Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Done with the jury

Last weekend was the big Sevens world rugby tournament here in Las Vegas. I don’t know anyone that is a rugby fan and have never seen a game myself. But those DJs I listen to on the New Zealand radio station are big rugby people – always talking about their All Blacks. Seems the Samoa team beat the New Zealand team at the final game, so those guys were probably talking it up yesterday.
I just finished up a stint of jury duty here in Clark County, assigned to a murder trial. Three days of mainly sitting waiting. The first day was in the jury lounge, then in mid afternoon called up to a courtroom for the initial talk. Second day was questions by the judge and some by the attorneys, with a lot of people being excused for cause and thanked for their service. I was impressed with the average juror, and how evidently nobody gets to talk in their real lives as so many had quite convoluted stories they were very anxious to share with the courtroom, as when we were asked if we had any relatives that were arrested there were a lot of stories like ‘my wife’s third cousin twice removed that we haven’t seen in fifteen years once got a ticket for jay walking in Cleveland’ or something else equally traumatic. Well, there is one woman who’s brother is on death row in Arizona for a murder but he is appealing because of the evidence so it can be dropped back to life in prison and because of the appeal they shipped him to California to be on trial for another murder and her other brother is also on trial for murder in California but that was a different crime and the cops framed them, so she was excused. Yesterday we had to be there early but ended up sitting on the hard metal benches in the hallway in front of the courtroom until called in right at noon to be told there was new evidence that came to light over the weekend (for a crime that occurred in February 2010) and because of that the attorneys had long discussions and there was a plea deal made and we weren’t needed so thank you for your service, then another long wait back in the jury lounge to be signed out.

Fortunately I brought along a new book, a 485 page complex detective novel (from the Preston & Child Pendergast series) which I finished just as we were called back into the courtroom yesterday. Shows you how much time we had waiting (or how fast I read).

Don’t know why, but it made me think of this song. Created a few years ago in honor of Pat Robertson’s comment on gay marriage, the next step permitting sex with ducks.


will said...

I was on a week long jury ... at the start, when the judge was explaining to us what we should expect as jury members, commented, "There's real time and then there's legal time."

will said...

Oh, and I totally understand about the open court comments. I was one of maybe 150 people called in as prospective jurors and each person stood when their name was called and they told their stories. From what was said, a book most definitely could be written. Very disconcerting, the number of out of the ordinary stories. I pretty much was one of the boring ones ... no history of legal woes, no run-ins w/ trouble, etc.

stephen Hayes said...

Alas, as I commented on in my recent post I've never been called to jury duty. I'm beginning to think this isn't such a bad thing.

Thanks for the song: I'll never be able to look a duck in the eyes again.

Unknown said...

Oh, a murder trial? How interesting! This post made me laugh at the excuses ppl come up with to be excused. *takes notes*

Also: that poor woman's brother - being framed for murder! Can you imagine!

SOL's view said...

I've been called to Jury service several times but due to my own personal prejudices I excuse myself every time.

The song made me giggle out loud. A wonderful start to a boring Wednesday work day and distracted me briefly from the fact that the air conditioning may have turned itself off and I have no idea how to fix that problem... Sigh.

Colleen Barnett said...

I have done Jury Duty twice. First time I did one case then my boss excused me but on the condition I go back as soon as possible, which I did a year later.

It's not a bad way to waste a month :-)

Don said...

Sounds like lots of fun. Glad you had a good book!

Rob said...

Loved (and pinched for Facebook) the video. Also your jury anecdotes, especially the woman with all the murderers (or not) in the family. Every time I've been cited for jury service I haven't been required. I was always a bit disappointed, though I know these things can be harrowing. The father of one of my brother's classmates was a local reporter and had to cover the trial of two famous local serial child killers back in the 1960s (Brady and Hindley, the "Moors Murderers"). Even as an experienced crime reporter he found himself close to throwing up at times during the evidence.