An interesting week on jury duty. . .

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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby Keith B » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:33 pm

I never try to get out of jury duty, they just normally don't like a person who has been a LEO on jury for a criminal trial.

It does amaze me how many people blatantly look for ways to alienate the lawyers and get scratched from the list. I have seen some doozies of methods when I have been in the voir dire.

The last case I was called for was a mandatory blood draw case. The Judge asked if anyone had any preconceived ideas about the defendant. One lady who looked to be maybe in her mid-to-late 60's raised her hand and said 'I think he looks like a hoodlum!' The Judge looked a little puzzled and said 'What makes you think that ma'am? :headscratch She responded 'He's wearing a black leather jacket!' Well, yes he was. It was a very nice dress leather jacket that went well with his white button-down shirt, black slacks and polished black dress shoes. :roll:
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby Jaguar » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:43 pm

fickman wrote:3) You must be willing to consider the full range of punishment for the categories and severity of crime that the law allows.
For instance, aggravated robbery can carry from 5 years to 99 years or Life. For sentences of less than 10 years, it is also eligible for "community supervision" aka probation. If you cannot envision a scenario where somebody would deserve Life for aggravated robbery, you are deemed ineligible to be a juror by the court. Likewise, if you could never envision ANY situation in which aggravated robbery should be given probation, you will be dismissed.

Many years ago I was dismissed from jury duty because I could not consider the full range of punishments. This young man was convicted of drug possession with intent to sell. He jumped bail between the conviction and punishment phase of the trial and was being tried this time for jumping bail. The prosecutor said it was a state jail felony, but because he had a conviction prior made it a third degree felony, and because of something else it was a second degree felony, and because of something else it was a first degree felony. At that point I raised my hand; life in prison for jumping bail sounded excessive to me and I wanted no part of it. It was not because I don't want to do jury duty as I have served on juries since then, just didn't feel the punishment would fit the crime. JMHO, IANAL, YMMV.
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby hi-power » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:52 pm

Thanks for the reports, fickman. Sounds like you did a good job at steering a couple of your fellow jurors in the right direction.

I've always hoped to be picked to sit on a jury. I think it would be very interesting. Several years ago I was picked, (not 12 but 6 of us were, I think - for an embezzlement trial), but a few minutes before we were to be seated, the two sides settled and we were dismissed. :smash:
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby Dave2 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:32 pm

hi-power wrote:Thanks for the reports, fickman. Sounds like you did a good job at steering a couple of your fellow jurors in the right direction.

I've always hoped to be picked to sit on a jury. I think it would be very interesting. Several years ago I was picked, (not 12 but 6 of us were, I think - for an embezzlement trial), but a few minutes before we were to be seated, the two sides settled and we were dismissed. :smash:

It's interesting... I recommend doing it at least once for the experience, but it does kinda interrupt your life a bit (especially when your normal sleep schedule is 4:00-noon) so I'm not sure I'd want to serve often.
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby The Annoyed Man » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:35 pm

Funny thing is, I haven't been called to Jury Duty since I moved to Texas over 6 years ago. :???:
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby fickman » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:39 pm

Jaguar wrote:It was not because I don't want to do jury duty as I have served on juries since then, just didn't feel the punishment would fit the crime. JMHO, IANAL, YMMV.

FWIW, I am also not a lawyer.

The way they explained it to us is that we had to be able to consider those punishments as a range for that category of crime, not in reference to the actual case before us. They were saying, "If the facts justified it and the law allowed it." It was still hypothetical at that point.

There were three types of dismissals:
- Those could NEVER give Life for aggravated robbery (they couldn't think of ANY case extreme enough to justify this). (The defense attorney tried to change a few of these people's minds. . . he wanted them back in the eligible pool.) :mrgreen:
- Those who could NEVER give probation for aggravated robbery *See below for my imagined scenario
- Those who could NEVER give 20 years for burglary ++ See below for my imagined scenario

That's the what I meant by creativity. They were asking us, "For aggravated robbery - without knowing anything about THIS case, could you consider A to Z?" It sounds like your guys were telling ya'll a lot more about the case at that time than we knew about ours.

* So, how can I imagine giving somebody guilty of aggravated robbery probation?
It could be a starving mother with a baby who stole milk from Wal-Mart, and on her way out the confronted her and she picked up a baseball bat from somebody else's cart and acted like she was gong to hit the security guard. Maybe she is in her late 30's, was abandoned by her husband, and has never committed a crime in her life. The facts lead to the same charge our defendant had, but I could consider giving her probation.

++ A 97 year old great grandmother (widow) lives alone and leaves her house only 1x / week to go to church. She uses a portable oxygen tank when she leaves and has a permanent unit in her house to help her breathe. She keeps all of her cash for medicine and food in an envelope on her dresser. A thug across the street knows about her money. He's had 15 prior felony burglary convictions, 4 drug dealing convictions, and 2 aggravated robbery convictions. He waits until she leaves for church, kicks the door down, smashing the frame, steals all of her money, and for kicks smashes her oxygen machine. I think I could give him the 20 year maximum for a felony burglary sentence.

hi-power wrote:I've always hoped to be picked to sit on a jury. I think it would be very interesting.

The baliff told me that the best way to get picked is to just stay quiet. The talkers eventually volunteer themselves off of the jury. I really wanted to stand up and share my imaginary scenarios above to help people think through the range of punishment issue, but I resisted. It went against my natural chemistry, but I zipped it unless I was asked a direct question.

I am closely related to a couple of LEOs, which I'm sure the prosecution loved. I've also got a family member on a deferred probation for a felony, which I'm sure the defense liked. The only thing either asked me about was my eyesight, since I had indicated that I have a vision impairment and they'd need to consider that when presenting evidence. Apparently that didn't bother either side.

My wife served a few years ago on a contract dispute between two corporations. Hers was mind-numbingly boring. She warned me that this might have ruined me for any future jury service.

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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby WildBill » Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:47 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:Funny thing is, I haven't been called to Jury Duty since I moved to Texas over 6 years ago. :???:

The prosecutor probably thinks you're too liberal to be on a Texas jury, you being from California and all. Southern California is two strikes! :mrgreen:
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby RSJ » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:10 pm

hang them

I would need to strike half of this forum with a peremptory challenge. :smash:

I prefer school teachers, sociology majors, or psychology major types.
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby WildBill » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:24 pm

RSJ wrote:
hang them

I would need to strike half of this forum with a peremptory challenge. :smash:

I prefer school teachers, sociology majors, or psychology major types.

Only half? :headscratch
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby bizarrenormality » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:22 pm

RSJ wrote:
hang them

I would need to strike half of this forum with a peremptory challenge. :smash:

I prefer school teachers, sociology majors, or psychology major types.

As girlfriends?
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby VMI77 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:12 pm

Jaguar wrote:
fickman wrote:3) You must be willing to consider the full range of punishment for the categories and severity of crime that the law allows.
For instance, aggravated robbery can carry from 5 years to 99 years or Life. For sentences of less than 10 years, it is also eligible for "community supervision" aka probation. If you cannot envision a scenario where somebody would deserve Life for aggravated robbery, you are deemed ineligible to be a juror by the court. Likewise, if you could never envision ANY situation in which aggravated robbery should be given probation, you will be dismissed.

Many years ago I was dismissed from jury duty because I could not consider the full range of punishments. This young man was convicted of drug possession with intent to sell. He jumped bail between the conviction and punishment phase of the trial and was being tried this time for jumping bail. The prosecutor said it was a state jail felony, but because he had a conviction prior made it a third degree felony, and because of something else it was a second degree felony, and because of something else it was a first degree felony. At that point I raised my hand; life in prison for jumping bail sounded excessive to me and I wanted no part of it. It was not because I don't want to do jury duty as I have served on juries since then, just didn't feel the punishment would fit the crime. JMHO, IANAL, YMMV.


I had a similar experience. We were asked if we could sentence a young man to life in prison for possession with intent to sell 4 or more GRAMS of cocaine. I thought both the charge and the punishment were inappropriate, because the DA told us intent to sell could be determined by someone "hiding" or "repackaging" a controlled substance. I'm not going to send someone to prison for life for possession when armed robbers, rapists, and murderers don't all get life sentences. The drug laws in this country are absurd.
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby Blindref757 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:47 pm

RSJ wrote:
hang them

I would need to strike half of this forum with a peremptory challenge. :smash:

I prefer school teachers, sociology majors, or psychology major types.


What if a school teacher is a member of this forum? I'd love to be on a jury...as long as it wasn't during summer break!!! I need it in April! :lol:
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby SQLGeek » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:44 pm

You just better hope it's not during football season!
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby n5wd » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:32 am

Blindref757 wrote:
RSJ wrote:
hang them

I would need to strike half of this forum with a peremptory challenge. :smash:

I prefer school teachers, sociology majors, or psychology major types.


What if a school teacher is a member of this forum? I'd love to be on a jury...as long as it wasn't during summer break!!! I need it in April! :lol:



Heck, during April, I'd more than likely hang 'em all, depending on whether I was Test Administrator #1 , #2 or the bathroom monitor! "rlol"
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Re: An interesting week on jury duty. . .

Postby fickman » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:34 am

SQLGeek wrote:You just better hope it's not during football season!

That same court I was in is about to start a capital murder trial that is expected to go for a few weeks. Even as an optimist, I can admit that the novelty could eventually wear off.

For full disclosure, I work from home, so it was also a nice change to get out in the rat race for a week and be in downtown. Again, I wouldn't want to do it every day. I'd be on blood pressure medicine by the third week of driving in that traffic.
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