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April 1, 2011

The Judge, The Jury & Waiting Room

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 9:28 am

I am always upset when I have to do jury duty. I like being on a jury, but all the waiting time, delays, and inefficiencies drive me up the wall. Most of all, I don’t like being held captive for an indefinite period of time. I have things to do and I lack patience.

I think that for a jury to give someone “justice” they should not only be impartial, but intellectually capable of understanding a complicated case with conflicting information. Additionally, they should have the discipline to go through all aspects of the case during deliberation point by point in a meticulous way. When I was on a case, the other people did not want to discuss the case during deliberation. They all made up their mind within one second just like that. I was a bit offended, but what could I do. I wanted to discuss the benefit of the doubt, but they wanted to vote guilty as they had no doubts.

For a jury to be a good one, people should be tested to see if they are really impartial and can make fair decisions. Most people cannot. Most people don’t have the patience to sit in court for days and sort complicated issues out. But, what if juries were trained and selected so that only people who were fair and disciplined could be on a jury. And what if those people were paid as well? This is not the same as being a professional juror, but a screened juror. Just my idea.

A judge had to be in court by 11am for his case. He went to the gas station. It was closed, and there was a sign on the front saying, “closed for jury duty.” A guy cleaning up in the back called the clerk for the judge. The clerk was in the court building but in the waiting room doing nothing. The judge was out of gas and needed help. He needed to be towed to the next closest gas station, but the tow truck only took cash. So, the judge went to the bank, but the bank had a line 80 people long because most of the tellers were on jury duty. The manager at the bank called the tellers on the judge’s behalf only to find that they were also in the waiting room and not on a case. Finally the judge called the tow truck company and told them he could not get cash in time. They said it did not matter anyway because they were short staffed as their main driver was doing jury duty, but once again not on a case as he was in the waiting room.

Having juries is an important part of American due process and justice. However, society suffers when services are not rendered because people are on a jury. Perhaps that is a price that society has to pay for justice. But, society also pays a price when the court system virtually hijacks people and makes them sit all day in waiting rooms — however, there is no benefit to society to force people to sit idle for hours on end. Maybe one day the court system will figure this out.

In any case, the judge had to walk to court in the rain. It took him two hours. But the time he got there it was 12:30pm. By the time he got there the jurors were all at lunch. So, he had to wait until 1:15pm to get started. Finally, 1:15 arrived, a bunch of jurors came up to see if they could be selected. However, the case involved a police officer who had been involved in some type of misconduct. The prospective jurors were interviewed briefly by an Attorney who dismissed all of them as they all had some type of bias against police officers. The moral of the story is that the jurors had their time virtually stolen from them not for jury duty but for court inefficiencies which was bad not only for them, but for their clients.

The tow truck juror gave the judge a lift to his car, and then came back with a tow truck, and then towed him to another gas station. The judge got gas, thanked everybody and then went home only to find a summons. The judge had been selected for jury duty. He would have to give up all of his cases indefinitely because he too had jury duty and would be on the hook indefinitely as they don’t accept hardship as an excuse anymore.

I hope you enjoyed my cute story. The moral of the story is to screen people over the phone or using an app rather than having people sit doing nothing all day long for no reason. I’m sure the millennials will agree with me on this issue.


1 Comment »

  1. DH, DD and friends ARE atty’s. You can be impartial all day long. If the case brought before you is incomplete “justice” cannot be meted out just bc you have a certain opinion. Think of the “OJ Trial,” now a textbook example of the prosecution rushing to charge the case. There are statues of limitation, Except for murder, where all parties could be dead before the murder is solved, but they are usually limitations of years. A Good prosecutor builds a case carefully, a lot like “Columbo”, asking questions, acquiring evidence, etc.
    THIS is actually justice bc sometimes the evidence was pointing to one party, but as the case builds, it points to a different party.
    YOU CAN NEVER ASSUME that a particular criminal is guilty of THIS crime bc he/she has a track record. Could be somebody else.
    THIS is why people are often disappointed with the court and the legal system AND why you can appeal a ruling by a judge in a bench trial. (DD just had one of those.)
    RE: services Not Rendered, consider how many lenders PROMISE to provide “Somebody”, to witness at a time/date of their choosing. Just got a signing bc it was just too far for my in town competition, and not that far from MY house. If I hadn’t been there, dunno if it would have taken place yesterday, being very rural. That’s a nice piece of fiction you wrote. The sheriff would have made sure that said judge made it to his jury duty, OR the other atty’s would have disqualified him from being on a jury in the 1st place. I have been disqualified twice, now, happily. Our county just lost 4 really good ASA’s (DD included) to other jobs, and I really don’t want to waste my time empaneled for the next acquittal of a case like killing a puppy in a microwave. (Look it up, Champaign County, IL.)

    Comment by betty — December 12, 2020 @ 7:26 pm

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