A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Why I don't think I'd be selected for a jury.

A couple days ago, I posted a vlog detailing what sessions I am attending at CrimeCon. In the vlog, I mentioned how I have never been summoned for jury duty, and even if I was, I don't think a prosecutor or a defense attorney would want me on the jury!



I used the article 9 Things Lawyers Look For When Picking A Jury to help me write this post! If you read the article, I think it will make this post more meaningful.

Anyhoo...

Being summoned to jury duty is just luck of the draw. But if you get selected as a potential juror for a trial, both attorneys have the ability to strike people from the jury during voir dire. The following paragraph from the article explains it perfectly:


"Attorneys don’t get to pick their jurors. Instead, using a mixture of intense questioning, keen observation, and stereotyping, they get to eliminate people they think would hurt their case. “It’s not like a baseball team where you can choose your team members,” says Jeffrey Frederick, Director of Jury Research Services at the National Legal Research Group and author of Mastering Voir Dire and Jury Selection. “It’s not who I want, it’s who I don’t want. What we try to do is think of what backgrounds, life experiences, cognitive styles, opinions, and values jurors might have that would make them less receptive to our case.” Clues like demographics and personality can improve a lawyer’s chance of predicting a juror’s stance on a verdict by up to 15 percent. Here are a few things lawyers take into consideration when trying to figure you out."

Let's just cut to the chase! I feel like there are several reasons I would be struck during voir dire:

1. I'm well educated. Prosecutors want well educated people on juries but some defense attorneys sometimes do not.

2. I research a lot of true crime and I love Nancy Grace. Seriously, this would probably be the biggest red flag of all!

3. I have had a close family member in jail. The prosecutors may be afraid that would make me empathetic to the defense.

4. I think our prisons need reformed and our sentencing needs to be reformed.

5. I'm against the death penalty and I don't think I would be able to impose that sentence. Thus, I could not be on a death qualified jury.

All this being said, I do think I would make an excellent juror! Here's why:

1. I would take the job seriously and follow all of the rules.

2. I'm a good listener.

3. I'm a good communicator and would be able to deliberate with the other jurors.

4. I'm open-minded. We all have biases, but I feel like I could confront mine and try to be open minded about the situation.
Have you ever been summoned for jury duty? Did you get on a trial?

Would you be a "good" juror?

What things about you would make the prosecution want you on the jury? The defense?

30 comments:

  1. I have not been on a jury. My mom served on a jury for a homicide case. She said it was extremely hard but she loved every minute of it!

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    1. I'm glad your mom got to do that! Did they find the defendant guilty?

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  2. On one hand I think I would be a good juror because I am not rash and would really think through all of the evidence and testimony. On the other hand, depending on what the prosecutor wants as the final outcome I might not be because I'm not sure I could ever vote for the death sentence no matter the crime. I mean I just don't know that I could live with myself knowing that I had a hand in sentencing something to death.

    Speaking of which, my friend who was summoned and had to go this week, was dismissed yesterday. He didn't want to be there and when it came down to it he told them that he was a devout Catholic and could never give the death sentence so they let him go. He is not religious at all but he didn't want to be there!

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    1. Wow! Well here's the thing, not being able to render the death penalty would only keep you off death qualified juries. So he is lucky that was a dp case and he could make up that lie! Now at first I thought that even though I am against the dp, that I'd still be able to follow the law and sentence someone to that if that's what the law indicate I do... aka, enough aggravating factors. But really, I don't know for sure if I could.

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    2. Yeah, I'm not sure how he knew they wanted someone who was pro DP. I'll have to ask, because initially his strategy to get out was to pretend to be racist or sexist. Well, first he told them that he had a hardship and couldn't be there because he just started a new job (which is true), but they didn't agree that was a hardship!

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  3. Hi Megan - I always get out of jury duty because I am a primary caregiver to my disabled son, but I get called every 3 years and have to tell them the same thing every time! You would think they would take me off of the list! I work for the federal government and many of my colleagues get called like clockwork to jury duty and they must serve.
    I would be a terrible juror anyway because I am far too emotional and empathetic (to a fault sometimes).
    have a great day! Kristen

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    1. Well I guess they can't take you off the list because what if your life circumstance changed and you *could* do it at some point? Would you like to be a juror sometime, even if you don't think you'd be good at it?

      I think it is so strange that there are people that get called all the time and then people like me who NEVER get called!

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    2. yes, that is very true! at some point, I will probably be able to serve, although I would not want to. If it was a one day trial, sure. anything more would be excruciating to me. I can't sit still!

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  4. This makes sense but does the defense and the prosecution take turns eliminating potential jurors? It seems like the kind of people the defense would want to eliminate would e exactly the type of people the prosecution would want and vice versa.

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    1. Each side has a set amount of jurors they may strike. Once you use them up, you're SOL. And you are absolutely right, the type of person a defense may NOT want in a certain case is someone the prosecution WOULD want! But then who knows? I mean, say a teacher is accused of stealing money from a school. The defense may want me because they might hope I would be sympathetic to a teacher, depending on the circumstance, whereas maybe the prosecution would want me because they would think I would look more harshly on a fellow teacher. I guess that is why during voir dire they can ask you a TON of questions to get to know what you are like.

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  5. I think you'd be perfect for the job!

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  6. Where I used to live, I got called for jury duty every year. It was a small county, which is part of it, but I still got called way more often than my husband. I only served on one jury, though. It was a drug case. I got really frustrated with one woman on the jury who apparently didn't understand the meaning of "beyond reasonable doubt." But it was interesting, and I hope you get to do it someday!

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    1. Did she not understand it as in there WAS reasonable doubt but she didn't think there was or vice versa?

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  7. I was summoned once in Massachusetts and once in Texas. I wasn't chosen either time, and I don't think I'd be a good juror. I know the defense and prosecution look for certain things, but I'm a contradiction and neither one would want me.

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    1. What about you makes you a contradiction?

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  8. That is a shame that you have never had jury duty! I was on a case involving a murder. We didn't have to determine if the person was guilty, but just if there was enough evidence to take them to trial for the crime. So gross, and sad, and made me ponder guilt and innocence of people for a really long time!! In the end we learned that the person killed was a drug dealer so really made you think about the value of lives when it's people like drug dealers who are doing bad things to other people! There was also another super sad case about a lady raped and killed. Made me so sick to my stomach hearing about it.

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    1. Wow that is so deep! See that is why you need an open minded jury because you don't want someone who is just like "aw who cares it's just a drug dealer". It's a PERSON. But yeah that sounds like it would really make you think.

      My very first trial I watched on Court TV was of this woman who was charged with manslaughter when she fell asleep at the wheel OR was on drugs, OR both, I forget... but she plowed over a bunch of people picking up trash along the highway. The jury was NOT allowed to know the people picking up trash were inmates at a local prison who were doing community service because they didn't want the jurors to be biased like, "oh it's just people in jail who died" you know?

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  9. I think the jury random selection is rigged! My sister and I have been called twice! but dismissed before jury selection started.

    You would make a great juror!

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    1. Did you want on the jury? Why do you think they dismissed you?

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  10. I think you could do the duty proud.
    I have been called and dismissed...law enforcement in the family - they assume I am unbiased ass I guess lol I am tough, but I would take it very serious and base a decision off whether the case is built well enough.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I think I would do a good job too because I would want to follow the rules and take it seriously.

      No no, they assume you're a BIASED ass, not an UNBIASED ass hahaha- jk. I think we all have biases due to our life circumstances and the key for the lawyers is to find out if we can look past them and have an open mind.

      You ARE tough and I know you would take the job seriously!

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    2. Hahaha you are right! I meant biased ... you'd think I'd know English by now.
      It's messed up they would likely dismiss people who actually care!

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  11. Can you send me a link to the article? It took me to another of your blog posts and I wanted to read it because Clay just got summoned next month. We don't think they will pick him either mostly for the reasons you stated above- he's well educated and has had a family member in jail. I honestly didn't know that lawyers wouldn't look for that because it seems like that would disqualify a LOT of people.

    I think you would make a great juror though!

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    1. http://mentalfloss.com/article/62514/9-things-lawyers-look-when-picking-jury

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  12. I just got a letter stating I have been summoned for jury duty next week. I am to call the day before to see if I am actually to report. I hope I don't get picked! More so because it will break up my normal workout routine and I already had to take some time off due to neck/back issues!

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    1. I don't deal well with routine changes either! I hope you don't get called.

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