Jury Duty (a bit long)

This is a discussion on Jury Duty (a bit long) within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; For the first time ever, I served on a jury. I was actually very impressed with the whole process, and especially my fellow jurors. Every ...

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Thread: Jury Duty (a bit long)

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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    Jury Duty (a bit long)

    For the first time ever, I served on a jury. I was actually very impressed with the whole process, and especially my fellow jurors. Every member was extremely thoughtful and concerned about truly rendering a fair and just verdict. There was never any suggestion by anyone to rush to judgement, or to just decide on anything for the sake of going home. The judge did an excellent job of ruling on matters of law and insuring that all parties understood at all times how to proceed.

    The case was felony assault of a peace officer. The defendant was accused of striking an officer once with a closed fist, while the officer was in the process of attempting to subdue a drunk driver who had left his vehicle and was fleeing on foot.

    It was our task to decide both guilt and punishment. We returned a verdict of guilty after about an hour and a half of deliberation. It wasn't really a tough decision, but we were very careful to make sure that all jurors thoroughly understood all the points of law and no questions were left unanswered.

    The punishment phase took about 7 hours. The defendant requested probation. We later learned he had already been offered probation in a plea bargain, which he declined.

    There was initially strong sentiment in favor of probation, but after careful consideration of issues, including the failure of the individual to ever show remorse or assume responsibility for his actions, we decided that a recommendation of probation would not be appropriate. It wouldn't have adequately addressed the individual's actions, nor would it be fair to the victim (the officer) who was carrying out his lawful duty to protect our community. We denied the request for probation and decided upon 3 years in the state penitentiary system.

    It wasn't easy to arrive at a unanimous decision, but, at the end of the day, I believe we came to a just verdict. As the jury foreman, I especially appreciated each juror keeping an open mind, but never abandoning their principles.

    On the whole, I learned a great deal, and have an even greater appreciation for those who work in law enforcement and in our courts. They were all great professionals.

    I encourage everyone to welcome the opportunity to serve on a jury. When the summons comes in the mail, don't groan and try to think of a way to avoid service. It's a critical to our system of justice that jurors take their responsibilities seriously, and make the tough decisions. It's not perfect, but it's up to us to make it the best it can be.
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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    Member Array PeteTschantz's Avatar
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    While jury duty can sometimes be tedious, it can also be very informative. I got in a rather heated discussion on another board about this very subject. Another point for the folks here!

    Thanks for posting this.
    Pete
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    Well done, Rod!...
    I've only been called to jury duty once, and the case settled before trial so I didn't have to report, but I was looking forward to the opportunity to serve...
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

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    Thumbs up +1 & Great Thread.

    "When the summons comes in the mail, don't groan and try to think of a way to avoid service. It's a critical to our system of justice that jurors take their responsibilities seriously, and make the tough decisions. It's not perfect, but it's up to us to make it the best it can be."

    PERFECTLY well spoken.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Ive been 3 times never sat a case wouldnt mind so much except i have to go to detroit when they call for county

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    Member Array JetGirl's Avatar
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    Three words I hate to see in the mail:

    "Dear Prospective Juror"

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    Great post! The Founders considered the citizen jury to be a vital component of our system of checks and balances.

    I just completed a 90 day term on the jury pool for District Court in Flathead County, Montana. I was summoned for two cases, but both pled out before trial.

    If anyone's interested, here's a link to the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA): http://www.mtssa.org/juries/


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

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    Terry

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    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    Well done, Rod!

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodc13 View Post
    When the summons comes in the mail, don't groan and try to think of a way to avoid service. It's a critical to our system of justice that jurors take their responsibilities seriously, and make the tough decisions.
    Without this personal, individual participation in the process all across the board, it's back to being subjects of a central power. Great reminder of how it's supposed to be. Thanks!
    Last edited by ccw9mm; March 10th, 2007 at 07:25 AM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I've been called a bunch of times, never picked.

    What annoys me about the whole process is that I have to waste a day to never get picked due to my history.

    LE Family Members
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    Licensed Insurance Agent at one time in my life
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    Tobacco Company Employee at one time

    I'm always removed for cause.

    Biker

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    I'm on call this month for federal. Have to call in on Friday to check on the next week. Nothing so far.
    It's a critical to our system of justice that jurors take their responsibilities seriously, and make the tough decisions. It's not perfect, but it's up to us to make it the best it can be.
    My sentiments exactly. Good post. And no, it's not too long.
    eschew obfuscation

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    Member Array lightningstrike02's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Way back when in the Army I was standing in the AG's office and read a cartoon on the wall"NO PRIVATE. A JURY OF YOUR PEERS DOES NOT MEAN 6 CONVICTED OF AWOL" Sure hope that my peers will serve on a jury.
    I am an American. I vote. I will serve on a jury when called. Its a MEMBERS ONLY thing.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightningstrike02 View Post
    Sure hope that my peers will serve on a jury.
    Don't we all.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    The jury selection process itself was pretty interesting. Both prosecution and defense asked a lot of questions designed to draw out preconceptions and strong opinions. Of course, if one side discovered someone who would tend to be favorable to their side, such as someone with an LEO familiy member, they'd take extra time to try to establish that they would be unbiased in reviewing the case. That way, the opposition couldn't strike them for cause, and would have to use one of their 10 peremptory challenges to strike them.

    I was surprised (and annoyed) that some people would ramble on, expressing strong opinions. For example, one lady insisted that the defendant would have to prove he was innocent. Another person said that he was pretty sure the guy was guilty, but would consider probation when it came to punishment. Sheeesh!

    Those of us were chosen all were able to predict pretty accurately who would be chosen. Typically, didn't speak up much, didn't express any pre-conceived notions of bias one way or another, and in general, expressed an over-riding concern with considering the case on its individual merits and evidence. Afterward, the DA's confirmed that was the type of person they were looking for. Someone would carefully consider the evidence and render a fair verdict for both sides. Because if the defendant didn't get a fair hearing, it would open up the possibility of the verdict being set aside or overturned on appeal.

    In this circumstance, the system worked pretty well.
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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    Senior Member Array PapaScout's Avatar
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    I just received my first questionaire to begin the process a couple of weeks ago. I sent it in and have not heard back yet but I would welcome the opportunity to assist in any way that I could.
    "If you so much as bunny hop I'll cut your heart out!" Billy Bob Thornton in The Last Real Cowboys

    "I carry a gun for the same reason that I carry health insurance and a cell phone - be prepared."

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