Have you ever served on a jury?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I received a letter in the mail today that I am being considered for jury duty. It was sent to my old address so I don't think I will have to serve, since it's in a different county.

    But then I was thinking, do they make teachers do jury duty? I'm sure they do, and that no profession is immune to it, but it just seems a little weird to have a teacher serve, since you technically don't know how long you will be gone. It seems like it would cost the state a fortune, since they have to pay for subs. Plus, high-stakes testing is such a big deal and research has shown that student achievement goes down when teachers are frequently absent.
     
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  3. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    I'm not sure if it varies from state to state Driving Pigeon, but I have had one of my colleagues out for the week because of jury duty.

    Unfortunately, I highly doubt they think about the effects of pulling a teacher out of the classroom for a few days. I can't imagine that's a reason they would make teachers immune to jury duty.
     
  4. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Someone at my school last year was out for almost two weeks because of jury duty. I also recall it happening several times to the teachers at my school when I was in elementary school. So being a teacher definitely doesn't exempt you around here anyway (or NY, where I grew up).
     
  5. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    I know that around here, you cannot get out of it just because you are a teacher but you can postpone serving until the summer when you are not in school.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    You absolutely can't get out of it here. A few years ago, one of our special ed teachers got put on a murder case, and was out for six weeks!
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I was called three times, got it postponed once, but never had to serve. They just didn't pick me. I think it might be interesting to serve!
     
  8. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Here in LA county, you can postpone it until you are on a break (winter, spring, or summer), no questions asked. Depending on who handles your excuse when you go into the cubicles, you might even get to choose your week.

    Also, you might get excused by the judge when you get into the courtroom. Then, it counts as your once per year civic duty.

    good luck!
    db
     
  9. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    When you go to the main juror room, the judge will ask people to come forward who believe they have a reason they can't serve. You could then tell him you're a teacher and he may dismiss you but probably not. You can always postpone.

    I have served before but not while I was a teacher. I get called quite often. My husband just laughs because he has only been called once.

    Normally what they do is send 30 or 40 prospective jurors from the big pool to court rooms. How many "mini pools" they have depends on when you go and what type of court it is. Those who don't get chosen for mini pools get to go home. If you end up having to go to a courtroom (mini pool) for jury selection and you did not get a seat number, try to be one of the last ones in the room if you don't want to serve. They fill the jury starting with seat one. If they need 12 jurors, they will most likely not get past seat 20.
     
  10. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Here in my county in Texas it doesn't work that way. One time I was summoned for County court. I went but did not have to serve on a jury. I got called just 3 months later for the same County court and I called them to tell them I already appeared 3 months earlier, they told me it didn't matter I still had to come because that wasn't technically serving on a jury. Our county duty is once every 6 months. I am not sure how often the municipal court one is, but I know it is separate from the county. I have served that as a "night court" juror.
     
  11. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    In NJ you can only be called once every three years to be a petit juror. I think grand jury is once every five years. I had this about seven years ago and fortunately I only had to report 2 days out of a two week serving time. I just received notification I need to report in May for 3 days. The only time a teacher can get out is if a district cannot find a suitable sub for you. I usually don't postpone because I do not want to go during the winter or get called during a break.
     
  12. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I've never had to serve on a jury but I know in my district it counts as an excused absence if you can provide proof. I haven't been called since I moved although they sent one to my parents house in another county (I didn't have to go) and I used to get out of it bc I was in a volunteer fire dept unit. But I actually look forward to it bc I had a jury find me innocent in a car accident trial and I was so thankful!!
     
  13. FarFromHome

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    I've never had to. When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher said that he got called. He did not end up having to go-I think he wrote a letter saying something about serving the community by teaching. He was the choir teacher at the only high school in our district-so it would have probably been very difficult to have him missing if it was around contest or concert time.
     
  14. Major

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    I've served on lots of juries...... It's not a bad thing..... And quite honestly in my opinion... it's your duty..:)
     
  15. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Yes, but who wants a juror seated who doesn't want to be there? :eek: Not me, especially if I am on the stand!:help:
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Yeah, I get that. I never said I wouldn't do it or that I would try to get out of it.

    Like I said, I won't have to because the letter was for my old county. I was just curious about teachers serving.
     
  17. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    DPigeon-- I got a Wisconsin jury summons sent to my mom's house after I had lived in Texas for 10 or 12 years!
     
  18. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I have been called several times... have gotten deferred because I teach a grade that participates in state testing. Had to serve right before school started last year- blech!
     
  19. KinderCowgirl

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    I've been summoned 3 times, but never been chosen (came very close last time -they didn't have enough acceptable members so they dismissed everyone to start choosing again.

    I know we have an important job but look at salespeople, doctors, anyone self-employed for whom losing a week means losing all paying customers, which means no salary. The only ones exempt here are students.

    I still think jury members should be trained and hired as a permanent job. Think of all the knowledge of the law they would have and it would be perfect for retirees or people who needed temporary gigs.
     
  20. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Teachers are not excused from juries where I am. Every time I go to jury service, EVERYONE has a reason why they can't serve. Most people have jobs where others are depending on them. If the only people who served were those without jobs where people depend on them, or people who don't have children, or people who don't need to go to work, then juries wouldn't really be very representative! We are supposed to get a jury of our peers, and not a jury of people who don't have someplace better to be.

    I did feel that it was awkward being called for jury duty last year as a teacher. You don't know if you should get a sub in advance, because then, if you call the court number the eve before, and they say don't come in, do you cancel your sub? Or not get a sub until the last minute? Last year, I called the court number the evening before, and was told to call again at 11:30, so was I supposed to cancel my sub, go to work, but then maybe leave at 11:30 and have no sub? I decided to stay home, with the idea that I'd already spent time making plans for the sub, and that I could take it as a sick day because it came at a time of year when I was pretty beat. Of course, since I stayed home, I ended up calling at 11:30 and being dismissed. A friend made the opposite decision recently--he called at 5 pm, was told to call in at 11:30, so he went to work, and then he had to report to court at 1:00, so other teachers had to cover for him, which is always a pain. I hate period subbing! I always feel as if I need the prep time about 3 times more than I need the money!


    It's just such a pain, because you don't really know which days you will be out. Two years ago, I was called, went in, got picked for the pool... voir dire took two days, but not consecutive days! Then I got dismissed, with one lawyer's peremptory challenge, after I was sure I would be on the jury. About 2 hours later, apparently, a plea bargain was reached, and everyone was dismissed. It's hard to deal with that kind of unpredictability when it's not just you, it's five different classes, three lesson plans, and a sub involved. If I'd KNOWN for sure that I would be there on Monday, Wednesday, and half a day Thursday, it would have been easier than not knowing until 3 pm Monday that I would not need to come on Tuesday, but that I would need to be there on Wednesday, and possibly every day for the next three weeks! It's so much harder than it was when I had an office job. Then, if I had to be on a jury for three weeks, someone would have had to get some kind of temporary help, but the three hours here or there wouldn't have been a problem.
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Yikes, I didn't think of the doctor thing. They should definitely be exempt! What if they were called to perform an emergency surgery, or deliver a baby?!

    If only students are exempt I wonder why they ask "What is your occupation?" instead of "Are you a student?"
     
  22. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I've been called, but never lucky enough to serve. Guess a case hasn't come up yet in which they think I'd be unbiased....harrumph! I guess I look like a crotchety old lady...yelling "Let 'em fry!" doesn't seem to help my chances.
     
  23. Ms. I

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  24. Bored of Ed

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    Wow, just got a summons today and when I come here to see who I can whine to, this thread is already up and waiting!

    Now, I have no problem doing my civic duty. In fact, I would have LOVED to do it any time during the past TEN MONTHS when I was unemployed and going out of my gourd from boredom. But now, as soon as I accept a job...!!! Note that my job is paid per hour, not full time, so I don't get anything when I'm not there. And I'd make nearly as much per hour at work as they pay per day of jury duty.

    I highly doubt they let students off here, but jury hours do overlap a bit with my graduate courses (especially if you count the commute time) and I am VERY anxious about missing them.

    My first day of duty also happens to be the day of my nephew's bar mitzvah.

    So, long live the right to trial by jury, but WHY NOW????

    Sigh. I guess I will be asking for a postponement this time but there's really no better time. The best time would have been, say, a month ago. Or two. Or three. SIGH.
     
  25. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Students don't need to serve here. They can if they want.

    Our JD pay is $6.00 a day:(
     
  26. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    $6/day?! That's obscene...

    Anyone know if students can get off in NY? Somehow I doubt it but could be good to know... I hear they're tough here about excuses to get off cases.
     
  27. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Why would you want to do that? I was called up a few yaers back and it was in the Summer break. As it would have meant re-scheduling my vacation I postponed and they called me up later in the year. I have to leave 2 weeks work behind for the cover teachers.
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Last time I got called (NJ), I was able to postpone until summer (I really prefer not to miss school- I love when I go to workshops, but going through all the work for a sub for who knows how long a trial could take, I decided to postpone it...) So I went in the summer, got called for the jury pool for two different cases- the first one seated quickly and the second one settled before they chose the jury. After that one day they sent us home... You don't get paid for your jury duty service in NJ if you are a teacher as you are already a public employee. I think the pay is only about $10 a day but still it would pay for gas!! It wasn't fun...bring a bag of books with you.
     
  29. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    and water. Change for vending would be good too.
     
  30. Tasha

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    In Texas they used to excuse teachers but several years ago someone argued that teachers were the biggest base of educated civic-minded people and are in fact ideal for serving on juries due to having to make fair judgements all day in our profession. I'd really like that person to come sub for someone on a jury for 5 or 6 weeks ;) I haven't ever had to serve. Several years ago there was a really terrible chemical plant explosion in a small city near me. Almost every person in this city has a family member working at the plant and when they had the trial it was very difficult to find people not connected to the plant. One of the kindergarten teachers that I know was out for many months with the trial.
     
  31. Tasha

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    You should be able to be excused if you are a student. Think of it this way - if you served for several weeks and were not able to attend classes you would fail, who would pay you back for the cost of that class?
     
  32. lemonhead

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  33. Mamacita

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    I think every civic-minded person should serve on at least one jury in his/her lifetime. Juries of unemployed, toothless, alcoholic, smoking dropouts are hardly "peers" for most of us!

    However, I also believe there are mitigating circumstances that merit a postponement.

    Oh, and that $6 a day? You'll have to give that to your school system's business office, because they won't allow you to be paid twice for one day. Sigh.

    Be thankful that smoking is no longer allowed in most jury rooms. There was a young woman on my last round of duty who smoked four packs a day, even though she was in a tiny windowless room with eleven other coughing people. No courtesy or ethics whatsoever, on her part. I would not consider HER a peer, either.

    Is my snobbery showing? Good. If more of us were a little snobbish, maybe things wouldn't be catering to the lowest common denominator all the time and getting away with it.
     
  34. NJArt

    NJArt Comrade

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    I got a summons a few weeks ago for Grand Jury... It was for once a week for 9 weeks. I asked to have it postponed because I see each class of students once per week. If I served on the jury I would miss the entire fourth marking period for all the students I have that day. I got a notice saying that they will reschedule the jury duty and send me a new summons for the end of June... so we'll see. I'm glad I didn't make any summer reservations anywhere yet!
     
  35. sundrop

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    I was summoned for Jury Duty the week before Thanksgiving and the week of Thanksgiving this school year. I had to report the first Monday and was called with a group of 40 potential jurors but didn't end up getting chosen in the final group. The next week being Thanksgiving, there were no jury trials scheduled, so I never actually sat in on a trial. I am now off the list for at least the next four years. I was initially very nervous about the whole thing, but found the process quite interesting once I was there.
     
  36. Mrs. R.

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    I have been called for jury duty several times. The first time was while I was off on maternity leave, so I didn't have to worry about a sub. I did get put on a jury that time, but the trial took only half a day. The second time was during the summer, but my second baby was only 2 weeks old. I went, but all the scheduled trials plead out, so we were dismissed. The last two times I have been asked to be excused because my grandmother was a victim of a very violent crime, and the trial is supposed to start (barring any further continuances) before summer, and I can't be impartial right now. No defense attorney would seat me on a jury anyway once I answered yes to the question if anyone in your family has been the victim of a violent crime.
    I do consider it my civic duty, and the $17.25 nearly won't pay for lunch (we don't have to turn it in).
     
  37. Canadian Gal

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    So many criminals here plead out or opt for trial by judge that its really rare to have a jury trial. I've never only once had any kind of notice that I had to serve, and I only know one person who ever had to actually be on jury. The trial I was called for was a Revenue case, and a member of my family was the auditor responsible for the case, so I didn't have to serve.
     

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