Twelve Apathetic Men

Why no wants to get convicted of jury duty.


Recently I spent the morning in a large room at San Francisco's Hall of Justice along with several hundred others watching Ideals Made Real, the world's least convincing infomercial. A 14-minute anesthetic that the state of California administers to anxious citizens to ease the pain of imminent empaneling, Ideals Made Real is filled with photogenic flags, close-ups of the Constitution, and candid disclosures from sedately enthusiastic jury duty survivors. "It's often a deep and moving experience to be on a jury," a robotic female narrator eventually concludes, and yet few in the audience seem sold on this premise. Young, old, rich, poor, as demographically diverse a cross-section of the public as the court system's computers can randomly generate, the great overwhelming bulk of them share the last common bond uniting America: They want to escape jury duty. Desperately. When a judge enters the room and asks those who aren't planning to plead hardship of one sort or another to stand up, only a couple dozen of us rise to our feet.

At a time when sentiments against government overreach animate the land, this ennui is, if not exactly puzzling, at least ironic. Trial by jury isn't merely a Hollywood plot device. It's a mechanism designed to prevent government oppression and to disperse the state's power into the hands of the common man. It's the ultimate embodiment of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Just one problem: The people don't seem all that interested in the job.

Earlier this year in Midland, Texas, for example, 601 out of the 750 people who were summoned to jury duty during a week in September didn't even bother to show up to the courthouse. "It's the most dramatic decline since I've been on the bench," 238th District Judge John Hyde told a local newspaper. That same month in the Virgin Islands, Superior Court Judge James Carroll III had to postpone jury selection because of poor compliance to summonses. "With 38 jurors, you cannot select a jury," he told a reporter. In Indiana, 10,000 people have ignored their jury duty summons since January 2011, prompting Judge Mark Stoner of the Marion Superior Court to start threatening jail time for those who fail to appear.

Jury apathy, or even antipathy, isn't a new phenomenon. In 1939, The New York Times reported that New York County was implementing a number of measures to "curb evasion of jury service." One ongoing factor, of course, is the economic burden jury service imposes. In 1791, jury fees were 50 cents a day. According to legal scholar Evan R. Seamone, who wrote about the history of jury compensation in the Spring 2002 issue of New York University's Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, Congress chose this amount to approximate "the rate the average laborer was paid in Philadelphia."

According to Seamone, the average American juror received "at least the prevailing wage of the time period" as recently as 1918. Over time, however, our legislators have began to look more and more at jurors as a source of cheap labor, less valuable (or at least less compensated) than McDonald's trainees and freelance squeegee guys. Today, jurors in federal court are paid $40 a day—well under the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In South Carolina, state court jurors receive as little as $2 per day in some counties.

This is one gig where you can't just tell the boss to take this job and shove it. Or if you do, be prepared to a pay a fine of as much as $2,000 or spend some time in jail. Ironically, the system that protects us from unchecked state power requires unchecked state power. If jury duty were voluntary, the thinking goes, juries would ultimately skew toward retirees, the unemployed, close friends of people who are frequently charged with murder, and the like. To ensure that juries are comprised of what the Jury Selection and Service Act of 1968 dubs a "fair cross-section of the community," we make jury duty compulsory. Anyone who is eligible to serve must serve if selected.

If you're one of those rare souls who has actually shown up for jury duty, however, then you know that the first real stage of the trial process—voir dire—has nothing to do with fair cross-sections, impartiality, or any other noble ideals regularly uttered to the beat of a banging gavel. Instead, it's all about giving prosecutors and defense attorneys a chance to winnow the jury pool in ways that favor their side, as determined by jury consulting firms who've focus-grouped surrogate jurors in mock trials and know which way prospective panelists are likely to lean based on such factors as their education level, their personality traits, and the number of hours they spend each week watching Law and Order reruns.

Is an accused murderer's life at stake? Is a lot of money on the line? The greater consequence a trial is presumed to have, the more effort goes into filtering juries in this manner. And if we're okay with ending up without a random selection, why is it so important to start out with one? 

Make jury service voluntary rather than compulsory and mostly what we'd lose is a costly, time-consuming ideal—the fair cross-section of the community—which we currently honor by immediately trying to undermine it with the costly, time-consuming process of voir dire. 

According to the National Center for State Courts, approximately 32 million people are summoned for jury duty each year. Meanwhile, only 1.5 million people actually end up serving on federal and state court juries. The 30.5 million who don't serve merely increase costs without adding much value except the short-lived "cross-section" illusion. Surely we could find 3 or 4 million prospective jurors to fill those 1.5 million seats through a purely voluntary system if we raised standard juror pay to, say, $100 a day, reduced the time allotted to voir dire, and offered those who do show up to court a much higher chance of actually sitting on a jury after adjusting their schedules to prepare for that possibility.

The average jury trial lasts around 3 days. At $100 a day, the 1.5 million people who serve on juries each year would cost taxpayers $450 million. But think of the impact that $450 million could have. With voluntary service, the court system could stop wasting time and resources on tracking down and punishing jury duty scofflaws. Prospective jurors could be vetted and empaneled more efficiently. Trials would commence in speedier fashion. Employers would reclaim millions of pointlessly wasted man-hours. Perhaps most importantly, millions of U.S. citizens would no longer be detained by their government, or turned into lawbreakers, simply to fulfill someone else's constitutional right. (While the Sixth and Seventh Amendments guarantee us the right to a jury trial if we're accused of a crime or involved in a civil dispute where the value in controversy exceeds $20, the Constitution doesn't explicitly say anything about our obligation to serve as jurors.)

Under these conditions, jury duty would evolve into an opportunity to pursue, not an obligation to duck. The gap between how we champion jury duty in high school civics textbooks and how we actually treat jurors in real life would shrink considerably. As it is, the system seems almost designed to engender cynicism and passivity. First, prospective jurors are conscripted under threat of fine or imprisonment. Then, they're herded into holding pens and made to wait around doing nothing while being taunted by inspirational videos telling them how important they are. After a few days of spending more on parking than he is receiving in compensation, after watching the prosecutor monotonously grill a prospective juror about the time her second cousin was mugged in 1987, a juror knows his role: Not as the grassroots check on government oppression, but as a rather docile cog in the machinery of state. Giving him the power to decide if he even wants to be there is the first step toward fixing the problem. 

Contributing Editor Greg Beato writes from San Francisco.

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  1. My happy memory of jury duty; having to sit there and take it while a judge quoted Adams’ “Juries are the lungs of Liberty” then proceeded to tell us that we’d better leave all the thinking to her and obey her orders.

    Horrible experience.

    1. I think people have a pretty good idea that the jury as Bulwark of the Common Man has been replaced by jury as Rubber Stamp for the Predatory State.

      1. Twelve citizens, honest and true, trying to decide which side has the best lawyer(s).

        1. There are honest and conscientious jurors out there. I’ve been one of them.

          1. another item: I’ve been elected Jury Foreman (foreperson or whatever) twice. The first time it’s fun. The second time, someone inevitably asks the panel if anyone has been a Foreman before. Raise your hand and you’re practically guaranteed to be Foreman(-/person) immediately again.

            But being foreman can be fun. I once got a guilty guy acquitted by repeatedly asking the jury “but did the prosecution PROVE that the accused ACTUALLY ‘pulled the trigger’?” When they all had to agree that the answer was ‘no,’ we brought a not-guilty verdict in.

            The second time I was foreman, it looked like at least three jurors didn’t give a flying damn whether the verdict would be guilty OR not-guilty. So I pointedly asked them… “well, if that’s the case, are all three of you willing to commit to whatever decision the REST of us come to?” They all agreed. So I asked them to sit at the far end of the table in the jury room and not participate in further discussions unless they changed their mind. They sat quietly reading or doing puzzles while the rest of us brought in the verdict. And I could say, with a straight face, “yes, Your Honor: Unanimous.”

            Now I’m retired and would probably like the process even more. Unless the parking really sucks, like it did in Santa Clara, CA, some decades back. 🙂

        2. Maybe if I return a not guilty verdict, I’ll have a shot at banging the hot defense attorney!

          1. He’s strictly a top, I hope that’s OK.

            1. The opportunity to instantiate jury nullification makes my selection to a jury a matter to celebrate from my POV.


        3. and often, which lawyer is the better actor…

  2. The problem is that you’re being compelled to do it. If they offered a reasonable wage and contracted people to do it voluntarily, there would be far less hostility. Under private law… uhh… I’ll stop now. This will end up being a rambling five page post with numerous links to David Friedman writings.

    1. Or even if they offered a reasonable wage to the people they conscripted into it. Right now what they pay jurrors is a joke. And they expect people just to miss work and forgo their income because it is their civic duty or something. People still need to fucking eat and pay their bills, even good, obedient citizens. So you end up with juries full of losers and old people. If we want juries to be a good representation of the community, then serving on a jury needs to be made somewhat appealing in some way.

      1. I’ve skipped jury duty before. Being summoned to a courthouse 30 miles away when your gas tank is empty and you’re unemployed is like getting your balls tazed after you’ve gotten the shit beat out of you.

  3. I’m actually slightly scared to show up to jury duty, as if I’m put on a drug case I would absolutely refuse to convict regardless of the evidence presented, which most likely would lead to my imprisonment.

    Although they would probably weed me out in voir dire anyway.

    1. Although they would probably weed me out in voir dire anyway.

      >they would probably weed me out in voir dire
      >weed me out

      I see what you did there

    2. really? what a bunch of histrionic rubbish.

      please show me an example of a case where a juror was imprisoned for refusing to convict based on principle (as opposed to taking a bribe, etc.)

      you have no fucking idea what you are talking about

      1. …would educate rather than sneering and bullying.

      2. So you are saying noone has ever been charged with perjury or obstruction of justice for their answers during voir dire?

        1. Probably so, but the courts are really reluctant to do this because it makes it even harder to get people to show up for jury duty.

        2. No. Events like that happen, if it is determined that you would vote one way regardless of the evidence present it results in a mistrail. The juror isn’t punished, and in fact, having served on a jury, they try to weed out those first.

      3. Have at it. (Looks like Crackerty Ass got there first.)

        Despite that, it’s doubtful the judge will ring you up for contempt if you show a little bit of brains. Distributing jury nullification pamphlets in the box is probably not the way to go about it.

        I got to serve, not that long ago, and had the privilege of getting peremptoried by the prosecution, probably for saying in voir dire that a defense atty’d be an idiot to let their client testify in a sex case, and thereby let his credibility get crushed on cross…

        I bitched about it at the time, that the attorneys seemed to want the 12 stupidest motherfuckers in Harris County in that box, and that the quickest way to get sent home was to show any sign of intelligence or critical thinking.

        Sleep tight. Hope you don’t get arrested…

        1. That is to say, I later bitched about the situation here. Not there, in voir dire.

          That would’ve been truly stupid, and might’ve earned me a—deserved—seat in jail for contempt.

    3. As long as you don’t promise not to do that, I don’t see how you could get in trouble. Unless they can prove that you took a bribe or committed perjury, you can vote however you want and your reasons are your own.

    4. if I’m put on a drug case I would absolutely refuse to convict regardless of the evidence presented

      They would determine that in advance, unless you lied, and not select you during the voir dire process. They make a major effort to remove anyone that thinks too much.

      1. Your job as a juror is to apply judgement according to the law, it has nothing to do with thinking or not thinking. If you have a problem with the law let the judge know and they will remove you.

        1. No, your job as a juror is to serve as a judge of both the facts and the law. You can refuse to convict on the basis that the facts fail to prove the accused’s guilt, or because the law is unjust — and you don’t have to explain which happened when you vote “not guilty”.

          Of course, the court tries their damndest to weed out potential jurors during voir dire who understand their right to judge the law.

    5. I’m actually slightly scared to show up to jury duty, as if I’m put on a drug case I would absolutely refuse to convict regardless of the evidence presented, which most likely would lead to my imprisonment.

      Nope. A jury deliberating behind closed doors can say or do anything and the court can not punish them, nor does a jury have to explain their decision to a judge, nor can a judge force them to explain their decision.

      So, no, the only way to go to jail for what you do as a juror is to mouth off to the judge and get found in contempt.

    6. Fully Informed Jury Association – check it out.

    7. Matt, you cannot be imprisoned for that. The scenario you describe is called jury-nullification and is completely legal. The trick will be to convince the other 11 that justice is better served by returning a not-guilty verdict.

    8. Matt… this may be one of the best voir dire stories you’ll ever hear. Happened to a friend of mine and this is how she described it.

      Local case accusing a guy of indecent exposure in a local park.

      One of the attorneys asks her if she’s familiar with the park.
      “Yes,” she replies.
      Then he asks her if she recognizes the defendant.
      “Yes,” she replies.
      Next question: When did you previously see or meet the defendant?
      “Well,” she replied, “it was a few weeks ago in that park when he exposed himself to me.”

      complete pandemonium in the court.
      The kind of thrill that comes (so to speak) ‘once in a lifetime.’

      True story, according to my very reliable friend.

  4. “Why no wants to get convicted of jury duty.”

    What is this I don’t even

  5. I’m not sure I would want to serve on any jury that would have me as a member.

  6. Even the comments are apathetic.

    1. No, it’s picked up – should have refreshed.

  7. Jury duty was one of the worst experiences of my life. Petty little case, but somehow a hostile lunatic made it onto my jury and made everything very unpleasant. Made me question the the entire concept.

    1. That’s horrible! Hug?

    2. “Hostile lunatic” = “Guy not wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt”

      1. +1 for the Che T-shirt jab.

  8. Last time I was called for jury duty, it was a drug case. They asked a number of questions, one of which was “Do you think drugs should be legalized?” I was the only one to raise my hand and answer Yes to that question. After about 10 seconds of hushed whispering, Juror the Other Kevin was dismissed.

    A very proud moment in my life.

    1. Any lawyers here? Does this cost the prosecutor one of his exemptions? Or is this a freebie for the bad guys?

      1. I think that would cost the prosecutor a strike. If I understand it correctly, the judge can strike jurors and that not count against either side.

        1. I doubt that there exists a judge other than a certain FBN host who wouldn’t strike someone for saying that they may question the validity of the law.

          1. … which is unfortunately why so few know about jury-nullification – so few get the chance to exercise it.

    2. Proud? What’s so good about that? You let them have what they wanted. Me, I just kept my mouth shut at that question, got on the jury, and hung it in a federal narcotics case.

      And I still got called again for federal jury duty 20 yrs. later.

    3. Couldn’t you simply not raise you hand and then when you nullify and the Judge accuses you of perjuring yourself by answering no to that question respond by saying that you did not lie and answer “no” you simply refrained from answering the question.

  9. I would absolutely refuse to convict regardless of the evidence presented, which most likely would lead to my imprisonment.

    I wasn’t aware that jury nullification was a crime.

    Though you are probably right in that no prosecutor would knowingly allow someone onto a jury who would dare to question the lawgivers.

  10. I’ve never served on a jury. You want to know my secret? Simple, never get called for it.

    1. When they send me a summons, I answer in the affirmative where I am asked if I have ever been convicted of a felony.

    2. I was summoned once. Apparently, going to college 500 miles away is a pretty good excuse for not showing up.

  11. i find it ironic that i have seen several people here BRAG about avoiding jury duty, etc.

    if you think the WOD is wrong, etc. than you should want to serve on juries. jurors are the ultimate finders of fact AND the law (see: nullification).

    reasonoids who criticize me for having to (occasionally) enforce WOD bullshit are actually proud of avoiding THEIR chance to fight back against the WOD etc.

    fucking amazing

    1. jurors are the ultimate finders of fact AND the law (see: nullification).

      How often does a prosecutor allow a juror through who may question the law itself?
      That’s a serious question.

      And how would a judge react after instructing a jury decide strictly based the law, and instead the law itself is questioned?

      I’m thinking all hell would break lose.

      1. and i’m thinking that’s not relevant to my point

        again, i have seen here NUMEROUS times in the past people BRAG about getting out of jury duty.

        among other things, juries don’t HAVE to tell judges why they are deadlocked, etc. jurors can only be asked to render a verdict, and then the foreman and/or jurors can be polled as to whether they have reached one.

        again, if you are against the WOD, think nullification is a valid tool against it, then you are a fucking hypocrite and a fool if you TRY TO AVOID jury duty, one of the few occasions you might have to fight back against it.

        this has been covered a LOT at

        jury nullification is not illegal. yes, it is true that many judges and/or prosecutors and/or even defense attorneys (depending) may try to get a juror ousted if they believe he will engage in jury nullification.

        that’s completely irrelevant to my point, though.

        this is about people who brag about TRYING TO GET OUT OF JURY duty and do so

        1. that’s completely irrelevant to my point, though.

          No that is the point.

          Voir Dire is the problem.

          1. no, it’s not the point. this is an issue of intent. people here are bragging (i have seen it numerous times) they don’t want to serve on jury duty and they have tried to get off and succeeded.

            that is different from wanting to serve on jury duty and getting ousted, when that is NOT one’s intent

            intent matters

            if you are bragging, saying you tried to get off jury duty and succeeded, that is different from saying you got ousted.

            get it?

            if you are an opponent of the WOD, think nullification is a valid tool against same, and are bragging that you didn’t want to serve on a jury, tried to get off, and did, – you are a fucking tool


            if you got ousted but did not intend to , that’s different

            1. If you are an opponent of the WOD, and think nullification is a valid tool against the same, doesn’t that guarantee that you will be excluded from a jury if you are honest when being interviewed by the prosecutor?

              Intent doesn’t matter here at all for the end result is exactly the same.

              1. intent does matter.

                you can evade all you want. if you TRIED to get off a jury and you believe in nullification and the WOD, you are a hypocritical dipshit

                intent matters.

                even if there was no practical difference (and there sometimes is), there is a difference in intent. and intent matters.

                if you are against the WOD, for nullification and you TRY to get out of jury duty… that matters

                1. I actually agree with you, dunphy, but wouldn’t you agree that it’s all but impossible for a libertarian to get selected for jury duty in a drug case, since they will most likely cut anyone that is against the WoD?

                  1. i’m not.

                    it really “depends”

                    sometimes they really don’t spend that much time in voir dire.

                    it does vary a lot from what i’ve seen.

              2. You have no ethical obligation to be honest to anyone who you know will misuse the information you give them. “Do you think drugs should be legalized”? Simply answer: “No, sir, I do not.” Similar for similar questions/subjects of concern to you. Then, on/in the jury, vote not guilty. Period. No explanation. The accused will go free. You can do it – alone and with no help at all.

                The entire IDEA of a jury is to get opinions from the citizens on the specific offense, and on the law that defines that offense. That the lawyers and judges have connived to filter those opinions is a system failing, nothing at all you have any obligation to respect, any more than you have an obligation to support bad law.

                1. fyngyrz here has the right attitude. If you’re not willing to cheat, you don’t want it bad enough. And who are you cheating?

            2. I’m guessing I will never be selected in the voir dire process if I answer questions honestly. I would have to try to get on a jury.

              1. again, irrelevant and not necessarily true

                i fault NOBODY for being kicked out of jury selection process for being honest in voir dire

                i absolute fault somebody for TRYING to get ousted from a jury, as numerous have claimed they have IF they support nullification and are against WOD.

                1. I wasn’t really arguing your point here, just making a statement. But look up thread for my question.

                2. Just out of curiosity, I’m really not trying to make any kind of jab at you, dunphy, are police excluded from jury duty?

                  1. no. most defense attorneys will exclude them, assuming that cops are biased towards trhe prosecution.

                    frankly, i am not. i am biased towards the evidence, but the ASSUMPTION by most defense attorneys is that cops are prosecution biased.

                    i DO know cops who have served on juries. apparently, in those cases , the defense attorney did not think they would be biased and.or their special knowledge/experience etc. would benefit the defense more than their presumed biases.

              2. I would have to try to get on a jury.

                Me too. I would have to lie, lie, lie and lie some more.

                1. Although, from my experience, the lawyers and the judge all said people that don’t talk during voir dire are more likely to get selected, since they’re really looking for reasons to strike people rather than select them. So you could just keep your mouth shut and not have to lie, in theory, and get selected.

                  1. So you could just keep your mouth shut and not have to lie, in theory, and get selected.

                    If I were asked a direct question such as “do you support the drug war? (no)” or “have you ever used drugs? (aye)” or “do you have any respect for authority in any way, shape or form? (fuck you)” I would have to tell a lie to avoid being excluded.

                    1. If I were asked a direct question… I would have to tell a lie to avoid being excluded.

                      True. At the jury selection I was involved in over the summer, they mostly asked people to show hands if they felt a certain way. There were a couple multiple choice type questions where they went down the line and asked everyone, such as choosing whether you thought the point of incarceration was punishment, a deterrence, or rehabilitation.

                  2. When I served on the jury they sat 13 of us in the jurors box and the rest in the stands. They asked questions of those 13 and would bring the next person in line to replace whoever was removed from the jury. I remember every juror being asked questions by both the prosecution and the defense.

                2. The last (only) time I had jury duty I was seriously considering it. No clue what I would have actually done.

                  As it was, I ended up in the pool for something that was both important and that I think my state handles correctly. I was the only person questioned during voir dire, but wasnt struck, and then wasnt drawn into jury.

        2. this is about people who brag about TRYING TO GET OUT OF JURY duty and do so

          What does it matter?

          If you believe that the WOD is bullshit and you believe in jury nullification, if you’re honest in the exclusion process you will be excluded and if you lie to get on the jury aren’t you setting yourself up perjury or some such crime?

          1. I can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think there’s any kind of oath-taking before jury selection, so you couldn’t be accused of perjury in the first place.

            1. Nope, perjury charges can be filed.

              1. Yeah, but can they be proven?

      2. If it is a matter of principle, you should probably lie to get on the jury, then do what you’re not supposed to do.

        I have been on one jury but have been called 3-5 times. I’ve seen some damn stupid people straight out lie about knowing anything about the case, then disregard the judges instructions not to talk about the case, and then start talking about it ON THE WAY OUT OF THE COURTROOM. This was before the jury pool had really been culled at all so about 50 people. Someone else saved me the trouble of ratting on them and they were kicked off the pool, but they seemed to have a bunch of details and had already made up their mind that the guy was innocent because they knew why he had shot the other guy. Unbelievable.

        I’d like to think hese two were too stupid to make it onto a jury but if no one had overheard them or if no one had speoken up, I think they were dumb enough to be allowed on the jury.

    2. dunphy is the reason you can’t have “volunteer” jurors. The volunteers would all be people with an axe to grind. Jury nullification is chickenshit. Change the lawmakers, and then change the law.

      1. jury nullification is not chickenshit. as numerous legal commentators ( etc. have commented on, it was DESIGNED into the system as a check against legislative power.

        if a jury believes that a punishment is too egregious for the crime, or a law is patently unjust, as many legal commenters have argued, they have a DUTY, if not a right, to nullify


        1. Or if they don’t like the cop who investigated O.J. Simpson because he used the N word. The WOD is dumb. If I was on a jury and someone was on trial for possession, and the evidence was clear, I’d find the person guilty. I would first tell the court that i think that drug possession laws are stupid. Ergo, I’d never be on that jury.

          1. The WOD is dumb. If I was on a jury and someone was on trial for possession, and the evidence was clear, I’d find the person guilty. I would first tell the court that i think that drug possession laws are stupid.

            I am not understanding what you mean. If you are asked what your drugs beliefs are in voir dire, and you tell the court that you think the law is stupid, and you are dismissed as a potential juror, that is one thing. If you are already empanelled on a possession case(If I was on a jury and someone was on trial for possession, and the evidence was clear, I’d find the person guilty.) and you think the WOD is stupid, why would you convict them? Wouldn’t it be your civic duty at that point to vote for an acquital?

            I am not trying to bust your chops, I am honestly confused about what you mean here.

          2. actually, OJ simpson is a great example of jury nullification.

            i do think some people honestly thought he wasn’t guilty

            i think several jurors made it pretty clear they found him not guilty as a FUCK YOU to LAPD, despite the fact that he was obviously 100% guilty as fuck.

            i remember the SNL news that weekend “it’s official. murder is now legal in california” lol

          3. However, the last time I was empaneled — it happened to be a federal drugs case again — I wasn’t selected, but if the case was proven I would’ve voted to convict…because it wasn’t exactly your usual drugs case. It was a gang that robbed a pharmacy!

            So because I didn’t really care to get on this drugs case, I felt free to contaminate the jury pool instead — only I’m not sure I was the one who did the contaminating! The prosecutor asked a line of questions whose details I’ve forgotten a year later, but seemed to indicate that she was making a case to legalize narcotics! So I asked her if that’s what she was saying, and she said maybe. Bizarre turnaround of the usual narcotics voir dire. I just played dumb about it and said I’d never thought about it before.

      2. Leave dunphy alone. Sounds like a principle cop.

    3. I got called in for jury duty, and when our group went into the court room for jury selection, the first thing they did was hand out written questionnaires asking things such as ‘can you decide the case based on the law, even if you disagree with the law?’ so they could use the answers to disqualify you if you said no. And we were warned sternly by the judge we had better answer truthfully, or there could be serious repercussions. So it’s not likely jury nullification of a law is going to happen because to get on the jury you’d have to lie, and then they would probably go after you for contempt of court, perjury, or whatever they could think of for lying.

      1. again, you need to do more legal research. i have

        show me a case where a juror was convicted for nullifying.

        show me one

        1. …would educate instead of sneering and bullying.

          1. and a person making a claim would back it up

            again, there is no such crime as “nullifying” and this has been covered extensively elsewhere

            people here who are so against the WOD and think it is such a bad thing, instead of wanking in a blog, maybe could do some of their own fucking research ESPECIALLY before being called for jury duty, in those cases, and understand what their rights and duties are as prospective jurors

            1. They don’t get you for ‘nullifying’. They get you for saying you would decide based strictly on the law as written, even if you disagree with it, and then nullifying, and go after you for perjury, or contempt of court or whatever other bullshit they think they can make stick.


              1. But let’s not let that stand in the way of dunphy’s persecution complex.

              2. The judge dismissed the juror and allowed the remaining eleven to convict the man. (It might well serve such present-day judges to note how Alfred the Great of Saxony, King of “England handled judges who tampered with juries. In the year 889 he hanged forty-four judges because they were interfering with jury trials by removing and replacing jurors in order to gain convictions).”


                1. I say, go back to hanging judges.

        2. Scroll up. Someone posted a link.

        3. Well, when sitting in the court room under such an implied threat, my first thought is not “Hmmm..I don’t have any examples in my mind of any of these bad things they are threatening actually happening, so I will assume they are bluffing and do as I wish.” And there is still no guarantee they won’t attack you in some manner using ‘contempt of court’, etc. even I haven’t had time to google an example to satisfy you. Do you really think they would just brush off someone lying to get on a jury so they could nullify after warning against it?

        4. Here you go:

          From commenter upthread. Sorry I’m not willing to risk this; maybe you are, if so, I admire your balls and conviction.

          1. I would risk it, because the reward/risk ratio is great. I might have to assault a judge if it happened to me, though.

      2. ‘can you decide the case based on the law, even if you disagree with the law?’

        They should have worded that question better. I can. But that doesn’t mean I will.

        1. I can answer that one honestly, but I put natural law above our laws, so its a matter of precedent. Which they didnt ask about.

      3. “can you decide the case based on the law, even if you disagree with the law?'”

        Trivial. Yes, I can. Doesn’t mean I will.

      4. “But Your Honor, you only asked me if I could, not if I would!”

      5. There is no answer you could give on such a questionnaire based on your opinions where you could ever be proven to have been lying. If it were possible to know people’s opinions by some means other than asking them, it would revolutionize polling.

    4. I’d like to have jury duty for those very reasons. But the only time I’ve been called was right after I moved to a different county, so I was not eligible.

    5. Wow, it didn’t take long for your doublespeak to set it, did it? Couple days ago you were saying that nullification and refusal to convict on a set law was a bad thing.

  12. I read inflamitory publications like Reason. I think drugs should be legalized. I openly doubt the immaculate conception of Congressmen, Judges, and Prosecutors. I’ve been called once or twice, but somehow never made it onto a jury.

  13. I’ve been called for the jury pool 5 times in Fulton County. As a straight white male, there is virtually no chance I’m getting on a jury.

    One time during voir dire, an attorney asked if we had a problem with monetary settlements. I raised my hand and said there were too many settlements and too much money in them. Everyone looked at me like I was from Mars. The judge asked if I would have a problem awarding money if there were a good case for it. I said no. That was enough to exclude me.

    Actually sat on a jury once as they were trying an experiment. Rather than go through the entire voir dire process, they picked a number of us at random and did a short trial (arguments were limited to an hour apiece).

    A lady had been hit by a truck and was looking for a pretty large sum of money. The other jurors wanted to give her nothing. I had to point out that even the defense attorney was willing to pay medical expenses. She got a fraction of what she was looking for. The judge and pretty much everyone else looked at us like we were form Mars (again). But it left me convinced that lawsuits would be a lot less profitable if juries were picked at random.

    Single best moment in the jury room was when they called out a Playboy Playmate’s name. Woman had been sitting 2 rows in front of me and I never knew.

    1. I’ve been kicked out during the selection process every time. Lawyers don’t like people who work for companies and have training in Statistics.

      I bet people wouldn’t be so apathetic about jury duty if they weren’t treated like shit in the process.

      1. And the pools wouldnt have to be so large if the process involved picking 12 random people and then enpaneling them. So people wouldnt mind as much as jury duty would be much rarer.

        1. I think the part people really hate is voir dire. The sitting around on uncomfortable chairs for hours at a time, forbidden to leave or (in our county) use a laptop or tablet, etc.

          Its abusive, and designed to let you know who is really in charge.

          1. In Houston, you can bring laptops etc to the main waiting rooms, before being assigning to a specific case, but once you’re in the courtroom, you have to participate fully. I didn’t find it too miserable.

      2. They don’t like people who work in IT or engineering either. I get one question, “What do you do for a living?”, before being eliminiated.

        1. People who think logically are verboten. Of course, my wife gets out every time. She has a law degree, so they want her nowhere near a jury. It doesn’t help that she usually shows up with a copy of one of Bork’s books.

          1. If logical people got on juries, how would murderous Heisman Trophy winners get acquitted?

    2. I’ve never gotten near the courtroom. Jury summons go in the trash. If they try to go after me for that, I can claim it’s not my fault that the monopoly government postal system failed to deliver the notice of imminent temporary slavery from the monopoly government justice system.

      And if they try to claim it was delivered, I can point out I have several kids who may have lost the mail and thus I never saw it.

      1. thank you for exemplifying my point earlier about the people who willfully try to get out of jury duty DESPITE THE FACT that as WOD opponents, they actually would have a chance to strike back…

        and LEGALLY at that.

        jury deliberation *is* part of due process

  14. Ironically, the system that protects us from unchecked state power requires unchecked state power.

    Sort of like the system that protects us from theft and violence stealing from us under the threat of violence to fund their operations?

  15. Was it Will Rogers or Mark Twain that said they would never want to be judged by 12 people who weren’t clever enough to get out of jury duty.

  16. I got struck for requesting the “non-religious version of the oath of office” in primary court. They struck me right away.

    The clerk later told me I should have told them this beforehand. The look on her face was priceless when I asked her if it was the commonwealth’s presumption that I was religious, and speculated how the local paper would be interested in that.

    1. Oh, and in case Dunphy is reading – it was not my intent to get struck.

      1. then i still love you, man!

  17. OFF TOPIC: A while back there was a post on public sector/teacher’s salaries. I said I would find the website that lists NY state’s salaries. It is

  18. Cuyahoga County in Ohio has got to be one of the worst places to get called for jury duty. If you get called, it’s a minimum of 5 days service, regardless of if you get seated on a jury or not. If I recall, the jury pay was < $20 a day, and there was no discount on any of the nearby parking areas. I didn’t even get to sit in a box for to voir dire, just in the courtroom. I did appreciate the look I got for a case involving alcohol as they looked at my BeerGeek t-shirt and Arrogant Bastard work shirt I had decided to wear.

    The really bizarre part was that I ran into 2 people I went to high school with (in a different county entirely, in a small private high school).

    1. The really bizarre part was that I ran into 2 people I went to high school with (in a different county entirely, in a small private high school).

      That is weird. I would have expected your reunion to happen in lockup, not in voir dire.

      1. That is weird. I would have expected your reunion to happen in lockup, not in voir dire.

        From stories I’ve been told, similar meetings have happened in several OVI (DUI) weekend retreats. At least those are a small step above lockup.

  19. I was called to Jury Duty this year. The case was a guy at a local bar had stolen a cop car out of the parking lot, and parked it around the corner, out of sight.
    I remember laughing at the story on the news. I mean, it was funny in “The Hangover” but not in real life, I guess.
    Anywho. It took 2 days to build the jury. Being a small town, everyone seemed to know the perp and his family. It seemed people were eager to be disqualified.
    I had a positive attitude about the thing, keeping my libertarian sensabilites to myself. I dutifuly took notes for hours and looked for ways to aquit the guy. The prosection has video of someone getting in the car, and witnesses who heard the perp bragging in the bar later. PLUS there was a video-taped confession from when the guy was arrested the next day. What a waste of time!
    The defenses cases was, “It was a prank. He was only in the car for 17 seconds. It shouldn’t be a felony.” The prosecutor flipped out and was livid that she would advocate jury nullification. I guess it is illegal or something. Aparently the perp had refused a plea bargain, hoping the jury would excuse the prank.
    At the end I was picked to be an alternate and the jury found him guilty. It also sucked that the judge decides the punishment. I would have sentenced the guy to wash the cop cars every Saturday for a year. That would have been justice. As it is, as we were told we can only judge the facts of the case (what the judge permits to be shown that is)I felt like I had very little power.

    1. I felt like I had very little power.

      Isn’t that the point?
      I bet most prosecutors and judges would be happy to eliminate the jury system because it takes power away from them. The best they can do is take power away from the jury rendering it next to irrelevant.

      1. right. it’s “next to irrelevant”. except that it, and solely it, decides if the person gets convicted or not


        1. With sufficient weeding out by the prosecution and intimidation by the judge, they can indeed be rendered next to irrelevant.

          1. which is still ridiculous.

            the reality is that one of the reasons so many people plea is BECAUSE juries *are* often so unpredictable.

        2. Except that in this case, the guy had confessed. So the facts of the case were not in dispute. The dispute was to the appropriate application of the legal code (and punishment) to the offense, which the jury doesn’t really get to decide.

          1. just because a guy confesses does not mean the facts are not in dispute at all. intent is still a question (many states require an intent to permanently deprive for GTA , some don’t, ) etc.

            regardless, the jurors can still find however they WANT to find (see: nulliification without fear of redress)

            1. What do you think of the GTA V trailer?

              1. haven’t seen it yet. but i am salivating for Skyrim

        3. “except that it, and solely it, decides if the person gets convicted or not”

          But it’s a stacked jury. Why are you being so dog-gammed obtuse, dumphy?

          1. Why are you being so dog-gammed wet, water?

          2. right . it’s a stacked jury. that’s why OJ got convicted and… oh wait…

    2. the defense IS (generally) precluded from arguing that the law shouldn’t be the way it is.

      the jury is NOT precluded from considering that to be the case.

      those are two entirely different things

      defense attorneys are officers of the court and are bound by codes of conduct in procedure, etc as to what they can and can’t argue.

      just as the prosecution is.

      1. the defense IS (generally) precluded from arguing that the law shouldn’t be the way it is.

        If YOU were as educated about nullification as you think you are, you would know that this was not always the case.

        Jury nullification arguments have been allowed in the past, its a relatively modern trend to not allow them. However, its always been controversial, which is why Chief Justice Jay had to make a strong point of supporting nullification.

        1. Dunphy has demonstrated repeatedly on this thread that he’s only interested in self-aggrandizement and one-upmanship; not in educating anyone, or advancing the cause of libertarianism.

          1. few things advance the cause of libertarianism more than an anti-WOD juror exercising jury nullification in a drug case.


        2. and again, it’s entirely tangential to what the JURY can do

          can a juror nullify?


          can they be punished for it?


          if you disagree with the latter, show me one example where they were.

          1. Dunphy is right.

  20. My wife had jury duty earlier this year and I was pretty disgusted by the process as she described it, particularly the way the judge instructs the jurors. They make it into a fill in the blank worksheet. You can’t even judge teh facts in your own way. And the fact that the judge claims that you have to follow his interpretation of the law is bullshit. Jurors should at the very least be provided with the text of the law in question.

    1. Jurors should at the very least be provided with the text of the law in question.

      But then they might not do as instructed. The job of the jury is not to judge the facts and the law. That’s the judge’s job. The jury’s job is to do what the judge tells them to do.

      1. again, false.

        under the jury nullification theory, which has ample legal backing (again, gone over endlessly at scotusblog, etc.), the jury CAN consider the law AS WELL

        what *is* true is that the judge is not obligated to explain that to a juror. and no judge will.


        2. dunphy, did you read this?


          It’s only been posted three times now.

          It is an example of someone being prosecuted for the crime of jury nullification, otherwise known as contempt of judge.

          So in theory jury nullification exists, but in practice it is a good way to get yourself into a lot of trouble.

          1. Correction, four times.

          2. not at all relevant. she SHARED A PAMPHLET on jury nullification with another juror

            an entirely different thing. jurors are expressly prohibited from bringing such materials into deliberation and CERTAINLY from sharing them with other jurors

            so, it’sentirely not on point

            again, show me somebody ever convicted for NULLIFICATION

            this is an entirely different thing.

            1. From TFA:
              She was issued the contempt citation for failure to inform the court, without being asked, that she had been arrested as a teenager thirteen years earlier for possession of an illegal substance. She was apparently supposed to have remembered each question asked to all of the preceding jury candidates and, then, at the end of the very long voir dire process, volunteer answers to possible questions she wasn’t asked.

              So she wasn’t convicted for the pamphlet, apparently. She was convicted for contempt of court, as we have been saying all along would happen, for not being sufficiently ‘honest’ during voir dire. We have also maintained that they don’t get you for ‘nullification’, they get you for contempt of court or perjury as retaliation for the nullification, as this case demonstrates.

              1. But SEE she wasn’t convicted of JURY NULLIFICATION she was convicted of CONTEMPT.

                1. correct. she lied in her background. she did NOT get convicted for her NULLIFICATION

                  again, show me one person convicted for nullifying

            2. She was issued the contempt citation for failure to inform the court, without being asked, that she had been arrested as a teenager thirteen years earlier for possession of an illegal substance.

              Apparently pigs cant read.

              1. fair enuf. i did miss that. i am still not seeing where she was charged with jury nullification. apparently, the claim is BECAUSE she nullified, they used this as revenge. mebbeso. i will note that regardless of whether she nullified, showing the pamphlet to another juror was not proper. nor was bringing it into the jury room at all

              2. She was issued the contempt citation for failure to inform the court, without being asked, that she had been arrested as a teenager thirteen years earlier for possession of an illegal substance.

                Something to note here: being convicted of a crime doesn’t automatically mean you would think the law against the crime should be nullified. Peter Bagge talked about it in his comic in the July issue of this year.

  21. My last experience with jury duty was similar to Harpua. The case was, if I remember, a moderate two-car traffic accident. The plaintiff had already been awarded, and received, payment for the vehicle damages and immediate medical care. Now, after a couple of years, they were suing to get compensated for additional ‘psychological’ damages. During voir dire the plaintiff’s lawyer merely asked the collective jurors “Do you think there are too many frivilous lawsuits in this country?” About two-thirds of us raised our hands. “Thank you for coming. Excused!”

    1. Whoa. What must the other prospective jurors have thought after he’d told them this was a frivolous lawsuit?

  22. Had never thought about this. Find myself agreeing with Mr. Beato – why IS jury duty “compulsory”? Does it REALLY matter? No.

    See, this right here is why I read Reason…

    Thanks, Greg!

  23. Why bother hiring Expert Witnesses when you can just buy the professional jurors.

    1. Yeah cause giving a juror a $100/day stipend is EXACTLY the same as buying the jury.


  24. Does dunphy really think he is educating us about nullification?

    We have been fucking arguing about it for a decade on here.

    1. I’m amused that a man who lacks the guts to join LEAP (but did friend it on Facebook FWIW) lecturing us about the courage of our convictions. What a big jerk.

      1. translation: evasion

        1. i find it ironic that i have seen several people here BRAG about avoiding jury duty, etc.

          Apparently zero = several. Im not seeing it.

          1. jesus christ. i’ve commented on this NUMEROUS times in the past.


              No people HERE have bragged about it.

              1. and as i said, i have commented numerous times on it in the past.


    2. i’m certainly educating you about it

      1. Bullshit, you havent mentioned anything I dont already know.

        And you havent even referenced Jay.

        1. if by Jay, you are referencing the case where the JUROR handed out a pamphlet on jury nullification to another juror, that is entirely not relevant.

          that very well could be contempt of court as jurors are expressly prohibited from bringing any sort of reference EXCEPT THEIR OWN NOTES into deliberation. for a # of reasons.

          1. Jay was a rather famous Chief Justice of the supreme court (the first, in fact) and author of some of the Federalist Papers.

            He had some very, very choice words to say about jury nullification. Stuff that the courts today ignore.

            If you had read my previous posts on jury nullification over the past few years, you would know this.

            1. Nice pwnage, robc.

              1. You know, I wouldnt have gone off on the Jay bit if I hadnt referenced him as “Chief Justice Jay” earlier in the thread.

                1. fair enuf. i didn’t catch the jay reference.

                  1. And to pound the point home that you dont know what you are talking about, Jay thought it a REQUIREMENT for judges to inform juries about their right to nullification.

                    No pamphlets would have been necessary.

                    1. and regardless, that is not (obviously) law of the land.

                      but something that libertarians CAN do is inform people ABOUT jury nullification

                      frankly, i don’t think anybody who saw the OJ trial is unaware that jury nullification can and does happen

                      absolutely 100% 🙂

          2. As pointed out above, she wasnt charged for the pamphlet.

            1. and as i pointed out. she wasn’t charged for the nullification


      2. For all the past threads you have read, apparently you have avoided all of my jury nullification posts.

        1. or maybe i don’t remember them. with all the frothing bigotry i have to wade through, it’s difficult to have perfect recollection

  25. I recounted my story back in Dec. But here it is again:

    I suprised myself and made a cogent argument while in voir dire agiainst drug laws…i was actually awesome and I dont get to say that much but some sort of divine libertarian poet entered me and the following transpired:

    The judge asked us if we knew either the accused or the victim or victim’s family in this case. It was clear that we should be excused due to such knowledge. The prosecutor said that the People of Colorado are the victims in opening earlier. I then concluded that I know the victims and am therefore one of them as well as everyone else in the room. He then asked me specifically what I thought about the crime of possestion of MJ. I said “since there is no victim in this case then there is no crime or as if you state the people are the victim then we all must be excused.” He said “thanks, for your service, have a nice day.”

    On another disturbing note, the defense asked “what do you think of police testimony?” and two people said “if he is in here then he must have done something wrong.” to which the JUDGE interrupted and asked “What about those two cops and that judge in Weld county we convicted of corruption a while ago?”, their response was essentially “so”. She promptly said, “thanks for serving, have a nice day.”

    I have never been so proud of a judge before, especially since her court is right next to the fuckstick that said “having more than one candidate on the ballot is confusing to the voters.” (I can post his ruling if I ever figure out how)

  26. There would be much less need for jurors if fewer things were criminalized, AND the criminal judicial system (cops, prosecutors, and judges) were held to absolute standards in due process.

    1. Maybe in Wonderland. Not gonna happen in reality.

  27. I’d love for some guy that was on trial for selling ridiculous amounts of weed, or something, and facing life without parole to be found not guilty by a liberty-minded jury. When the Judge asks “what the hell, jurors?”, it would also be good to hear, in an ideal world, a response like “none of your fucking business”.

    1. I don’t believe there are any courts in the land where jurors are *required* to explain their decisions. The best avenue for a jury that reaches an unpopular decision is to never say a thing. Ever. They can’t impugn your decision-making process if they never know it.

  28. The jury process is part of the problem. I got called four separate times for jury duty in Austin. Of course, I was living in Houston at the time, so I had to decline. My one local jury duty was showing up to have the judge inform us that court was closed for the week and that he wasn’t sure why we were there, after the automated system had rescheduled me 2 days before.

    So yeah, maybe they could get their shit together a little bit better and it’d be less of a problem.

  29. “If jury duty were voluntary, the thinking goes, juries would ultimately skew toward retirees, the unemployed, close friends of people who are frequently charged with murder, and the like.”


    What scares me is the kind of people who obsess over the OJ Simpson trial, the Michael Jackson doctor trial, the Caylee Anthony trial, and most of all…people who watch this.

    1. SPOILER ALERT: The link is like the Scary Maze Game.

  30. Make jury duty an opt-in system. People can “serve their country” by registering for jury duty.

    Pay them per hour whatever they normally earn (information verifiable from income tax), with a minimum of something higher than minimum wage. This way, low income workers, unemployed, and retireds also have a reason to want to be jurors. Make it against the law for employers to terminate someone for being on jury duty (which it already is, I’m pretty sure). Jury duty ends up being sort of like voluntary military service, except all you have to do is be on a jury.

    There should be an incentive to make people want to sign up for jury duty. How about making it a requirement to register to vote? Disabled people can vote, as long as they can think for themselves. In general, they should be able to serve on a jury, too.

    1. How about making it a requirement to register to vote?

      I’m pretty sure the voter registration rolls are what they use for jury pools.

      1. I’m late at this, but… in my location I think its drivers licenses only.

  31. Constitutional right or no, I’m not sure I’d prefer being judged by a 12-pack of Tv-watching asshats than a corrupt judge.
    Unless I could show the glove didn’t fit, of course.

    1. The judge is an agent of the state, who defends the interests of the state.

      There’s a reason almost no competent defense lawyer will waive their client’s right to a jury trial, unless some really exceptional circumstances prevail.

      1. My divorce lawyer had a client who requested a bench trial when his wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing their kids. They went through several hundred jurors without being able to seat one.

        In the end, it was a smart move. At the end of closing arguments, without even getting up, the judge announced “Not Guilty” and banged the gavel and the guy was free. My lawyer is convinced that a jury would have assumed that the cops wouldn’t have charged if there was some doubt as ot the substance of the charges.

        The judge OTOH was far more jaded and skeptical and recognized that the mom was lying through her teeth and was prepared to follow that thread to its uncomfortable conclusion.

        1. I agree that, on rare occasions, that can be a smart move. The rarity with which defense lawyers try that tactic, however, speaks volumes of the bias of judges towards convicting the accused.

          1. it’s OFTEN a smart move. when your case rests on facts and the law… use a bench trial. when it rests on appeals to emotion, etc. rely on a jury.

            that’s why defense usually chooses juries

  32. Greg Beato seems unclear on the concept of citizens resisting a predatory state that wants to make them temporary slaves.

    “But, but, if you allow the state this huge power grab over your freedom, you might have a marginal effect on preventing a power grab over someone else’s freedom.”

    No fucking thanks. Pay me what my time is worth or the jury summons goes in the trash.

  33. If you really want to get excused from jury duty (and don’t have the stones like I do to throw all such summons in the trash), simply refuse to answer any questions posed to you by the court during voir dire, citing your Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions posed by government agents, starting with the question, “Do you swear to tell the truth …”

  34. To get out of jury duty, just say you’re a member of FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association. Go to for more.

    1. and of course the idea that one should WANT to get out of jury duty is odious. that’s kind of my point

  35. I would love to be on a jury, but sadly I know that will never happen. I have been called three times, paneled a few times, and excused every single time. That whole “have you ever been a member of law enforcement” question gets me every time.

  36. Beato is still the best part of reason, together with Jacob.

  37. the facts are still this.

    nobody can point to a case where a person was convicted based on their admissions that they chose to nullify. of course plenty of jurors have chosen to nullify WITHOUT making such admissions, but even when people HAVE admitted they ruled a certain way in a case because they thought the law was an ass, there aint jack and shit that can be done about that.

    jury nullification is NOT illegal.

    and nobody can point to cases to the contrary

  38. Speaking of the U.S. fashion industry, a handful of the few big-name designers. However, you must not forget Marc Jacobs. His designs are generally free, but the product is designed themselves. For example: Marc Jacobs Handbag, Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbag. In fact, his decks Marc by Marc Jacobs also stand out in the fashion industry. Marc by Marc Jacobs Bags as many types of styles, has also been sought after by many big Hollywood stars.

    1. I lllloooove this guy’s opening phrase! Goes downhill from there, though.

      1. Here’s the first paragraph of Howard Roark’s speech, translated to Chinese then back to English, using Google Translate:

        “Thousands of years ago, one of them discovered how to make fire, he may be burned, he taught his brother’s share of light, he was considered a evildoer, had a terrible demon with human handling, but since then, man, cold fire , cook food, light their caves, he left them, their ideas and he did not lift a gift from the earth dardness several centuries later, the first man invented the wheel, he could tear his brother taught him to establish the rack, he is considered to be a mistake to venture into prohibited terrritory. but then, men could travel past any horizon. he left them a gift, they have not idea, he opened the world’s roads.”

  39. Let me first say that if I’m in a position where jury duty will not hurt my employment or ability to pay bills, I’ll do it every time. Nullification for the win.

    But I’m wondering…what happens in voir dire if you refuse to answer their questions?

    They can compel you to show up via summons. But do they have the legal authority to make me speak?
    I really doubt that most states have such provisions in their code. They probably do for lying to an official, but for silence…?

    P.S. Imagine if you went to jail for jury duty. Just refuse to do anything. Don’t pay fines, don’t do anything.
    Would you eventually go to trial?
    Your jury would be a bunch of people hearing testimony about how jury duty sucks. But the people judging you didn’t want to get out of jury duty. So don’t they have a conflict of interest?

    Voir dire for that case would be almost impossible.
    Defense Q: Do you want to do jury duty?
    Juror A: Yes
    Defense: You’re out

  40. My jury duty experience was a very positive one. I was selected for Federal Circuit court and seated on a week-long drug-dealing trial immediately. The voir dire was not excessive or prejudicial.

    The judge was good enough to let us take notes, which, for some reason, some judges don’t allow — I don’t understand how a juror is supposed to keep track of several days of complicated testimony without his own notes. Requesting bits of transcript from the court stenographer assumes that after several days you remember something well enough to know you need to request it.

    Ironically the only other time I’ve been called for jury duty was about two weeks after that trial was over, this time for county common pleas court. I would have loved to have done it, but the hardship claim was too simple and my bosses wouldn’t have bought me ducking out of work a second time (I didn’t even try to claim hardship the first time: I was looking forward to it).

    I don’t think making jury duty voluntary is the right way to go about it. It would attract a certain personality type to whom I don’t think I’d feel comfortable trusting my freedom.

    1. I should add that my positive experience with the deliberation process was almost entirely due to my own diligence.

      I have to admit my fellow jurors weren’t all the sharpest tools in the shed and I had to repeatedly clarify that the defendant was facing about a half-dozen different charges that each were being backed up by different pieces of evidence, that many pieces of evidence had been submitted that were effectively irrelevant to any of the charges and that we need not convict on all-or-none of the charges.

      Specifically, I didn’t want to convict on the use of a gun in commission of a felony because the only witness of it was a paid informant who admittedly didn’t see the gun *during* the felony (a drug deal committed outside), but saw the defendant with the gun shortly after, inside the house. Another witness (and the defendant, of course) denied that the gun was present even in the house, and the undercover police officer who conducted the deal also never saw the gun. It didn’t pass the “if it was me up there” test — the hard evidence was way too shaky.

      I was amazed that I was unable to convince the rest of the jury of this (in the years since I have come up with all sorts of good arguments I wish I’d made), but I was able to assuage my conscience somewhat by the fact that the guy was guilty as sin of every single other charge.

      I still feel bad that I couldn’t get the rest of the jurors to agree on that, though — I don’t like anyone, even gangster scumbags, convicted on evidence that so clearly fails the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

  41. After 25 years of living in one Twin Cities metro county I moved to an adjacent county and within a few months the mailman delivered my first ever jury summons. OK, my employer has a generous policy: they take the per diem and pay me regular wages. Still, I would have served for free. I convinced myself that the defense attorney would get wind of my advanced degree, likely conservative professional outlook and dismiss me in a peremptory challenge; but no, I served. Not only that, my fellow jurors elected me foreman. Better still, we convicted a gang banger on a weapons charge and sent him away for five years. Later, the judge told us he was even worse than we had been allowed to hear during testimony. Jury duty left me 100% satisfied.

  42. I don’t know if this has been stated already and I don’t know if jailtime has been awarded to jurors in this country who dared to use nullification but sometime check out the history of English Star Chamber courts and you will find cases where jurors were punished quite heavily for daring to defy the court.
    When the judge becomes a prosecutor instead of wearing the impartiality hat, anything can happen.

  43. thank you a lotsssssssssssssss

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