I was just at Jury duty. I was lucky. I was called in to a nine day case. I sat on the bench and listened to each one of eighteen individuals introduce themselves one by one. The Attorneys asked everyone questions. After several hours, I was asked if I had any negative experiences with the Police and I said that I had. I was released shortly after that. I am not at liberty to discuss the case, so I won’t.
It seems that Jury duty supports the rights of Americans. The rights of particular Americans — namely Defendants. However, it doesn’t support the rights of the Jury members who are virtual hostages. I think that Jurors who are self-employed, medical professionals, or other busy people should have the option to serve at night so that we don’t have to sacrifice our work. Additionally, I feel that instead of serving one day or one trial, we should serve a particular number of days each four year period.
Say for instance that you are super busy at work, and then Jury duty hijacks you and forces you to serve on a 12 day trial. They will no longer accept hardship excuses from most people in California. When you come into Jury duty you can’t plan your life. You don’t know if you will get called into service at all during your designated week. And if you are required to show up, will you sit in that big room all daylong to daydream or will you get picked on a murder trial that will last six months? It is not fair to the Juror.
My suggestion is have 10 days of service every 4 years. If your service is above 10 days because a trial drags on, you should get paid $150 per day regardless of what you normally earn. We are putting in our time as slaves for the benefit of the defendants. They should pay if they use more of our time than they deserve. Can you imagine using 12 Jurors plus back ups day after day for a long drawn out case? It almost happened to me. You could do your ten days all at once, or you could go trial by trial and spread it out over several years. You should also be able to choose day or night, or weekend court. Jury duty should be for the convenience of the Jurors,not for the convenience of the Judge and Attorneys who are getting paid a huge salary. The Jurors get nothing!
But, what if you were a Notary sitting in that big room turning tricks while waiting? It is not illegal, and you could make a fortune! Have your clients come to you. Just hope to God you don’t get called, otherwise no notary income for you for potentially many days.
ATTORNEY: Now, Mr. Swengsly, do you consider the duties of a live in maid to be something they should be accountable 24 hours a day, or less than that?
NOTARY: Ummm, just as long as they keep the joint clean. Can you hold on a second, I think my client is at the door.
JUDGE: Order in the court. What is going on?
NOTARY: Oh, I thought I could have my notary client meet me here. They need an Affidavit signed. It will only take a minute.
JUDGE: Are you trying to show contempt of court?
NOTARY: No your honor, I’m trying not to! (whispering) sign right here… perfect. Raise your right hand…
JUDGE: I’ve never seen anything like this. You are relieved of Jury duty effective this instant.
NOTARY: Oh great. Just one second. Do you solmenly swear to…
CLIENT: Let’s continue this in the snack bar next to the metal detector.
JUDGE: In my 35 years as a Judge I have never seen anything like this — BAILIFF!!!
In short, I feel that Jury duty is a valuable American tradition and system. However, I feel that Jurors are treated like dispensable slaves and treated with complete disregard as far as their personal lives go. Your life is put on hold indefinitely for someone else’s court case. Can’t they hire retired people or college kids on summer break for the long ones?
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