Jury duty questions for those who have actually done it!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TennisPlayer, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. TennisPlayer

    TennisPlayer Cohort

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I have Jury Duty coming up for the Superior Court in my state. It'll be my first time doing jury duty so I'm interested in what it'll be like but also nervous about what if I'm actually chosen if it's a disturbing/violent type of case. I already have bad dreams as it is when I'm stressed during the day!

    If you have done Jury Duty did you even know what the case would be about during the selection process or is it all kept secret?

    I'm wondering how they choose people that are there that they want. I know they ask questions to narrow it down. I have some guesses on how they choose so most likely I'm hoping to be dismissed if it's something violent related....I can handle shoplifting, etc kinds of stories but I don't want to be disturbed as a result of volunteering.
     
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  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I personally like JD & find the whole process interesting. I started a thread on JD a while back:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=79637&highlight=jury+duty

    I was chosen on what ended up being a 2-month long case where a lady died as a result of a car accident. It was the last 2 mos of a school yr fo me. Before that, I was an alternate juror on a weeklong case.

    1st, if you even go up to the courtroom from the main waiting lobby, they tell you what date the case will start & an estimate of how long it may last. So they weed out the people who are unavilable for those dates.

    Then, they do tell you what the case is about & start questioning potential jurors individually (in front ot the plaintiffs, defendants, & everyone else) about your ethics with certain topics. They'll ask if you know people in a certain line of work that the case involves & your opinions about them. THey ask everyone if they can be unbiased about this & that.

    I personally was only asked what my job was in which I was a special ed teacher at the time. They may ask what your educational background is too.

    JD is something I think everyone should experience at some point in their lives.
     
  4. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I know nothing about this, so here is a silly question- do you have to prove you are unavailable? What constitutes as unavailable- dentist appointment, work, plans with family?
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Well, while they're weeding out peeople at the beginning, the judge does ask if there's any reason why anyone can't make the dates of the case & that's your time to speak up. If you tell them you have something (as simple as a dr appt), they'll dismiss you right then. But no, I've never seen them ask for any physical proof. For all they know, you can end up cancelling the appt. But, the judge will ask if there's any way you can rescheudule in which case many say NO (if they don't want JD).
     
  6. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    Mar 23, 2011

    The last time I had jury duty the judge was very matter of fact and said that doctor appointments, work schedules, and any other reason we could think up to get off was not acceptable and that we had a commitment as members of the community to serve. The only accommodation he was willing to make was to reschedule if we could provide proof of something like airplane tickets, etc.

    It was a horrible experience for a number of reasons. I would rather have a wolverine gnaw off a number of body parts than be on a jury and go through that again.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I actually enjoy it.

    The last time I served, I was part of the panel questioned for a case. It seems that there had been a bar fight, and one guy hit the other over the head with a bottle. The victim survived. I don't have a high tolerance for violence, but thought I would be able to get through it.

    Strangely enough, though, I wasn't chosen. (The guy accused was 18 or 19-- I'm guessing that the fact that I teach high school probably made someone think I would be sympathetic to him.) But they did choose a surgeon; I would have thought that his medical knowledge would eliminate him.

    I always find it interesting; I talk to people, catch up on my grading, reading, whatever. The day tends to go pretty quickly.
     
  8. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I've gotten called a few times, and got picked to serve as a juror once. In one case, I had a high number and wasn't even called to go to a courtroom. In both of the others, the judge described the case and had the defendants stand up. Both were for attempted murder...yeah, the city I live in isn't the safest...I was very thankful not to be picked for the second one, since the defendant was accused of attempting to murder his own brother, which really creeped me out.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I've never been called. My husband was a few months ago but was excused because he would lose 40% of his income in serving. I think forcing such a hardship is unnecessary when there are many people who could more easily serve—we were very appreciative of those making the decision for understanding how that much of a financial hit that would be. During the summer when I'm not responsible for ensuring no child is left behind, I'd be glad to serve locally.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I agree with the judge GoldenPoppy had; jury duty isn't volunteering, it's a service to your community and one that every member of the community should fulfill.

    That being said, I've been called for jury duty a number of times, but only chosen once. It involved a fight between two families (both verbal and physical) and was a very interesting case to watch.

    During jury selection, jurors are usually questioned about their general background and bio information first, then more specific questions regarding the case and the issues involved. The lawyers will want to know if you have any knowledge of the case (from TV, internet, newspaper, etc) and have formed an opinion already. If not, they will address the issues and charges in the case and asked if you can remain unbiased and base your decision on the weight of the evidence alone.

    I was "called up" for a trial involving charges of child molestation. The prosecutor asked if I could be unbiased and I told him I could (which probably wasn't completely true). The defense lawyer asked if I had any children of my own and, if so, what their ages were. As soon as I answered that question, he dismissed me, which was probably a smart move on his part.

    I was only called for Superior Court one time, during my senior year in college. Before going to court, I contacted my gastroenterologist and got a note from him verifying my chronic illness and the fact I needed frequent access to a restroom. The judge said that, if it were JUST a matter of my college classes, he would have recalled me during the summer session, but the note from my doctor was enough to have me excused completely.
     
  11. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Mar 23, 2011

    I was called when when my oldest was 6 months old. All my friends said I could use the small child/nursing reasoning for not serving. However, I also believe it is my duty to serve. I was number 13 in the panel to be questioned. It was for aggrevated sexual assult of a minor. I did not say one word during the questioning process unless I was questioned. I can be unbiased, however I knew with a 6 month old I would not be picked. Sure enough when they said the panel numbers, mine was not called.
    Everyone around me was amazed as I did not try to talk my way off the jury. I did not want to talk myself off. It is a pain. It is a hassle. I would have heard very disturbing information. However, as a citizen who has a right to a jury of peers it is only fair that I serve to offer the same right to others.....
     
  12. Kindergarten31

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    Mar 24, 2011

    I have been called a few times, but only chosen once. Our judges will hardly accept any excuses. If you are a teacher, you can get a delay until summer. I enjoyed my experience. It was a fraud case that went all the way until the part where it was going to the jury, and the people settled at that point, so we never got to make a decision. I was disappointed!
     
  13. TennisPlayer

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    Mar 24, 2011

    I'm not saying I didn't want to do Jury Duty. I'm curious to see what the process is like. I was just admitting that I don't want to endure sitting through something disturbing since I'm a sensitive person! I'm bothered by stories on the news in the comfort of my home where I can turn it off.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 24, 2011

    In case it helps, I didn't think you were implying you didn't want to participate at all in the process. I understand what you are saying. There are certain crimes I couldn't handle well given some of my personal circumstances. Maybe they were just responding to my husband asking to be excused or in general the number of those who ask not to serve for whatever reason. In my husband's case, perhaps they would have been willing to compensate us for the 40% of income he would have lost. We are happy to fulfill our civic duties, but not at the cost of our home. That's just the truth. ;)
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2011

    I sat thru a day of jury selection last fall, but never even got to the voir dire process...a colleague was in my same jury pool...she was temporarily in the jury box but was dismissed...
    Yes, they give you background on the case so they can weed out anyone who knows either party involved, also to check for biases. They'll also ask if there are medical reasons why people can't serve. They ask a variety of questions...in my pool they asked about how people get their news, if they had bumper stickers :lol:, personal info...
    I served about 20 years ago on back to back drunk driving cases...no injuries, just stupidity....it is a fascinating process.
     
  16. The Maestro

    The Maestro Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2011

    Oh, I've served in a jury four times, and didn't make it past the voir dire process another four times. For some inexplicable reason, the courts love summoning teachers where I am!

    I actually wouldn't have a problem with serving jury duty once a year if it weren't for having to get a good sub in the meantime, along with having to plan for the sub, having the lesson plans for the sub, seating charts, behavior notes and the like, and THEN coming back after jury duty is over for the day to read what the sub said about the class, making phone calls to parents of unruly kids that the sub indicated, then doing the lesson plans for the sub all over again. Having jury duty as a teacher is almost like working two jobs for several weeks.

    Come to think of it, I suspect that the last few times I was cut from the jury selection process was probably when I asked the judge if I could be selected or rejected first so that I could call my sub and ask her to stay for an extended period of time before the day is over because I had a really good sub and didn't want to lose her to another teacher tomorrow. Of course, you have to wait for the right time in the courtroom to ask that!

    I think the oddest time I had with jury duty though was a few years before I became a teacher, when I was serving on a DUI case. The kicker was that a couple years before, I had literally run into a drunk driver as she had careened across the divider of a freeway. Even though I had said I wasn't entirely sure I could be fair to the defendant during voir dire, I was allowed onto the jury. After the trial, the prosecuting attorney called some of the jurors over to ask her how she had done. She was obviously new at it and the Judge did say that after the trial was over, it was acceptable. During that time I asked her how it was I was even allowed onto the jury, and she indicated she had the same question herself, so at some point she also asked the defense that. His response was something like "I thought he could be fair." Now I was indeed as fair as I could be even though we did find him guilty on two counts, but that always stuck with me.
     
  17. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2011

    I did not mean to imply anyone here would not want to serve. In my mind I was reliving all the awful excuses and what people were trying to do to get out of the jury duty in the voir dire process. One man in the back of the group (92 or something) responded to the question do you know any of the parties involved "I served on one of your juries before Judge and did not like how you handled things, so I do not think I could be unbiased in this case". He also had about 15 other equally as brilliant comments on why he could not be on this (or any other)jury :)
     
  18. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2011

    I've been called every time I've been eligible, but ask for a delay until summer. During voir dire, I've been excused several times because I knew the person being charged, or lived in the area, but usually, I sit in the jury room, and get excused because whatever trial they needed so many people for was settled out of court.
     
  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I was one of the first people in one pool and was passed over. It was probably because it was a DWI case and I only raised my hand on the hardly ever/light drinker question. We are rare in this community.
     

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