Called for jury duty

It looks like I been truly accepted as a Californian. I have been called for jury duty for a week starting tomorrow. The system is a one-day or one trial one which means that I report on Monday and if I am not empaneled on a jury that same day, then I am done. If I am placed on a jury, then I am required for the whole trial which they tell me usually lasts for three or four days. However, if it turns out to be a rare complicated case, then I could be on a panel for weeks.

So basically, I am saying that blogging will be light starting tomorrow until my jury service is done. If there is good wifi in the courthouse building and I am just sitting around waiting to be called, I may be able to blog.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    I went through jury selection in California a couple times. One time I was “empaneled” (selected as one of the twelve) for a few minutes until the defense attorney asked me to step down.
    Do you want to serve or not? Since you are retired, you may enjoy spending some time learning about the “justice” system.
    If you do not want to serve, I recommend telling them that you are a scientist. Give them the impression that you value your own opinion highly. Lawyers don’t like that. They want people who will believe what they and their experts tell them.

  2. seachange says

    There is a very small remuneration given to jurors for their service in California. Some counties allow this stipend to be donated to make the jury waiting rooms a better place to be. Monies can go to things like air conditioning, better chairs that you can sit in for awhile without dying of pain, and if you are lucky wifi!

  3. John Morales says

    Should be alright (

    The following items are prohibited in the courthouse: Weapons/sharp objects (such as firearms, brass knuckles, knives and scissors) and non-lethal devices (such as tasers, batons, and pepper spray). You must leave these items in your car or at home.

    Personal computers are allowed in the courthouse – internet access is available in the jury assembly room. Use of cell phones (calling, texting or game playing), cameras, or other electronic devices that have video, sound, or photographic capabilities are prohibited in the courtrooms. However you can use your cell phones in the jury assembly room. Prospective jurors will not need to provide social security or credit card numbers. For security, all visitors (including jurors) must go through a metal detector. Picture ID is required.

  4. drken says

    I’m lucky to be in New Jersey. Here you go to their website, punch in your juror number and you find out then and there whether or not you have to come in. Much easier, especially if they tell you if you don’t have to come in. Jury duty has also become easier (or at least less inconvenient) since they got rid of a lot of exemptions as the probability of getting empaneled went down.

  5. Mano Singham says


    I don’t mind being on a jury, seeing it as a civic duty. However, I was called to serve many times in Cleveland but was always excused and never chosen to be in an actual trial, maybe for the reasons you suggest.

  6. johnson catman says

    re Mano @5: I would suggest that the reason that you were not chosen was the more obvious reason that you were not a white man.

  7. drken says

    Johnson catman @6. I’m fairly white and having a PhD kept me off the jury the only time I’ve made it to the interview portion of the process since grad school (my real strength is the swimsuit portion). Before then, they had no problem sticking me on a (civil) jury, which was a very interesting experience that I’m sure Mano will enjoy if he’s lucky enough to be selected.

  8. kestrel says

    Just a WEEK?! Here, you are on for six months. That sounds easy to me!

    I’ve been put on the selection list many times but normally what happens is they do a plea bargain and there is no jury trial. (This is a very unpopulated area so I’ve been called about 8 times in the last 12 years or so.) I just asked a lawyer about being picked for the actual trial, and he told me it’s a real skill for a lawyer to select jury members for a trial. It totally depends on the case, and what the lawyers involved are trying to accomplish. Personally I’d be honored to be selected to be on a jury during a trial but so far that has not happened.

  9. Shanti says

    Very interesting to serve on a jury panel especially if it is a criminal case with good arguments by the lawyers. A juror has a very important role to give the correct judgement after much deliberation. I am sure you will enjoy it and see that justice is done fairly

  10. Reginald Selkirk says

    In a non-California locale, I showed up for jury duty and was selected to be on a grand jury. This was a completely different deal. As a grand juror, I didn’t sit through any trials. Rather we would meet once a week for a few months. The prosecutors would present us with their evidence and we would decide whether there was sufficient evidence to bring charges. We were not the final word, which takes off much of the pressure. Only rarely did witnesses attend these hearings.

  11. jrkrideau says

    I got a jury summons about the first week of March 2020. We went into lock-down on the 15th and I was told we were on hold but down lose my copy of the summons. Still waiting to hear back. I have no idea if we have had any jury trials since March 2020.

  12. garnetstar says

    It’s the PhD. Every time I get called, when I show up they have the jurors fill in a questionnaire that includes what your education has been. Then I get dismissed immediately, before even any selections are made.

    Bachelor’s degrees are too common now, so perhaps they can’t dismiss everyone for those, but they would if they could. As @1 above, credulousness makes the most desirable juror.

    Did you ever hear the quote attributed to Robert Frost? “A jury consists of twelve people chosen to decide who has the best lawyer.”

  13. Mano Singham says

    garnetstar @#13,

    That does not always happen, apparently. My daughter said a colleague who has a PhD and she was placed on a jury in a murder trial that lasted several weeks.

  14. garnetstar says

    Mano @14, that must have been an error!:):)

    Perhaps, in such a serious trial, the defense had reason to want someone who could reason and would help the other jurors do it. I hope they don’t ever want me for such a case, as, though I would do my civic duty, I’d have a hard time listening to the close-up details of a murder.

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