Orlando Sentinel – Hunters Creek Neighborhood Blog
January 13, 2008

I think I might be the only person in the USA that actively WANTS to serve her Jury Duty.  I was served my notice just before Christmas … and I’ve been looking forward to this week ever since.  Thursday is the day I’m supposed to serve – I have to call up on Wednesday after 5pm to see if my numbers been drawn.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this happens – because I really really want to go through the WHOLE process this time.

The last time I was up for Jury Duty I came close to making it on a case.  My number was called, I showed up at 7:30am and sat in the potential jury room all morning.  Our group was the last called – 11am.  We had been told if we weren’t called by lunch break we could head home.  So the others in my group were a bit peeved that they were selected so late in the morning.  I was ecstatic!

We headed upstairs to a courtroom, and were eventually brought in to be questioned by the lawyers.  I think my downfall came when the lawyer asked me what I thought of the process.  I was completely honest and said {naively} “I’ve always wanted to serve on a jury.  The process fascinates me, I have the ability to weigh both sides of the story before making a decision. ”  In my head I was screaming “I’m the PERFECT jurist!”  After more questions, we were sent out to lunch.  An hour later we all sat outside the courtroom for what seemed like hours.  We were called back in, and discovered the persons selected were those who stated they didn’t want to be there, that they were biased toward one side over the other, or they thought the guy was guilty simply for being there.  Needless to say – me the perfect jurist – was sent home.

Sooooooo … this time around I’ve been asking people their advice for making it on to a jury.  Basically I’ve asked if they had ever served on a jury and how they responded to questions during the selection process.   There’s nothing wrong with a little research before hand – is there??  I mean … it’s not unethical to try and force your way on to a jury – is it?  Nooooo …. I don’t know anything about the case.  I just want to serve jury duty all the way till the end of a case.  Nothing wrong with that.  Right?  Making it onto a jury this time around is perfect timing too.  While my son will need to find a ride home Thursday afternoon, the kids are off school on Friday – and I’ll be able to return for the actual trial with no worries.

Here’s what I found out …. even mentioning the fact I used to work in Media … or even that I write a blog for the Orlando Sentinel as a volunteer … will get me kicked off the jury panel so fast I won’t know what hit me.   In fact, the less information I give the lawyers about myself, the better.  If I don’t give them a reason to disqualify me from jury duty – they can’t.  It’s a brilliant strategy I say.  But how does one respond to a question without actually giving an answer?  I’m looking towards our Politicians for tips on this one!!  You basically steer the question back to the exact same non-committal answer that you gave before.  For example the same question I had before, “How do you feel about serving jury duty?”  My response this time should be something like “Serving on a jury is the duty of every citizen.”  See … I turned their question around and made a non-answer!  Thank you very much Presidential Candidates for giving me so many examples to learn from.

We’ll see come Thursday if my strategy succeeds.  Chances are the way-too-honest-for-my-own-good personality will come out and I’ll respond to the questions as I should.    It’s too bad our judicial system weeds out those who feel they’d give the case equal and fair deliberation – and the lawyers select only those jurors they feel will favor their own side of the case.   What ever happened to “… and justice for all”?

 

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