i don’t know about that ...

Saw this today: Salon.com Life | Poll finds Americans don't mind jury duty
by Gina Holland

Aug. 8, 2004 | People want to serve on juries and would prefer to have jury trials if ever in court, according to a poll that surprised some leaders of the nation's largest lawyers' organization.

Three-quarters of the people surveyed for the American Bar Association disagreed with the notion that jury service is a hardship to be dodged.

I just wonder about the demos of the people tapped for this poll. I think maybe the 60% number might be okay if polling, say, retired folks or the unemployed. Maybe even people stuck in brain-deadening jobs.

I just received my notice for jury duty. For the first time ever, amazingly enough, considering I've been eligible for about 30 years.

While I'm mildly curious about the process, I do NOT want to go.

And I was very GLAD we didn't have a jury in a case we had that went to trial last February (though I wish we would've had a judge with at least an IQ of 100 -- but noooo, we had some early Alzheimer political appointee stashed on the bench to secure him a pension plan. I kid you not. We won the case, but just barely.) Jury trials take more time and money and unless it's for a criminal case, I highly recommend avoiding them if you're paying the legal bills. I doubt the poll question distinguished between civil and criminal trials.

I don't want to go because every day I have to spend in Stamford Superior Court will cost me money. I'm not paid by anyone if I don't work -- one of the not-so-great aspects of being a freelancer. They won't compensate me for expenses because I'm considered self-employed. If I'm unfortunate enough to be called for a trial, if it goes into day six, then I'll get paid a whopping $55 per day. The only reason I'm even going to show up is I really do consider it my duty as a citizen to participate in this process.

But I hope I don't have to. All it will mean for me is very little sleep for the duration since I can't afford not to work. I don't want to have to head out the door at 7:00 am to drive the stupid ten miles to Stamford in order to be there by 8:30 am. Why can't jury selection begin at noon, after traffic has become sane?

I don't want to have to deal with making sure I can hear everything since the courts really don't accomodate people with handicaps: during our trial, the judge's way of compensating for my deafness was having me sit in the jury box near the front -- and even that was barely adequate (not to mention a real pain when I couldn't consult with my attorney.) I'm still angry about that. In retrospect, I should have demanded full accomodation, but I just so wanted to get it over with that I let it go.

If so many people allegedly want to serve on juries, then make it a voluntary process. Solicit volunteers, pay them better, treat jurors like the linchpins of our criminal justice system that they are supposed to be.

I REALLY hope they don't select me for any trial.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/09/04 at 09:18 AM
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