I am not a juror today


Welp, that was an exercise that was both instructive and a total waste of time.

I showed up at the courthouse at the appointed time, with about 40 other people. The jury assistant had us surrender everything — phones, tablets, books, papers, etc. –although one little old lady smuggled her phone in, which we discovered when it started ringing loudly in the middle of the proceedings. We were given little pamphlets about our duties and ushered in to watch a video about jury duties, although actually we spent a lot of time sitting waiting for it to be started (the clerk didn’t seem to know how to run a DVD player), and once it was done we spent an awfully long time staring at a blank TV screen waiting for them to move on to the next step, which was to be shuffled off to the actual court room, with the judge, the defendant and his attorney, and the prosecuting attorney were all waiting for us.

About 20 of us got seated for the jury. It was apparently random, and I was not picked. Then the questioning began, the voir dire. It was stuff like, “Do you know [reads long list of potential witnesses]?” It turns out most of the names were cops, and it begins to sound like an army was dispatched to arrest the lone defendant. This being a small town, several people knew all the named people, so they had to be grilled on how they knew them and whether their acquaintance with them would interfere with their ability to judge them. Then there was the question about knowing or being related to any of the other jurors, and hands went up all over the place. Same grilling. Interestingly, there was also a question about whether religious convictions would interfere, and there were three women who clearly belonged to the Brethren church (long skirts, long hair tied up in a bun — we call them “bun ladies” around here), who announced that they could not stand in judgement over a man, and they were dismissed.

As people were dismissed, new people were called up out of the pool and the questions were repeated. I saw the pool shrinking, but I was never called before they finally settled on the 12 jurors, fortunately.

I say “fortunately” because, while I was willing to serve, as information about the case dribbled out, it became clear to me that I couldn’t do it. It was a drug case, with a guy who’d been arrested for growing marijuana, and as I listened to the questions being asked, I realized how I’d have to answer. I could not in good conscience convict someone for an act thats criminality was arbitrary and unjust, and I wouldn’t be able to set aside my principles to abide purely by the letter of the law. If I had been called up, I would have been dismissed within moments for that.

Also, I wouldn’t even have had a chance to answer the prosecuting attorney’s question, “What three things come to mind when you think of law enforcement?” I would probably have started with “petty thugs who shouldn’t be trusted with a gun” before the bailiff would have hauled me out behind the chemical shed. He also asked jurors what they thought of the War on Drugs, and my answer might have gotten profane and earned me a contempt of court fine.

Well, they asked! They said we had to answer honestly, too.

So I got to go home early. I’m still on the hook to be called up to serve until sometime in January, though — I just hope it isn’t another marijuana case.

Comments

  1. davidc1 says

    Very strange way the war against drugs work over there .Some States it is legal ,others you risk a jail sentence ,you could be on the Colorado state ,step over into Utah for instance and plod could arrest you .
    I assume Utah has laws against drugs .

  2. says

    I have been on three juries. Fortunately none of them were drug cases so I didn’t have that problem. The first one was a guy who had a habit of raping little girls, and plead guilty in exchange for being civilly committed to the state nuthouse for “one day to life,” with the idea that he would undergo sex offender treatment and be released after he was cured. Yes, this was a thing they used to do. He had the right to petition for his release every year and a jury had to decide if he was still a “sexually dangerous person.” A very weird situation. We had to listen to some extremely disturbing testimony, his lawyer was extremely creepy, and his expert witness was a complete wackjob. We did not let him out. (I was the foreperson. People did take it seriously and we deliberated for 3 days.)

    One was a rape trial and the guy decided to change his plea to guilty once the jury was seated and he knew the accuser was willing to go through with it, so we didn’t hear the case.

    The third was an absolutely ridiculous assault case that should never have been prosecuted and I have no idea why they did, except that the accused appeared to be an undocumented immigrant and they were probably looking for a way to deport him. We voted to acquit in 12 minutes.

    So anyway, the jury system is indeed an essential pillar of our liberty. I don’t mind doing it at all.

  3. analog2000 says

    If you had told the court about your unwillingness to convict for a drug crime, I have no doubt that you would have been eliminated as a juror. But it struck me as strange that you wrote you “couldn’t do it.” You couldn’t convict, but you absolutely could serve on the jury! The defendant would be lucky to have you.

    Maybe that isn’t what you meant, but the way I read it, it seems like you felt that since you do not support the law, you cannot sit in judgement on it. But it is really the complete opposite! That is exactly the kind of person we need as jurors. “Jury nullification” (members of a trial jury find a defendant not guilty if they do not support a government’s law, regardless of the facts of the case) has a long and winding history in American jurisprudence. There are even activist groups who try to find where prospective jurors are waiting in the courthouse to hand out pamphlets and such about jury nullification. I have always wanted to try doing this in my own community, but sadly don’t have enough privilege (and probably not enough nerve) to deliberately antagonize law enforcement.

  4. Matrim says

    I’ve been selected for jury duty three times in the 17 years since I turned 18, but I’ve never even had to go to the courthouse, let alone attend selection. Probably due to the fact that 94% or so of cases end in a plea bargain.

  5. says

    I’m not sure why, but your potential answers to possible questions reminded me of a cartoon strip from the 60’s (possibly 70’s, since I do actually remember it). One of a household of hippies gets a jury summons, and since it is considered certain to be a drug case, and someone like him is even more certain to be rejected by the prosecution, and desiring to help a fellow, he cuts his hair and shaves his beard and gets a suit and tie; only to be rejected by the defence.

  6. says

    6 richardelguru: It sounds like The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, and specifically Phineas, who was the most likely of the trio to try and be altruistic.

  7. anxionnat says

    The last time I got called for jury duty was back in the mid-1980s. It was a trial of a guy whose meth lab the cops had busted. I watched with interest as a wife, and several friends, of cops got seated. I was excused because I had a science background. So was a woman who was a veterinarian. For some reason, the lawyers and DA seemed to think we had the intellectual background to come up with sympathy for the defendant. Or something. I told the questioners I’d never had a pharmacy course, but I’d had the usual chemistry sequence–general chem, organic chem, biochem. (I was in grad school in Biological Ecology at the time.) The vet said she’d done pharmacy in vet school but had never applied that knowledge to humans. No matter–we were both kicked off. The vet and I walked to our cars after we got the paltry $1.50 checks that supposedly compensated us for our time, and we agreed that the fact that people trained in the sciences can come up–usually on the fly–with multiple hypotheses that go considerably beyond guilty or not, was probably seen as a negative ability. The courts want people who will (stupidly, in my opinion) only think in the terms they want. So, PZ, you’d probably get tossed off anyway. The lawyers prefer people who know and sympathize with cops, or people who are marginally literate and believe anything the cops/lawyers/DAs say, to people like us. Another failure of the (in)justice system.

  8. dianne says

    I got on a voir dire once. Malpractice case. The plaintiff’s attorney looked at my file, snorted, and handed it to the defendant’s attorney. Who took it, snorted, and said, “Thank you for coming.”

  9. lb says

    I was nearly selected for a jury once. It was a personal injury suit. The plaintiff was allegedly injured in a car wreck, but the only person who would be her medical witness was a chiropractor. The judge asked us all if we had any issues with this and I said yes. He sent all the other potential jurors away and asked me why I had an issue. I told him that chiropractors were quacks and that this person should be seeing an orthopedic doctor and not a chiropractor. The judge was trying really hard not to laugh but asked me why I thought they were quacks. I had a lot to say about it and when I was done, I was dismissed as a juror. Though the defendant’s lawyer really wanted me to stay!

  10. chrislawson says

    So all you have to do is say “I refuse to stand in judgement” and they’ll let you out of jury duty? Sweet.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Several times, I have gotten excused from jury duty due to, apparently, involvement with lawsuits active at the time.

    Had our esteemed host desired an escape hatch, quite possibly his former FtB colleague could have helped out with zero added effort.

  12. Matrim says

    I do know our court allows you to bring books and magazines (my mom was called a few months ago and had to go to the courthouse, but the potential trial ended in plea bargain so she didn’t have to worry about selection), but they won’t let you even bring cell phones or other electronic devices in the building (it’s also the county jail, the sheriff, and a few other things), you hit a metal detector and a search point about 10 feet past the entrance.

  13. archangelospumoni says

    On other jury news, sort of–our state’s Supreme Court (Washington) tossed our death penalty today. Many MAGA-hat-wearing folks are droolingly upset. Again.

  14. John Morales says

    Me, I would feel no obligation whatsoever to respond honestly in that position; my only constraint would be whether I thought I could pull it off successfully. My inclination is to follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law, and then only when I think it’s meritorious.

    Alas, I’ve never been called up for jury duty.

  15. whheydt says

    Re: analog2000 @ #3….
    From what I’ve read, if you admit to supporting jury nullification they’ll have you out of the jury box and on your way how so fast that you’ll emitting Cherenkov radiation.

    As for PZ’s problem that he is technically on call for the rest of the year… You’d like the system in California. You can be called at most, once per year and when they do it’s “one day or one trial”.

  16. patricklinnen says

    I was selected and served in a state-level contact law case. (Lasted three days.) I was selected and dismissed for a Federal drug case. I am currently under consideration. Won’t know until mid-December.

    I honestly do not understand why some people (at least Americans) despise jury duty. It is like watching a soap opera, only one has to keep track of who did what and how trust-worthy what is displayed. A real life “It was Col. Mustard in the Library with a Lead Pipe.”

  17. John Morales says

    I honestly do not understand why some people (at least Americans) despise jury duty.

    I do. Costs time and money, changes nothing.

    (Kabuki)

  18. jrkrideau says

    @ 6 richardelguru & 7 Kip T.W.

    Yes, definitely The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers . I remember reading it back about 1972.

  19. leerudolph says

    three women who clearly belonged to the Brethren church [ …] who announced that they could not stand in judgement over a man

    That women should not “stand in judgement over a man” is a pernicious doctrine. I wonder if his having been raised (I don’t know to what age) in that church contributed (if only infinitesimally) to the apparent sense of impunity vis-à-vis his behavior towards women that Garrison Keillor apparently feels (as do, of course, very many other men who are not even Evangelicals, let alone Brethren).

  20. vucodlak says

    @ patricklinnen, #17

    I honestly do not understand why some people (at least Americans) despise jury duty.

    Well, let’s count the possible reasons:
    1.) It means missing work for paltry compensation, which many can ill afford, and many people won’t be allowed to beg off just because their families will suffer for it.
    2.) If you find Col. Mustard guilty, they will be tortured, which some people find upsetting.
    3.) Judging people isn’t something everyone enjoys.
    4.) It’s generally boring as all get out.
    5.) Even if it’s not boring, soap operas are not something everyone enjoys.
    6.) The system is obviously unfair and badly in need of reform, and it makes some people uncomfortable to be confronted with that fact.

    I could go on all night, really, but you get the idea.

  21. psychomath says

    @3 analog2000

    I agree entirely. I first got called up when I was around 20, and I didn’t know about jury nullification. During voir dire the judge asked each potential juror, “Would you be able to find the defendant guilty of breaking a law, even if you believed that law to be unjust?” That’s not an exact quote, and there must have been more clarification to the question, but that is as close as I can recall. I remember being surprised that the twenty or so people asked all said yes. They never got to me, but I was so nervous because there was just no way I could have said yes to that. I was frankly shocked.

    I’ve been called up twice more but was dismissed before we even got to a courtroom since jurors weren’t needed, but I feel very troubled about it.

    @15 John Morales

    Ethically, I feel the same. It isn’t just, in my opinion, for the judge to dismiss jurors for this issue. Honesty is very important, but I would be willing to do what I believe would result in the most just outcome whatever my instructions. My father ended up hanging a jury by himself in a case where the accused was charged with assault on a police officer when he answered the door in the middle of the night with a knife in his hand, because he was being harassed by a security guard in his apartment building and was scared. The cop immediately jumped the accused and injured himself when they crashed to the ground. That man would have gone to prison if my father hadn’t insisted that answering the door with a knife was a reasonable action given the circumstances, and he had made no aggressive moves, and the cop had not identified himself. It made a big impression on me that my father, by himself, prevented this man from going to prison in that case.

  22. patricklinnen says

    @psychomath; There is are reasons why ‘jury nullification’ get slapped down. Starting with racists bombing a church that killed children. You will need to look up David Neiwert’s references on it. I no longer have the bookmarks and Google failing me at the moment.

    @vucodlak & John Morales; “It means missing work for paltry compensation”; I thought jury duty was covered under the same laws that military reserve duty is. If not, that sucks.
    re: vucodlak; I understand boring. YMMV and all that. What I consider entertainment, others will decidedly not. But at this point I an willing to pull out of my hip pocket the “Duties of Civilization” card and say how willing are you to have a bigot serve and say “That minority cuss-word” needs to go to the chair!”

    The prison as torture and needing reform? I certainly agree with that. My counter argument to that is; A) Vote, and B) don’t you want to keep innocent people out of that?

  23. willj says

    Hard to rule against a defendant if you can’t support the law in the first place. So yeah, you’re disqualified. I suspect we all are.

  24. Onamission5 says

    I was called for jury duty for the first time this year. In my case being called up for jury duty meant receiving an explanatory letter with a phone number, a date to call on, and a code to punch in, wherein an automated system would let you know if your pool was needed the following day. Mine was not needed.

    @patricklinnen: The compensation one receives for being a juror in the US is paltry; IIRC, when my mom served on a grand jury she received a whopping $8 a day. While that may have been some 30 odd years ago I understand that compensation hasn’t improved much if at all in the interim.

  25. psychomath says

    @23 patricklinnen

    Yeah, I’m aware of that. Sorry, I’m still going to do what I think is right.

  26. Allison says

    I’ve never served on a petit jury, but I was empaneled in a federal grand jury.

    We served for 2 years (supposedly 1.5 years, but they always tack on another 1/2 year.) It met twice a week, but you’d call in and if no prosecutor wanted to show off to a grand jury, they’d tell you not to come in. There are actually three flavors of federal grand jury, at least in our district: a one-month jury which meets (in principle) every day and hears “easy” cases — meaning cases involving low-income defendents who presumably can’t get a decent lawyer. Then there’s ours, which lasts two years, and a “special” grand jury which lasts 3.

    I’d heard that the “justice” system is really an “injustice” system, but my experience really drove that point home. It was clear that how much effort they put in depended on the defendent’s socioeconomic class. For the poorer defendents, they simply had a random person from the marshall’s (?) office come in and read the arrest report. For people who were well-off enough to commit a decent fraud, we’d have actual witnesses come in. In some cases, it was obvious that we were being used to intimidate witnesses into telling the prosecutors what they wanted to know.

    It’s said that a decent prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. It’s true. Most grand jurors have no clue about the law or democratic principles; they figure if the prosecutors are bringing a case against someone, that someone must be a low-life who belongs behind bars. There were several times when I questioned what the prosecutor was doing, and a lot of people on the jury berated me for taking the side of the potential defendent. There were times when I could not see the connection between the laws they cited and the testimony we heard, and when I asked, I generally got a snow job. Everything is done to give the jurors the impression that their job is to go along with whatever the AUSA wants us to do. And most jurors simply want to get out and go home as soon as possible and don’t care whether there’s any merit to the case.

    Actually, one time, in the jury lunch room, I mentioned my understanding that our job was to be skeptical and question what the prosecutors were doing — our job was to protect potential defendents from being put in jeopardy by overeager prosecutors — and the people in the office later told me that people complained about what I said. Evidently most people’s attitude was that good citizens don’t question what the authorities (the attorneys) do.

    I haven’t been called back, but if they do, I will tell the judge when they’re empaneling people that I consider the whole system simply a way to railroad people and that I will assume that whatever “evidence” they present and whatever interpretation of the law they present is a lie until proven otherwise.

  27. psychomath says

    Obviously jury nullification can, and has been, used for evil purposes, but seriously. If , say, five years from now, abortion is outlawed and you find yourself on a jury asked to convict a woman and doctor of murder for an abortion the woman asked for and the doctor gave, you are going to convict? If so, go fuck yourself. You are no friend of mine.

  28. wzrd1 says

    I’ve three full civil litigation trials under my belt as a juror.
    In one, I guided the jury that was set to “give this poor widow something for her loss”, despite his universally acknowledged by jury members, advanced emphysema, before upper bronchus lung cancer claimed his life.
    His case hinging upon asbestos exposure at work and via early Kent cigarette filters, which contained asbestos.
    And stipulating that he knew that cigarette smoking was bad for him. And that doctor never wrote emphysema, but instead elected to enter the much shorter notation of COPD.
    So, the faction that wanted to send a message drove the award. $200k, $50k for the victim, the remainder for the widow for loss of consortium.
    One defense attorney broke into open laughter upon notice of the award.

    We were asked if we’d answer an unofficial and unactionable poll after court adjourned and we agreed.
    When asked as to why we decided as we did, I explained that I figured that the award amount was far less than the defense costs and due to a sizable number of jurors wanting to give the widow something, the remainder did want to send a message.
    The one who broke into laughter laughed even harder, sputtering, “You got that one right!”. I know, as many clients of mine at the time for network and computer service were legal firms.

    As for jury nullification, I learned about it around the time of that second trial, the smoker. I have precisely zero heartburn over telling a jurist that I can decide according to the law, knowing that nullification is established case law, which courts prohibit discussion of. That indeed is legislating from the bench and I have precisely zero tolerance for stealing any fundamental right from the populace.
    Hence, I am indeed telling the truth, from a very specific viewpoint and simply omitting that which would cause the court to deny the populace a very ancient right.

    As for some saying that marijuana is legal in some states, that’s entirely inaccurate, as it’s federally illegal. All that is required is that Trump rescind one executive order and it gets enforced hard. Likely, it’s just that he’s been too busy on Twitter, golfing and trying to screw the poor and especially, anyone with skin that isn’t milky white.

    As for judging other people, did that for a long time in a tactical environment, where any one might be trying to kill myself and my team, either with a concealed firearm or an explosive, fragment filled vest.
    After retiring from such a taxing field, I went into IT and eventually, into information security. I have no less than three child pornography traffickers, one child pornographer and pornography trafficker and one opportunistic bottom feeder that stole a service member’s debit card and went on an online shopping spree. All four, serving stiff sentences, the latter, largely because he worked at our R&R installation’s USO club.
    For most of my adult life, I’ve worked in a position of great public trust. I was trusted to work with thermonuclear tactical missiles, I was trusted with our nation’s deepest secrets (most are actually quite mundane and boring, some, criminal and the more egregious reported to Congress and various IG entities, who take care of the matter one way or another and that practice ends, some being highly technical and seriously damaging and no, that won’t be discussed – ever) and I’ve even been trusted to certify service members and certain civilians in the military equivalent of EMT-I, as well as issuing elevated access authentication tokens and certification of a federal network to be permitted to remain, via a permanent Authority To Operate. The latter two being referred to as a Trusted Agent.

    So, the bozo from the USO, guilty as fuck, as I personally reviewed the computer logs in detail, traced his traffic, collected network packets and examined the traffic and confirmed the spending spree with his warfighting peer’s hard risked dollars (I’d equally support a supply or personnel service member or even a civilian, as abuse of a public trust is a grave matter!). My report was detailed, the chain of custody impeccable, despite a modestly challenging location.
    What surprised the military police was, I produced images of what he reviewed, his checking the proper box and precisely what he saw. The DoD uses full packet capture and retention. It was a simple enough thing to request the traffic from a very specific period, from a specific IP to various unknown IP’s. Then, reconstruct the views without having to interpret what was being done.*

    That was how Manning was caught, via CENTAUR log analysis, reconstructing packets out of classified information to the foreign website. There already were a massive number of alerts showing up in the SIEM, due to the triggering of specific security markings being detected.
    Where Manning’s prosecution went wrong was, Manning should’ve had a *lot
    of company, as Manning was facing deleterious personnel action, which a flag is automatically entered and access is to be revoked and entirely was not.
    Dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming, failure to obey a lawful order, failure to repair, etc. That’s serious medicine for military personnel, but aggravating that was, in the face of the enemy in time of war, where they allowed harm to come to the United States of America, due to their lack of due care, due diligence and duty.
    The last being the convicting item.
    And resulting in a Russian fabrication from a real video (also available online) became the collateral murder video.
    Hint, that particular, unedited video does trigger stress in me, having been personally a target of the offending RPG and the distinctive silhouette that can never be forgotten, especially after fragments broke three ribs once, my first rib, once.
    Other triggers that occasionally get to me, trash piled up on the side of the road. Lost five out of six people that were close personal friends when an IED went off and only one survived. And my hearing turned to a toss up between crap and shit.
    So, yeah, I judge people, but with a slightly jaundiced view, but otherwise open. I observe and treat the individual as a fellow human until they become objectionable, a threat or just calm down.

  29. vucodlak says

    @ patricklinnen, #23

    I thought jury duty was covered under the same laws that military reserve duty is. If not, that sucks.

    The pay depends on the locality. In my hometown area, you might get a couple of bucks a day, and a dime a mile gas reimbursement. I say “might” because Illinois is infamous for not paying its bills. Even if you do get paid, it might not be for a year or two.

    But at this point I an willing to pull out of my hip pocket the “Duties of Civilization” card and say how willing are you to have a bigot serve and say “That minority cuss-word” needs to go to the chair!

    The reasons I gave are not all reasons I consider valid; boredom isn’t an acceptable reason, but it is a reason I’ve heard people give for trying to duck out of it.

    The prison as torture and needing reform? I certainly agree with that. My counter argument to that is; A) Vote, and B) don’t you want to keep innocent people out of that?

    A.) I do. My choices around here? Conservative democrats. I’ll vote for them anyway, but it won’t change the prison system for the better. And no, the primary didn’t offer any better options.

    B.) No, I want to keep everyone out of that. If I somehow did get placed on a jury, I would have to vote to acquit, regardless of the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Torture doesn’t suddenly become acceptable just because someone has broken the law.

    I’m willing to serve on a jury if called, but I’m not certain I’m willing to lie about my principles and deliberately sabotage the process. I’ve never made a big secret about my contempt for the law and many of its officers. It wouldn’t be hard for someone who suspected I’d done so to prove it well enough to land me in some serious trouble. I don’t know that I’m willing to die like that.

    And then there’s another problem- what if the defendant is a rapist, or a child molester, or a torturer? Someone who will, in all likelihood, cause more harm if they walk free? If I vote to acquit someone like that, I become responsible for their future acts. Either way, I become responsible for unacceptable harm. It’s an impossible choice.

  30. says

    Jury nullification was first used in Fugitive Slave Act prosecutions if I remember correctly.

    I’ve been on juries twice. One time was over a speeding ticket; the cop had calibrated his radar gun by measuring the speed of a wall. There were two of us engineers on the jury. We talked the others into an acquittal.

  31. lumipuna says

    This whole theater looks like they’re trying to make Soylent Green with only the best qualified people.

  32. Nomad says

    I had my jury duty summons a while ago, it went largely the same. I saw the little video telling me how important the jury system is (but it was long enough ago that it was likely on VHS), I sat in on jury selection, when it came to my turn they asked me if I’d ever used a chiropractor, I said I had and that I didn’t think it was worthwhile (that was my polite way of screaming QUAAAAAAACK), I was promptly dismissed, and I spent the rest of the day sitting in a room with everyone else as we did our very important duty. At least I was allowed to have a book, I can’t imagine them making me sit there with nothing and just… sitting… all day.

    After that day all I had to do was call a phone number and if my name wasn’t mentioned on the tape that replayed a list of names I didn’t have to come in. I never had to go in again. I always wanted to know why it was that I only had to go in the first day and sit around doing nothing, but somehow they were able to figure out that there was nothing for me to do the other days and let me stay home.

    I have to say that the bit about chiropractors disturbed me. The case was an injury case about someone who was allegedly hit by a car while walking through a parking lot. Their evidence of injury was courtesy of a chiropractor. Chiropractors can diagnose you of disorders that don’t exist, of things like “subluxation”. So what happens if you find yourself in court and the evidence against you comes courtesy of quackery? Do you have to take on the entire sham profession in order to defend yourself?

    It shook my confidence in the justice system. Back then I didn’t know what I know now, there are other things that disturb me a lot more now, but still, I remember that too.

  33. Doubting Thomas says

    My only experience with jury duty other than not being picked because they had enough others, was to sit on a “grand” jury for a couple of days. A lot of local the usual domestic, meth and B&E cases and one inappropriate jailer and inmate case. My grand impression was holy sh*t!, how stupid so many of my neighbors are!

  34. whheydt says

    Re: Nomad @ #34…
    One reason why you didn’t have to back for the other days might be that they had the same practice California does…you don’t get any compensation for the first day. If you have to go in again, they they have to start paying you your pittance.

  35. starskeptic says

    Been called four times, served on three juries – all in different states; it is inconvenient, but I believe in the process…

  36. archangelospumoni says

    #39 thank you for posting that video.
    I have been on multiple juries–convicted and acquitted roughly equally. Also was the plaintiff in a civil suit and was represented by one of the best lawyering teams on the West Coast. Fact. I won’t reveal the name of the law firm but take my word for it.
    My point here: may you never have to go up against this one insurance outfit whose name rhymes with “Fallskate.” Their basic theory is: “Delay . . . deny . . . and hope . . . that they die.” I learned more about the system in the civil trial than the criminal situations X 100. The other party was 100% guilty and this was never even in question, but Fallskate forced us to go through a trial, and they simply and transparently delayed things as best they could all the way up to their attorney’s closing argument. If they had lived up to their contractual obligations with their client, the trial never would have happened. I sort of felt sorry for the defendant by the end as she was dragged though as much b.s. as I was thanks to the business model of Fallskate.
    My lesson learned was that in criminal AND civil situations, money rules and those without good lawyering are at risk.
    May nobody ever have to deal with this insurance behemoth and I was soooo lucky to have had top shelf attorney team. The vast majority of cases involving Fallstate exist where they simply outlast their court adversary.
    I throw up a little every time I see the commercial with the nice man with his nice basso profundo talking about how great Fallskate is.

  37. Matrim says

    @38

    Pretty sure that’s obvious. I’m more curious about a career path that includes ballistic missiles, state secrets (that are apparently widely varied rather than in a specific area), IT, and paramedic training, that still puts you into tactical situations where you’re encountering IEDs and getting rockets fired at you. Unless they reeeeeeally diversified their career, the only job I can think of that would include all that is “action movie protagonist.”

  38. methuseus says

    For everyone wondering why people don’t want to serve on a jury, in Florida we get $15 per day, and $30 per day for every extra day if it’s over a week. My employer is required to give me the time off, but they are not required to pay me, which they don’t (at least not according to the handbook). Add to that having to get child care, then the likelihood of not being picked for being honest (as PZ said) which makes the whole rigmarole of going for the selection somewhat pointless.

    As for wzrd1, they seem to be saying any offense committed against a service member is automatically many times worse than that committed against any civilian citizen. I don’t agree with that. It affects a civilian just as much, possibly even more, than a service member. If it involves health care, the civilian might be much worse off. Even with the mismanagement of the VA, it’s better than no health care and no money.

  39. jefrir says

    Matrim, #41
    Given the mention of violence in every single one of wzrd1’s posts, no matter how tenuously linked, I’m thinking his actual career is “internet tough guy”

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