Jury Duty

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by jen12, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jun 24, 2013

    I know there are a lot of jury duty threads here, but I feel like whining....
    I got a notice earlier in the year for call-in service in March. Since I sub, I couldn't afford to miss a paid day of work, so I requested a postponement.
    I got the postponement and had to call in on Friday (the last day of school) at 5pm. It instructed me to call in again Monday (today) at noon. I have a pretty low group number.

    I've stressed all weekend about it because the last time, I got called all the way into the courtroom. It was so intimidating and scary! It was a theft case, and I told the judge I couldn't be impartial having been the victim of a home robbery. I just had no sympathy. He chewed me out about the system being innocent until proven guilty and all that. Then he told me they'd put me on another case. They never did that, but it was not a fun experience.

    So today I called in at noon and it told me to call in again tomorrow at noon to possibly report at 1pm. I feel like everything is on hold. I can't really go anywhere because I have to stay close enough to the area to get to the courthouse in the middle of the day. Then there's the stress of the whole questioning thing if I do get called in. Plus, if I do end up on a jury, how long will that last? Two days? Two weeks? I hate the feeling that this is not under my control at all.

    There's really got to be a better way for this system to work.
     
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  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I know many people despise JD, but I really like it. For your sake, I empathize with you, but for me personally, I have different feelings about it.

    I've been an alternate juror on a 2-wk case (car accident) before where I couldn't say anything, but just listen in case one of the regular jurors had to pull out. I was a sub during this time & I'm sure attending school.

    Then, in 2007, when I had just returned from a 2-wk spring break & had about 2 mos left of work before summer vacation, I had to call about JD & ended up having to come to the courthouse. It ended up being about a 2-month case & when it was over, I was free to enjoy my summer, so in my opinion, the timing was PERFECT! Honestly, those were the 2 best months of my life. I listened to an interesting case...also car accident, met a few nice lady jurors who I ate lunch with almost every day & we just had fun. That was the 1st & only time I was a part of a group of friends. I even stayed friends with one of them after the case was over, even though the friendship didn't last that long, but we're FB friends today.

    Now yes, if I had still been a sub that year, I probably wouldn't have liked it so much because I would have missed out on 2 months' pay, so I can understand your frustration.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I'm a planner, so I like knowing details like days and times. The uncertainty drives me crazy.

    I've been called three times. Twice I was dismissed due to hardship. Once for my own illness and once for my parents' illnesses. I'm serving this time. I report Thursday.
     
  5. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I want to be on a jury soooooooo bad! I'm 28 and have NEVER been called. Not even once. Never ever ever.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    AdamnJakesMommy, I think you'll find every aspect very interesting: The lawyers' discussions, the witnesses depoitions, what the judge & bailiff does, etc.
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jun 24, 2013

    Right?

    I've had to call in in the past and it's been at 5pm to check if I have to report in the next morning. That time, I called in all week and never had to go in. This time, it sounds like there are two groups. The group I'm in that checks in at the middle of the day to see if we have to report within an hour, and the 5pm group. Don't get me wrong, I'm just as happy not to have had to go in, but I figured if they didn't need me at noon today, that would be the end of it. I didn't realize it would go on. :huh:

    I get very nervous when I don't know what's going to happen, and I'd really like to plan my days.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wouldn't want to miss the last bit of school with my students.:( ive been able to postpone my jury duty obligations, but to each his own. Glad you enjoyed yourself.
     
  9. Alesia

    Alesia Companion

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    Same here! Everyone around me has been called to do jury duty. I am the only one who really wants it, and I haven't been called.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I got called once. I actually think it would be really interesting, but at the time I was teaching sped and they didn't get subs for sped teachers. I just don't know how I would have made up the service hours. I was actually picked to come into the jury box- I think they called 14 of us up there and picked 7 to stay on the jury. From my experience, the people that stayed quiet during the questioning part were the ones picked for the jury. It was a lawsuit case and the lawyer said they'd be asking for 3 million and asked if any of us saw a problem with that. I raised my hand and when asked I said something along the lines of thinking no one needs that amount of money. I'm sure that's why I wasn't chosen. People who tried to make excuses about why they couldn't commit didn't seem to get any break.

    If it were in the summer when I wasn't teaching summer school or anything, I think I would definitely enjoy it. During the year I think it would be too stressful to try to keep up with all of my school responsibilities while being gone.

    I had a gov. teacher in HS who was SO upset that he'd never been called. He was dying to go in! He was in his 50's too. He even tried to see if he could volunteer, but of course they said no. Meanwhile people who don't want to go get called 5-6 times!
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    That was the school year I knew back in Feb that I wouldn't be rehired, so it's no skin off my nose either way! You've gotta roll w/ the punches.
     
  12. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Called in again today at noon and the system instructed me to call in again tomorrow at noon.
    This is giving me the completely first-world problem of not being able to go to Disneyland before my pass hits the summer blackout dates at the end of the week.
    I'm thankful I haven't had to go. I'm thankful I haven't had to go. I'm thankful I haven't had to go.
     
  13. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I want to be on it, also. I have never been called.
     
  14. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I've been called once, but everyone was dismissed at lunch because they weren't ready for us that day. Here, I think they always mail you notice and you're able to postpone if you have a good reason. It's so very important to serve.
     
  15. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    It's such a funny disconnect that there are people who would really like to be called in to see how it all works, while there are others who just can't or don't want to do it.

    Honestly, I'm not sure if it would work better to have a volunteer jury system or not. On one hand, it really wouldn't be a "jury of peers" but on the other hand, how often is that a reality anyway? You might as well give people who have time and interest the chance to serve.
     
  16. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I don't think it'd be a good idea.
     
  17. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jun 26, 2013

    I've never been called for jury duty and even if I were, I could get it excused for reasons of hardship (multiple disabilities, can't get a ride to the county court without undue financial burden upon myself or my family)
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I've been called 3 times. Twice the case settled and we were excused before questioning. The other was a child molestation case. I was excused after expressing my opinion -that molesters should be castrated. *shrugs*' I was being honest. I live in a small parish (county to y'all) with only about 12,000 . Getting called multiple times happens.
     
  19. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I have been called twice and was dismissed, once for being a student and once while I was I bedrest. DH served earlier this year on a very complicated case that really caused us a lot of problems between child care and his job.
     
  20. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I have been called three times. First time, a plea bargain cancelled duty before jurors even showed up. Second time, I was excused due to being 8 months pregnant. Third time, I made it all the way to being questioned, but was dismissed by the defense when they heard I had worked in the Prosecutor's Office ( in a different state), for several years.

    I would love to serve, but seems unlikely.

    But here is my good citizen plea: we need intelligent, interested people to serve. There ARE innocent defendants; put yourself in their place and think about what type of jury you want. Off my soapbox.
     
  21. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I've never been called, but with all the talk I hear from people about how to "get out" of jury duty, I worry about the state of our justice system when the only people who are on a jury were the people who weren't smart enough to get out of it.
     
  22. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Exactly!
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I've been called for jury duty but didn't have to serve. I was a back-up during the voir dire process, and they found everyone they needed before they got to me.

    From what I observed, it didn't seem like getting out of jury duty would be an easy task. Maybe it was the particular judge or something, but no one was getting any leeway. One woman who ended up getting selected was nursing a brand-new infant at home! Only one person was dismissed immediately, and that was a woman who didn't speak a word of English.
     
  24. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yeah

    My mom can now get out of a lot of jury duty because she works in the town court. In a chunk of the county cases, she has probably entered in a ticket by the defendant/dealt with them at the court.
     
  25. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    I have received 3 summons over the years, but only had to go once. I sat from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M and was not even questioned; that was fine with me because I wasn't sure I could be unbiased in that case. However, there was one potential juror who was very vocal to the judge about his biases and the inconvenience of serving. The judge became angry and reprimanded him. I was glad I wasn't questioned after that!
     
  26. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Yeah, they are really looking for people who are just silent and claim to be unbiased when questioned. The one time I went through questioning, the judge said the only excuse is if you could produce an airline reservation conflicting with the trial dates. Then if anyone voiced anything, the judge barked at them. With that kind of atmosphere, who wouldn't want to be there? :( I wonder if anyone has ever claimed intimidation by the judge during jury questioning?

    Honestly, I fail to see how anyone can be unbiased. You'd have to have no opinions and/or live under a rock. As teachers, I think all of us would automatically be out if it was a child abuse case. As mandated reporters, it's our job to take the child's side. How can you tune that out and sit for a trial? You can see just from this thread how many people have been directly affected by this or that and it leaves them unlikely to be swayed by the lawyers.
     
  27. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    My principal was recently called for jury duty (on the second last work day of school for teachers!)

    She did get dismissed, but only because it was a student from a school where she used to teach.
     
  28. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I was excused from jury duty when I was in the hospital, when I knew prosecuting attorney, and for the first day of school and they couldn't find a sub. I was close to being picked for a drunk driving case, but the defense didn't want me since I hadn't had any alcohol in the previous five years.

    I wouldn't mind serving on a jury. I've been summoned four times in the past ten years. It's been a few years so I'm due soon.
     
  29. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    How does being a mandated reporter come into play? If a child is abused, of course we want the perpetrator punished - but that might not be who is on trial. You are on the side of justice; convicting the real criminal.

    I am sorry you had a bad experience with the questioning by one judge. They are not all like that. Also, think how they must get frustrated with so many people trying to avoid jury duty (and I do get that there are lots of valid excuses for postponing jury duty).
     
  30. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    I am on the side of the child. I don't believe that a child would lie about such a thing. That's how it comes into play.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Perhaps off-topic, but I feel strongly about this: sometimes kids do lie, even about abuse. They can be manipulated by adults, have psychological problems, or may have other issues going on. I just think that you should be very careful with this sort of opinion.
     
  32. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Well, if you express that opinion (which I respectfully disagree with), you will definitely not be seated on the jury due to your bias.
     
  33. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I was chosen for the grand jury today. The petit jury has the easy job. The jurors from last year didn't have to sit on a single case. They were all settled before trial.

    Our grand jury doesn't do much either, and they're usually pretty cut & dry. One of the perks of being in a small town, I suppose.

    The control freak in me wants to volunteer to be foreman.
     
  34. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    One of my best friends and my dad was on a grand jury (not the same county though) and they both enjoyed it. Go ahead and volunteer to be the foreman. Managing a jury has got to be easier than managing middle school hormonal kids! (I think there's a special place in Heaven for middle school and kindergarten teachers!)
     
  35. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Two former students are with me. They'll be used to listening to me. LOL
     
  36. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    On the jury with you? That is a small town!

    I got the message today that mine is done. I called in every day at noon for "relief pitcher" duty. I wonder how often they pull from that group and make them come in during the afternoon. It was definitely stressful....will I have to go? Won't I? What can I do that won't take me too far away in case I have to be there within an hour?

    I'm so glad it's over.
     
  37. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    But would you really want to be the person charged with making the judgement about whether or not a child is lying about something so life altering? Honestly...if you're wrong either way, it ruins somebody's life. It's way too critical a chance to take, and I'd always feel responsible for the outcome and wonder if I did the right thing. Sometimes "civic duty" is just too light a term for what is being asked of a jury member.
     
  38. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    :lol:

    It also has a parent of a former student, one of the school custodians (also a parent of one of my kiddos), and one of my cousins. I go to church with the judge. I work with the circuit court clerk's mom.

    :dizzy:
     
  39. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    So who will decide? Should there just be no trial? Call it what you like, but in our system we need citizen participation. With the way you feel, I hope you do not have to sit on a jury (this is NOT said as a criticism, please understand), but well-educated adults are needed.
     

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