Oh NO! (gasp) jury duty!!!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Allred, Feb 23, 2002.

  1. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    No, not the wretched Pauly Shore "comedy".
    On Valentine's Day, all I got was a lousy jury summons.
    Now I know I'm not the only one who HATES this crap. Being legally required to serve (or at least show up at the courthouse and sit around for hours) is BS. There are people who would love to do it, why not set up a 'preferred list'? lol.
    Seriously, the LAST kind of person I'd want on a jury if I was a defendant is a person who's plain furious to be there from the start.
    I had a jury summons about a year ago. Had to call this number for 30 days to see if my number was called.
    29 days go by and I'm thinking I'm all set right? Wrong. Day #30 I was called in. Yay for me.
    So we basically sit around in a room for 2 hours only to be later informed that the defendant changed his plea to guilty and we were no longer needed. (Turned out, the guy killed a woman and burned her body in a large barbecue pit in his back yard.)
    So this Valentine's I got a new one. First time I didn't mind THAT much since the courthouse was 15 minutes from me. The new one would require me to drive over an hour. ACK! Wish me luck that my number won't be called eh? It didn't say I'd have to check in for a month though. It just gave ONE specific date and that I had to call in the night before.
    One thing that bugged me was, they sent a questionaire with it. One of those questions asked "What do you do in your spare/private/leisure time?" Huh? I'm sorry but that is NOBODY'S business but my own, certainly NOT the government's so I simply wrote down "private".
    Anybody else get called in for jury duty? Any stories to share?
     
  2. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure how jury duty works, but don't they have an interview with you beforehand (with the lawyers present) before the trial starts? If this is the case, I don't think it would be THAT hard to get out of it [​IMG]
    Peter
     
  3. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    What a headache. I sympathize.
    But still... it's better than actually watching the Pauly Shore movie! [​IMG]
     
  4. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    I have allways wondered how this works?

    Are you picked out randomly?

    Do you get paid for the lost time?

    Tell me more, we don´t have this kind of system in Sweden..
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Jens, each state has its own court system, and there's also a separate federal system. So the rules and procedures for jury duty vary considerably depending on where you live. But in general:

    Prospective jurors are called up for service using some combination of voter lists, taxpayer lists, lists of licensed drivers, and other lists of residents maintained by the government. Jurors are selected from the pool by a process known as "voir dire" in which someone (depending on the jurisdiction, it can be the lawyers, the judge or both) interviews prospective jurors to learn about their background. Most people called for jury duty do not end up serving on a jury.

    In most jurisdictions, jurors receive some measure of compensation for their time, but it's seldom enough to make up for any lost income. However, many employers will continue to compensate people for time spent on jury duty, within limits. The people most at risk of lost income are those who are self-employed.

    Some jurisdictions recognize a wide array of excuses that exempt people from jury duty. Others have abolished all or most of those exemptions. For example, here in New York, professionals such as lawyers and doctors used to be automatically exempt. Now they're not; in fact, about the only excuse that gets accepted is when someone is the primary caregiver for a small child.

    M.
     
  6. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand it's such a headache to participate, but it is a constitutional right to have a trial by jury. If it wasn't implemented this way, there wouldn't be enough people to make up the juries.

    And honestly, if you were on trial, would you WANT to have a jury there of people who had nothing else to do than serve on a jury? That LIKED being on a jury. Can you say power trip?

    About having a jury that is furious to be there, I think people should grow up. In many countries this system of ours would be a godsend. If a little service is required to maintain it, I'm all for it.

    But reporting to a court house an hour away does suck a lot. That should be refined so you report to the nearest one.
     
  7. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    But can´t this system be dangerus,if the jury

    isn´t at all interested and just want to get home?

    Everybody should get a fair trial...
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    I have never been on a jury, but my mind is so twisted I would hear what the guy is accused of and would immediately make up my mind right there. I know thats not right, but I don't want to serve on a jury. It is a waste of my time. I've got better things to do, like earn a living and spend money to help the economy. Being stuck in a courthouse waiting or a court room sleeping is not a productive way to spend my day. It may be productive for the lawyers and judges, but hey...that's their job, that's what they like to do.

    I know it is my duty, but being in a free country I should have the right to choose whether I want to participate in certain government functions. And this one I do not want to.
     
  10. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  11. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    [humor] If you truly don't want to be on a jury, during the voir dire, when the attorney asks if you would be a good juror, simply say "You bet, cause I can spot a guilty sucker the minute he steps in a room!"

    Bet you'll be gone before noon![/humor]

    Seriously, go do the right thing. Help further our justice system. It's your way of making a difference.
     
  12. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Or to paraphrase the great Homer J., "I'd make a great juror - I'm prejudiced against EVERYONE."
     
  13. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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  14. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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  15. Jeffrey_Jones

    Jeffrey_Jones Second Unit

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    Do you think your attitude toward jury trials would change if you or someone you cared about ended up on the wrong side of the law?

    To paraphrase something I heard on West Wing - "If you skip out on jury duty, you can never complain about the O.J. Simpson verdict again".

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  16. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Jury duty is a DUTY, it should not be easy to get out of. Of course, I'm not a citizen, so I get out by just checking the "I am not a US citizen" box on the reply form. [​IMG]
    Theo, in Sweden there are three instances of courts: the lower court (tingsrätt), middle court (hovrätt) and high court/supreme court (högsta domstolen).
    The lower court consists of one judge and five laymen, who are not educated in law, but have a "steady job" at the court. It's not really a job, it's an honorary position, that is normally given to them based on work in a political party. It doesn't pay much, so a lot of them are retired people. It works sort of like a jury.
    In the middle court (to which you can appeal a decision from the lower court), there are 3 judges and 2 laymen, and in the supreme court, there are 5 judges.
    There is no jury system like the one in the US in Sweden, except for cases that fall under the laws about freedom of the press.
    /Mike
     
  17. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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  18. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I was recently called for Jury duty, and while it was a total pain, I too found that once I was there I was interested in doing my best. I think most of the people called felt the same way. You figure "someone's got to do it, and as long as the State is going to give me a hard time about, I might as well do a good job."

    I was brought up for selection twice during the day, but never chosen. The first case was murder case that was really messed up: A woman and her on-the-side boyfriend kill her husband and then get married. But then they get caught, and the woman pleads guilty. She gets offered a deal and testifies against her now husband, who is pleading innocent.

    The second case was a civil suit that sounded like a pretty crazy traffic accident that ended up with a woman suing her sister (who was driving one of the cars). I was questioned by the lawyers, and lets just say that after I gave a short speech about stupid traffic accident law suits contributing to both my high insurance premiums and America's reprehensible victim culture (when did we decide not to be tough anymore?) the plaintiff's council took me off the list! But I did get a rousing murmur of agreement from the rest of the prospective jurors!
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  20. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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