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What Are The Chances?

I already mentioned that Steve Bates was called for jury duty, then I read that Jim Yeager and both Thers & Molly were called for the past week.

I live in a small town, in a sparsely populated county and I’ve never been called with anyone I knew even vaguely, so having three people I sort of know get called for courts all over the country was a little weird.

None of them served, but then what lawyer wants a DFH on a jury?


1 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 07.20.08 at 11:20 pm }

…you are a lucky man. I’ve lived in a number of small communities and have been called for jury duty on several occasions. As it so happens, I was until last year a lucky man, too, because I usually got my jury summons just after I had moved from a given community (my personal record is finding the jury-call letter in my Post Office box on the day that I came in to the Oakridge, Orygun, post office to submit my forwarding address and close the box as my last residential act before following the moving van out of town)…

They finally got me last year after over thirty five years of being a registered voter who actually still lived in the jurisdiction, and I ended up – on the LAST DAY of call-up – being selected as juror for a two-day two-bit criminal assault trial that was mostly spent in the jury room and ended with an out-of-court plea agreement. The Good News is that I’m free from any chance of another notice for another two years. I’m feeling good about my chances…

2 Bryan { 07.20.08 at 11:44 pm }

I’ve been an alternate for one civil trial in the last 15 years. I don’t get selected for criminal trials because of the “current or former law enforcement employee” question.

The local system isn’t bad. You get a juror number and a telephone number to call the day before the due date. They have a recording telling you whether you are required to show up. I’ve had high numbers the last two times and there are a lot of 6 person juries for civil cases and misdemeanors.

It’s unusual for even a murder trial to last a week in this county.

3 Fallenmonk { 07.21.08 at 9:12 am }

If you make sure that they know you are a DFH you almost always get out of being selected. Also, if you admit to ever having been the victim of a crime there is a good bet you won’t be selected either. It has always worked for me.

4 Bryan { 07.21.08 at 1:35 pm }

Yeah, but you still have to show up and wait, which is why I like the local system.

5 Badtux { 07.21.08 at 6:26 pm }

We have the numbered-call-up system here too — call a phone number or check a web site the afternoon before during your window to see whether your number has been called for the following day (and to which courthouse — we have several).

Regarding 2-day murder trials, yeah, murder trials tend to be short when they consist of one drunk redneck stabbing another drunk redneck in a bar in front of two dozen witnesses, or a drunk man shooting his wife when she throws all his shit out of the house after he comes home drunk one too many times with all the neighbors as witnesses, which is what murder trials tend to be about in those parts (I’ve lived in that area of the country, remember? Heh!). I dunno, something about the (fire) water in those parts seems to make folks act stupid, like, murder other folks in front of a dozen witnesses. Hrmmm….

– Badtux the Redneck Penguin

6 Bryan { 07.21.08 at 7:49 pm }

Actually, it’s not just that there are two dozen witnesses, it’s that they can point the guilty party out in their wedding pictures or yearbooks.

The only murders that don’t get solved are generally turned over to the Feds because they involve people who own large “fishing” boats that never smell of fish.

7 ellroon { 07.22.08 at 10:34 am }

After avoiding being called up by being a stepmom/mom/pregnant woman/caretaker, I finally got called a few years ago. Once not chosen, once as an alternate juror: a meth-induced murder which had all the evidence stacked against the poor idiot who actually kinda confessed to the police on tape.

Being an alternate juror sucks though, you don’t get to sit in the juror conference room and listen to the discussions, and you don’t know whether he would be found guilty or innocent until the end. (I understand why, but it would have been interesting to hear.)

Now that I’ve served, I know I will be called regularly. They must put a star by those who serve without complaining…

8 Bryan { 07.22.08 at 3:35 pm }

Actually, you get to skip a cycle down here if you have served, so I must be back in the rotation.

Yes, being an alternate is all of the aggravation with no closure.