I'm happy to see many of us have served on a jury. I loved jury duty so much I went to school to become a litigation paralegal. I'm now in my first year of law school and its as exciting as it is exhausting. Jury duty is one of the most important functions of justice. I get miffed when people complain about having to do it. Can you imagine leaving something as important as a Constitutional right for the judges and lawyers to decide?
Last Edit: Nov 21, 2009 15:12:07 GMT -5 by lovebug
It was actually three cases we heard. A subcontractor had sued the General Contractor for non payment. In return the General Contractor had sued the owner of the home for more money and the owner of the home had counter sued the General Contractor for money he had spent to finish what the General Contractor had not done. The General contractor was a snake in the grass and we quickly found, because of the documentation, for the sub contractor against the General contractor and found for the owner against the General Contractor. The sub contractor had proof he was owed and the owner had the contract and the proof that he had paid the contracted amount. The problem was the counter suit that the owner had brought against the General Contractor that we had a problem with. Apparently the owner had major problems getting the General Contractor to finish the house and they finally made a verbal agreement that the Contractor would do certain things and the owner would do some. The Owner said that since the Contractor had broken the agreement by suing him that he wanted to be reimbursed for what he had to do to finish the house. I and the Jury foreman agreed with that, the Lawyer disagreed and stated that an agreement was an agreement and just because one side broke the agreement the other side should still maintain their agreement. The other three people on the jury were initially unsure (small claims court has only 6 jurists). The Jury foreman and I convinced the other three of our side. The Lawyer wouldn't budge. The Jury Foreman thought the lawyer wouldn't budge because he wanted to try and get the owner as his client and re-sue. I felt that the Lawyer was just upset that even with his background in the law that the foreman and I were able to convince the other three of our case and he couldn't.
It has been fascinating to read of people's experiences with jury duty, and how it compares with what we see on shows such as L&O. I thought I would describe my experience as a juror, as I live in Australia, and it is quite different to the U.S.
For a start, we do not have any voir dire (I hope that is spelt correctly!). The Prosecution and Defense barristers (who are assisted by solicitors) shared a table, with the defendant in the dock sitting next to a corrections officer behind them. If he or his barrister wanted to talk to each other, they had to let the C.O. know. So to choose the jurors, names were drawn out of a barrel, and we had to walk past the table where the barristers and solicitors sat. They had cards with our name, age, suburb & occupation, but that was all the information they had about us, and there was no questioning of us. As we walked past them, the barristers could reject us by saying one word each - they were different words, but I can't remember them. So that was the entire, simple process of empanelling the jury.
From memory, we were paid about $120 per day, plus $12.50 for lunch and public transport reimbursement. On the day which we spent deliberating, we had lunch provided for us, as we were locked away and had our mobile phones taken from us until we had a verdict.
We spent 6 hours deliberating (there were 9 charges mostly being assault, theft & vandalism) and it took so long because one person held out and refused to consider any other views, resulting in a hung verdict on 2 counts.
I loved jury duty, and it was really quite a shock to see how different it is here to what is portrayed on tv. If you have seen L & O: UK, it is the same, judge and barristers wear robes and wigs, but not solicitors.
I hope I haven't bored you all too much, and here is some advice if anyone is ever on trial: DON'T LIE. It was screamingly obvious to us that the defendant and 2 witnesses were all lying through their teeth, and it made it so difficult in deliberations when we didn't know the truth.
I would love to sit on a jury! It would be so interesting to see the process at work. I have been called 3 times -- once to federal court, but never actually got to court (you call a phone number each day of the session and they tell whether to report)
- Same Here! I got Jury Duty twice in a few months! I didn't have to serve either of them. Like you I had to call everyday for two weeks straight after 6pm. (bizarre time.) One of them was for my county the other was for the state (I would have had to drive 2 hours to get there!). I would have like to serve...but much closer.
"Burn the land and boil the sea. At least they can't take the sky from me." - Firefly