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Friday, October 6, 2006


Comments (39)

I've ignored the last two summons they sent me: I haven't heard a peep out of them.

I was hoping to get thrown in jail: I'm pretty sure I'd get matrixed out by midnight.

Hey, I don't want to spend even 10 minutes in a cell next to this guy.

Glad to hear Mister Tee is fulfilling his civic duty...

No chance for a Grand Jury pic, huh?

They are the best duty. Pity we can't volunteer.

The last time I showed up for a criminal jury, I explained to them that my father had a career in law enforcement, and that I knew several officers who had been shot/killed in the line of duty.

I believe the defense attorney believed I was unlikely to look at his client with the necessary objectivity. I was excused.


I think we can agree that Mr. Baker would have looked better as a blond. Why didn't he go for a flat-top?

Even a mullet would have been an improvement over the Ginger (Giiligans) look.

Mister Tee- That excuse is so weak I don't know where to start.

Mr. Tee, next time get your @ss to court and do your civic duty, or give up your voting rights. It actually pisses me off that you've been skipping duty.

It's a similar mentality that leads one to support a bullsh*t war that they refuse to go die in... let someone else do it, then claim patriotism.

Tkrueg: when was the last time you served on jury duty?

Butch: so sorry to piss you off. When you get done being mad, why don't you come downtown and run my small business for me, then I can go sit in a jury room all day, waiting to be dismissed.

The fact is, no criminal defense attorney with any remaining peremptory challenges would want me on his jury. I'm not impartial: it's very unlikely the cops would have collared him/her if he didn't do something wrong, and his 4 pages of priors will definitely prejudice my opinion. If it comes down to cop said/perp said, I believe the cop.

They don't like people with "law and order" psychology: I am their worst nightmare if their client is guilty. End of story.

Perhaps, but you have to show.

$5 says you're out of the room before you can finish saying "I'm a law profes...."

Probably, but not 100% sure. The name partner of one of Portland's largest law firms showed up, and actually sat on a jury, in Multnomah County a few years back.

Even Justice Breyer of the Supreme Court reported when summoned. It's just what you do.

jury duty on halloween!?! damn, jack, there go your trick-or-treating plans.

I plan to go in costume.

I don't know about TKrueg, but I last served jury duty in May. It was a criminal case. I'm a lawyer who sometimes practices criminal defense, but the State let me on the jury anyway. They let another lawyer on the jury as well. Guess what? I voted to convict, and my small business surivived fine without me for the two days I served. If you're a responsible citizen, you show up and vote for what's right based on the facts, not on your pre-existing prejudices. If you can't get past your pre-existing prejudices, and are honest about it, you might get excused for cause, but like Jack says, you still show up.

Mister Tee, what if one of the parties is a mohawked, gold chain necklace wearing, small business owning, chicken hawk war monger, and he's been wrongfully accused of something? Doesn't he deserve to have his peer, you, on that jury?

Like George Carlin says, if you want to get out of jury duty, don't lie; tell the truth. Say you would make a great juror because you can tell if somebody's guilty or not JUST BY LOOKING AT HIM.

I've served on four Multnomah County juries, the last two times as Jury Foreman. It's a tremendous opportunity to see how the system works, as well as make a difference in people's lives.

One trial, a murder case, we struggled with the issue of a son killing his mother's very abusive lover. Not guilty.

Another, a civil suit, a heartbreaking claim of negligence against doctors for a bad outcome. Sad but no negligence... there were many juror tears shed when we awarded nothing.

Another time we let off what we all suspected was a drunk driver, but the case wasn't legally made.

Another, a convicted felon who bought multiple guns at an Expo Center gun show. Poor lad who couldn't get a better job then drug dealer because of his facial tear drop tatoo (which signifies having served hard time). Two jurors not only wanted to drop the charges, but wanted to pass the hat to pay for his tatoo removal. Our deliberations went longer then the trial...guilty! (And NO passing of the hat.)

Serving is part of the responsibilities of citizenship, and it's a very cool experience.

I served two years ago in Washington County... I'm slated to report for jury duty here in Mult Co in February.

"$5 says you're out of the room before you can finish saying "I'm a law professor"

This used to be the conventional wisdom, but I'm not sure anymore: A smart guy who can think beyond his biases is a good juror to fair-minded lawyers, imho.


The facial tear tattoo usually signifies taking someone's life...

Per Wikipedia:

"The tear tattoo is a symbolic tattoo that is placed underneath one's eye to create the impression that the individual is crying. This tattoo has multiple, regionally-variant meanings. Often it signifies that an individual has killed another person, particularly while in prison; at other times, it means that a family member, friend, or fellow gang member has died or been killed. The tear tattoo is often associated with thugs, convicts, and gang members."

Yikes! Hope you weren't duped. ;)

This is interesting. I am curious and cannot remember: does M County excuse all the people that we do down here in northern CA? This typically includes ALL "public safety" personnel, most all attorneys, officers of the court, most ALL EMT and medical personnel including admin types, many, many bureaucrats ("critical jobs"), and the usual felons, recent immigrants without language skills, non-citizens, etc. etc. etc.

By the time this list is exercised, in my county of say 280,000 souls less than 30,000 adults are effectively in the jury selection pool, with a call every two years practically guaranteed. It is my belief that this general pool elimination of so many people places the burden of duty on a sample of the population at large that is, in fact, typically going to suffer some hardship showing up (all those who are compensated by employers for showing up need not chime in). This has resulted in a growing (even in a liberal county) shirking or sabotaging of jury duty by one hell of a lot of people. Jury annulment has for example become a hot topic.

I know a bunch of good, solid citizens who feel that jury duty reform is loonggggggg overdue and resent what it has evolved into. Including me (12 calls over 30 years, 5 for DUI trials).

Multnomah County judges and court staff have put a great deal of time and energy into making jury duty here a valuable civic experience. They have what is basically a "one day or one trial" rule. The majority of trials going on any given day are misdemeanors, which typically are one day, but may run over to the next morning if deliberation time takes a while. Jury orientation includes a short talk by one of the judges in the morning, and many of the judges will take the time afterwards to talk to jurors that served about their experience and answer questions. Generally, the defense attorneys and assistant DAs will strike people like Mister Tee who indicate an inability to be objective and follow the rules, but people don't generally get stricken because of their profession. (To answer the question from California, I think the pool is limited to registered voters but not beyond that. People can call or make written requests to change or waive summons dates if there is hardship, but most people don't even stay a full day since the Jury room managers really push to get all the juries for the day seated by Noon or early afternoon so they can excuse the rest of the pool.)

i served on a grand jury (a thirty day committment here in m county) a couple of years ago. nobody seemed to mind that i was a law student. there was also a lawyer and a cop from another jurisdiction serving too. in fact, when it came time to volunteer for foreman, i got goaded into putting my hand up because everyone knew i was studying law and i guess they wanted any excuse not to have to do it themselves. my experience on the grand jury was probably more educational than most of my law classes. (with the notable exception of bojack's excellent income tax class, of course.) i'd do it again if i was called.

I served twice in Multnomah County, once as Jury Foreman. It is, indeed, a great opportunity to gain insight and serve you fellow citizens.

The first case was a misdemeanor trial; the charge was Criminal Mischief. It was a six person jury: 2 lawyers, a pharmacist, a warehouseman,a high school teacher and a CPA. It involved a divorcing couple with a young daughter; both parents had substance abuse issues and, before any custody decisions were made, the man took the girl to live with his mother where he believed she would be most safe. The woman and her mother took the child from there while the man was visiting and sped away. The man, fearing for his daughter's safety, jumped on the car and rode on the hood for a few blocks. In the process, he damaged the windshield wipers. I agreed with one of the defense lawyers who argued that someone made a poor charging decision, as this guy did not intend damage to the wipers, he intended to protect his daughter. The warehouseman and I couldn't convict on that evidence and we acquitted, but you might be surprised how many were initially ready to convict.

The other case was civil fraud,involving the sale of a car over the internet. There was a 12 person jury, and we entered a guilty verdict.

Something I have wondered about is why juries are told that jury nullification doesn't apply in Oregon, when we are one of a handful of states whose constitution permits it in criminal cases. My guess is that this is a reaction to the fact that it was abused in the South during the civil rights struggles when Ku Klux Klan murderers were permitted to go free by their "peers". But anything can be abused, and, when it is used correctly, it puts a meaningful check on the power of the state. There are a couple of books on the subject I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

Oops, that's your fellow citizens.

Geez, Chasse got beat to death for the mere suspicion of pissing in the street. What do ya suppose is reasonable force for evading jury duty?

Laws are only there for some people to follow, I guess.

"The tear tattoo...Often it signifies that an individual has killed another person, particularly while in prison...Yikes! Hope you weren't duped. ;)

I was jury foreman on this one, and I got more than a little irritated at the defense defense that the guy had a rough life. The attorney who also told us that the tear meant he'd served time in a federal prison. I hoisted one of the guns, one of the exhibits in the jury room, that looked like a sawed off tommy gun..."and the guy was intended to do what with this? Shoot squirrels?", I asked.

I'm not squishy-soft on the law. I believe in it. At the same time, we let the guy off who blew away his Mom's boyfriend, after he'd beaten her and then came after the kid on trial with a knife. One juror, who voted to find guilty, said --really said-- it was a mistake to ever find a black man, who's carrying a gun, innocent. It sends the wrong message to the white community. We needeed to find him guilty of something.

One of the things that's scary is you realize there are a lot of weirdos, racists, and nutjobs out there, deciding peoples' fates.

I've been a registered voter in Mult Co for the past 20 years and I've never been called up for jury duty. Personally, as an attorney who is frequently in court, I would love to serve- just to get some insight into what the jurors thought process is once they go back to deliberate.
FYI, folks, the cleanest restrooms in the courthouse are back in the jury rooms. Must be part of that effort to make jury duty more pleasant.
Have a nice weekend, everybody.

As a registered voter in Multco for 4 years, I've been summoned for both state and federal jury duty. Sadly, I didn't get on a panel for either one. I think I probably would have gotten on the panel for the DUII jury trial I was called for, but I was the 15th of 15 prospective jurors. It would have been interesting - I knew the Deputy DA and the Judge in the trial, but no one seemed to mind. And as an attorney, I would love to have the opportunity to observe jury interactions from the inside.

I can verify what others have said about the efforts the jury room staff and judges here in Multco make to ensure that jury duty is as positive and rewarding experience as possible. Like many things in life, it can involve some waiting around for something to happen, but the wait is comfortable and the jury experience is worth the wait.

Mult Co also has stacks of books in the jury waiting room that are donated, and anyone serving can take them home to keep if they so choose... nice touch, I think.

rww: I think the pool is limited to registered voters

Actually, they now use DMV and other records as well - this was changed a while back because it was perceived that voter registration was suffering because people had figured out that no registration equals no jury summons.

[i]Mister Tee: I am their worst nightmare if their client is guilty.[/i]

And therein lies the problem. Your job as a juror is to determine guilt after the trial, not before, and once determined, your job ends. Sentencing is up to the court, with guidance from the legislature.

Wait, what? Halloween?

Er. Me, too. *sigh* Imagine my joy... my first summons and it has to be on that particular date. Lovely!

I'll be there with you Jack. Been selected for the same date. You'll recognize me. A small version of my cousin, Herman.

Actually, I've asked to have my service postponed until after the first of the new year.

You're not afraid of the Bark Munster, are you Jack?

Question: how will his boss know if BM is on jury duty?

Answer: no blog postings during business hours.

Don't confuse Bark Munster with Mark Bunster. The former mocks the latter.

My mistake: I thought they were one and the same.

Ergo, the City's Professional Blogger has not been summoned to jury duty.

I've lived in Oregon for six years and have NEVER been summoned even though I vote every election. My husband, on the other hand, who is not a citizen, has already been summoned (after living here only a couple of years). What's that about? I WANT to serve on a jury.

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