you have children? What do your parents do? What is your line of work? What is your highest level of education? What kinds of books do you read? What kind of music do you listen too? Where did you grow up? What do you like to watch on TV?

The answers seemed to put us all in very well categorized boxes. Maybe I’m just good at snapping to quick judgments about people but I could almost guess who was going to swing what way if we got into the deliberation room.

Truth: the case was a domestic violence case with no witnesses and only hearsay evidence so when they drew 6 names out of a hat and told those six to leave for no reason and mine was the first one picked, I was kinda glad because maybe, as much as I think I’m good at reading people, I’m not.2005-03-02

 

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3 thoughts on “Jury duty”

  1. That is the democratic process at work! The process of selecting the jury is called voir dire- both sides get to say yes or no to potential jurors- so many per side- until all jurors are seated. It is actually really cool 🙂

  2. Sounds like too much manipulation to me. Surely each jury should comprise people selected at random as a reasonably fair representation of the population as a whole.

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