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1 hour jury duty
Old 07-30-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
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1 hour jury duty

With less than half of summoned prospective jurors showing up, the situation is getting desperate. Trials have to be postponed because of it. But this article Getting out of jury duty is a national pastime - CNN.com
talks about jurors who get a summons in the parking lot of grocery stores saying they have to report in an hour! I could handle it being FIREd, but most people have more commitments in their life. They need more than an hour to arrange for child care or to tell their employer that they won't be coming in. Some doctors' offices charge $25 or more if you cancel an appointment with less than 24 hours notice.

There's got to be a better way. I do understand that people are in general apathetic toward civic duty and feel that they are overscheduled and too busy (amazing how people find the time to stand in line for the new Harry Potter book or iPhone!). Some countries have professional mourners who are hired to cry at funerals. Do we need professional jurors in this country? Anyone want to consider it as a post-FIRE j*b?
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:13 AM   #2
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oh, i'll show up in an hour alright but then i'll make sure they know that i intuit a person's innocence or guilt.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:25 AM   #3
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I got summoned a couple years ago. I forget how much notice I got but it was plenty. I'd guess around 200 showed up. They had one short trial, and asked for a show of hands of those willing to stay and be considered. Enough people had their hands up that they dismissed the rest of us. I wasn't there more than an hour.

The time before, different city, maybe 50 or so showed up, I don't remember if they filled one jury or two but I never left the waiting room, and was out by lunchtime.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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The courts have brought this problem on themselves, imo. They treat you like crap, make you sit in a room and give you no information about if/when a trial will happen, and then are surprised when people don't show up.

Whats needed is a better system where they have a pretty darn good idea if a trial is going to take place, and how many people need to show up. It should be the exception that you are not needed when called and not the rule.

Its a horribly inefficient system when 50-75 people are told to take the day off from work, drive to a courthouse, sit for several hours and be sent home having done nothing at all (except waste your time). I've been called 3 times in the last 10 years, I do my duty and go, and am always sent home.

I'd rather get called once every ten years and actually get seated on a jury then get called every three years and do nothing for half the day.

With a little bit of planning, organization, and operations management applied to the problem the system could be run a whole lot better. IMO, it would be better to occasionally postpone a trial if you don't have enough jurors to seat than to constantly have 50 or more people out of work for the day just in case you need someone...no wonder people don't show up.

Last time I went I showed up a 7:30 AM as requested and they didn't even have a place to get (or even buy coffee) and wouldn't even let you leave the room to find some....a $1 cup of coffee as payment for me showing up would have gone a long way to improve my opinion of the situation.
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:21 PM   #5
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Well... I was summoned to jury duty this year with about 30 days advanced notice. I didn't really want to serve so of course I was selected to sit on a trial which was scheduled to run for 2 weeks. It actually took almost 3 weeks for the entire process. Reporting at 8:00 and serving until 5:00 every day - it felt like working again!
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:55 PM   #6
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It's just something you have to do. I don't enjoy it but I do it.

Now if I got handed a summons with one hour's notice - because everyone else wussed out - that would be another story. A judge that can't manage better than that doesn't belong in office. And I'd be willing to spend a few days in contempt, in the calaboose, to get my point across via the major news services. Then we'd see why that trial couldn't have been rescheduled, which they do all the time anyway.

That's right up there with prospective jurors being quizzed on their own masturbation practices as I read on CNN a week or so ago. Unbelievable.

I get called about every third year but have never been picked. Our county does a a very good job of making people "believe" that they need to be there too.
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerEd View Post
The courts have brought this problem on themselves, imo. They treat you like crap, make you sit in a room and give you no information about if/when a trial will happen, and then are surprised when people don't show up.

Whats needed is a better system where they have a pretty darn good idea if a trial is going to take place, and how many people need to show up. It should be the exception that you are not needed when called and not the rule.

Its a horribly inefficient system when 50-75 people are told to take the day off from work, drive to a courthouse, sit for several hours and be sent home having done nothing at all (except waste your time). I've been called 3 times in the last 10 years, I do my duty and go, and am always sent home.

I'd rather get called once every ten years and actually get seated on a jury then get called every three years and do nothing for half the day.

With a little bit of planning, organization, and operations management applied to the problem the system could be run a whole lot better. IMO, it would be better to occasionally postpone a trial if you don't have enough jurors to seat than to constantly have 50 or more people out of work for the day just in case you need someone...no wonder people don't show up.

Last time I went I showed up a 7:30 AM as requested and they didn't even have a place to get (or even buy coffee) and wouldn't even let you leave the room to find some....a $1 cup of coffee as payment for me showing up would have gone a long way to improve my opinion of the situation.

You need to come to Harris County and see how they do it.... I have heard they were voted the best process in the country....

They have a morning and afternoon session... an big room that can hold 300 to 500 (not sure)... and it is usually filled.. it takes them an hour or so to do their paperwork and then they start calling out numbers... juries are put together quickly and then taken to their court... and they are good at not having a lot of people sent home without a trial....

Once when I was called, they took 200 people to juries and there were maybe 20 left with no trial... when we came back after lunch, enough people showed up for the afternoon session they let us go...
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:36 PM   #8
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There are 80,000 people in my county (perhaps 50K adults), and I get called for jury duty about once per year. There's no way that they need 1,000 people per week, so why am I called so often?
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:48 PM   #9
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It can be difficult to anticipate trials. Defendents can accept a plea bargin up until the trail starts. I used to provide expert witness testimony. I can't count the number of times I would call before leaving the office, but with 1-2 hours in travel time, (large geographic area), I would get there only to turn around and go back to the office.

They identify the jury pool by assuming that all cases on the docket will go to trial, that a % of jurors won't show, and that it will take the maximum number of potential jurors to seat a jury after screening. So, you show up, there are pleas, continuances, too many or not enough jurors, and you feel like you wasted your time. You did not. Pain, yes. But I don't have any alternatives.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:37 PM   #10
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A big problem in my county is that people who don't speak English are (understandably) exempt from Jury duty. The last time I received notice I was exempt because I had "served" within the last twelve months. I get summoned every year and sit in the room for four or more hours but have never been called into a courtroom maybe because of one question: How many days will your employer pay you while you are on jury duty. I always write, "unknown, its a two person office, I have no backup." I know several judges through my job and I don't think they would want me on their jury. Was very relieved the last time I sat in the room as I later learned they choose the jury for a case involving the mother of a child who was mauled to death by the family dog.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:46 PM   #11
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In our county they call about 150-200 people at a time for jury duty. They give about 45 days notice....if it conflicts with your plans, they will reschedule you....they will NOT dismiss you. If you are sick when you're supposed to report, they'll reschedule you. About the only way you have of getting out of it, is if you're dead! Otherwise they expect you to be there.

If you're a 'no show' on the day you're scheduled, they send a sheriff's deputy with a warrant for your arrest.

Usually out of the 150-200 people, they'll choose enough for either one or two trials, plus a few alternates. The majority get dismissed before noon. One time that I got called, there were 2 trials scheduled to start that day. One ended up as a bench trial with no jury needed. And the 2nd one got settled before jurors were called in for the interviews. We ALL got sent home by 10am!!!

The last time I called, I was chosen as an alternate. We sat in the jury room and played cards and drank coffee for about 45 minutes. Then the bailiff came in and dismissed us. The guy ended up just pleading guilty.
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
There are 80,000 people in my county (perhaps 50K adults), and I get called for jury duty about once per year. There's no way that they need 1,000 people per week, so why am I called so often?

there might not be 50K adults that qualify!!! In Texas, if you have children under a certain age you are exempt... if you got to school (college) exempt, over a certain age, exempt... convicted of a felony, exempt...

You might only have half the 50 that can serve on a jury... and then half of those don't show up... so that 1,000 is more like 250... since you need a bigger pool to choose from, that might only be 5 to 10 trials...
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:29 PM   #13
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Just got the notice about 3-4 weeks ago. You are supposed to call in the night before. Your notice has a juror number on it. Sounded like about 250 people on this notice. My number was about #174. Called up to 125 then over 200. Whew.

I've gone a couple of times. Helps that the courthouse is newer. Nicer amenities.

My wife got a Federal jury a couple years ago. She is a stay at home mom. She went. She ended up recieving about $50-60 for one day. I told her to get on a long trial. 6-9 months would be ideal.
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Old 07-31-2007, 02:45 PM   #14
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The basic problem is that people have no respect for the law.
And why should they ? - the rich know that the law cannot touch
them, and the poor know that the law cannot protect them.
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