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Old 10-11-2008, 06:23 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by dave the baker View Post
A number of years ago a friend was called for federal jury duty. He was selected. The trial lasted over half a year. He owned his own business and asked to be excused as he was the only support for his wife and kids. Motion denied. By the end of the trial, he had lost his business, his home and his wife left and sued for non-support. She won.

I, too believe in serving, as it is my duty, but it's a two way street. The system needs to show compassion for the people that serve. I was told this wouldn't have happened on a state or county jury, but was not uncommon on a federal one.
That is sad, but I can't believe his wife left him over that! It's not like he had a choice in the matter and he did try and get out of it. That just seems wrong that she did that, and wrong of the judge to not take it into consideration in the divorce either.

I got called once, but ended up not having to serve. Which was a good thing as I had no one to watch my kids at the time and they said no one (and they mean NO ONE) can get out of jury duty.
I agree it is an important part of our system, but I hate what it does to some people and their lives. They really need to do more to ensure safeguards for people putting their lives on hold for jury duty.

That and I hate the idea of 12 'angry' jurors who might be upset at going thru hardships being the ones to judge me in the case of a trial. I wonder how many verdicts were done hastily because they needed to get back to their lives quickly. I am sure that is not everyone, but I can't help but think of it as a possibility in some cases.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:18 PM   #72
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I was summoned more than 36 years ago but was nursing my baby and got excused.

Then I went to work for the court system as a Judicial Assistant to a Judge. It was pretty easy to get excused from jury duty for hardship reasons until a Presiding Judge who happened to be female (I'm not proud of this) and who was of a "privledged family" decided that Everyone could afford to spend 2 weeks sitting around the courthouse without being paid so nobody was excused. She even refused to excuse a nursing mother saying "she can express her milk". That went to the supreme court I think. Personally I think she should have been slapped for having such an elitist attitude.

In all the years I worked with juries in a trial court, and we tried every sort of suit, I can say that each and every panel worked hard, did their best and came out of deliberations looking a bit worse for the wear. Because of them our system "works". I take issue with the way in which evidence is sanitized before the jury sees it but still, it's our system.

Just recently I was summoned and went expecting to be immune from being chosen because of my job history; I expected to be home before noon and if not certainly free of service from thereon. Consequently I made no provisions with respect to the volunteer work I do now...Murphy caught up with me.

Surprise! I was chosen for Grand Jury - can't be excused from that because of bias. One month of service. I learned a great deal. We certainly didn't indict on every case but the District Attorneys sure work hard.

Here in Oregon I'm out for the next 2 years. Unless, of course, Federal Court calls!
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:21 PM   #73
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It might not have been that great a marriage to start with, and all she needed was something like this to put it over the top. What bothers me most is the fact that the judge had no compassion for the jurors whatsoever. People like that have no business on the bench. The problem is a federal judge is appointed for life; it almost takes an act of God to remove him/her. The original idea was the judge wouldn't be influenced by politics and other outside pressures. Irrascalbility and downright meanness were never factored into the equation. Unfortunately, I have no solution, and I doubt anyone else does.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:16 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by dave the baker View Post
... Unfortunately, I have no solution and I doubt anyone else does.
I'm afraid you are right.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:31 AM   #75
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This is so odd. I always register and vote, which is where, I'm told, they get your name for jury duty. NEVER been called up. Not in Virginia, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, and a few stops in between. My husband got called up just as we were leaving Florida. We were in the middle of raging fires, selling a house, Mom's cancer, etc, but he went. Found himself sitting next to a Greek Orthodox Priest and had great conversations with him, eventually was dismissed. He got called up here and it was very, very funny. The lawyers were asking him questions. Did he know any law enforcement people. Yes, one friend is with the city police, another with the county, and several over the years with the state and feds. One was to ask him what he did before he retired. He was an Army officer. The defense got up and whisper whisper whisper. Excused. We now live in a small town, and a lawyer friend told him that he'd never serve on a jury because people have such preconceived notions of what an Army officer is! How funny! I'd love to serve, I believe that we should all do what we can to make sure our government works. I enlisted and did a term with that, I've voted in every election I could, and would gladly do jury duty.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:48 AM   #76
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Claire, there's no happy medium. We can be called every 6 months, whether we serve on a trial or not. Originally our names were obtained through voter's registration. The courts decided they needed a bigger pool so they began using driver's licenses.

I received a jury summons more than anyone I knew. I went every time. A few years ago I served and received another summons a couple of months later. "Enough", I thought. I sent an email of protest to the Court. It turned out they had one name on my voter's registration, first, maiden, and last name - and another on my driver's license, first, middle, and last name. I was listed on their computer as two different people.

I was surprised to receive an email response within an hour or so, explaining the error and thanking me for my long history of jury service. I haven't received a summons since.
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