Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mot Juste

As a patriotic American, I'm a registered voter, which means I'm sloshing around in the jury pool along with all the other flag-wavers.

Whenever I get summoned I try to be a good sport about it because, if I'm ever on trial, I want the folks on MY jury to be good sports. The thought of the jury box being like a cageful of tigers waiting to get sprung, or those poor chickens that PETA is always making you feel guilty about, that live in 1' x 1' cages their entire lives, squeezing out eggs, gives me chills. (BTW – I only eat cage-free eggs. I cannot STAND the thought of those poor chickens never once getting to spread their wings or walk around.)

Anyway, last September I got called for jury duty. I was still at Ye Olde Job at the time, and was actually pretty tickled at the prospect of missing a few days of work at full pay. But I didn’t get to realize that twin goals of good citizenship while playing hooky, because the prosecutor kicked me off the jury.

For no good reason.

I got seated 9th or 10th and figured I was sitting pretty for at least a week of working 6 or 7 hours days instead of my usual 9 or 10. But during voir dire, I noticed that the prosecutor was giving me these eagle-spotting-a-mouse looks. Then she asked me a couple of questions and decided to spit me out.

Why, you ask?

When she asked me if, should she prove her case with a preponderance of the evidence, but I still had a shadow of a doubt, would I be able to convict, I responded, “Sure.” One syllable, but as soon as I uttered it, her head whipped around and she pinned me to the jury box with the aforementioned predatory glare. I saw her exchange looks with the defense attorney. They asked me a few more questions, which I answered in ways they found to be equally unacceptable (because “sure” is apparently way less serious than “yes”).

Then they went away and conferred, and when they came back, they told me to take a hike.

I walked the walk of shame with the other two people who got canned (one for knowing a local attorney who was somehow involved in the trial, the other for being friends with the arresting officer).

But me, I got sacked over word choice.

If you want to read about someone who really deserved to be kept off (and sent to jail), check out this story.


  1. Actually, I think the answer they were looking for was "No"... that you should have all doubt erased from your mind before giving a sentence of guilty.

    I once was on a jury for a trial that lasted 6 weeks. It was brutal, but after weeding through more than 200 potential jurors, they had a group of jurors that took the job very seriously. It was a great experience.

  2. Dude, I've been called for jury duty a number of times, and never even had the opportunity to go into the court room! I'm always that sad, sad woman who ends up sitting alone in the holding tank area, until someone finally tells me "Okay, they don't need any more jurors, you can go home".

  3. It is difficult to please all people all the time, who knows for real, what was that they did really object, and what was their motive behind it!

    So, do not feel "rejected" because you were not "choosen" - and it is really a very difficult task to decide on other people's life's!

  4. I've NEVER been called. And I'm one of the weirdos who WANTS to be called. Such is life... and I'd probably have my dreams dashed and crashed by word choice, too. *sigh*

  5. You were supposed to say "No".... They can be very sneaky, though..

  6. Sure "nuff" said.

    Remember the "it depends on your definition of Is", debate? Good times!

  7. I would have been grateful that they told me to take a hike...

  8. Wow, most law-abiding registered voters HATE jury duty and avoid it like the plague. My mom once came up with a dozen reasons she couldn't appear for jury duty. But it was really just b/c my Dad needed dinner on the table by 6:00 PM.

  9. Oh, man I loath jury duty. I got picked once and sat for three days on trial for a stabbing. On the second day of trial I kept wondering why the prosecuter couldn't remember the date of the stabbing. Why couldn't he remember it?

    Day 3 - the judge threw out the case because the district attorney got the date wrong on the indictment record. Can you stand it! The date of the stabbing was entered incorrectly into the file, so someone accused of attempted murder got off scott free.

  10. What a great story! Initially, I had visions of a "12 Angry Men" scenario, but I never expected it to go like this. I suppose the colloquial "sure" comes off a bit cavalierly to those who are selecting for a jury. What sort of case was it?
    I've never been called, but would dread being locked into a lengthy trial with nothing of interest to keep me stimulated. I can only play "Solitaire" for so long before I crack.

    I will definitely be following you from now on and would be pleased if you would check out my blog and consider doing the same.


  11. so apparently their english teachers too! :)
    Well, maybe its just as well coz I heard its pretty boring..not like Law and Order stuff!!

  12. I was 7 months prego the last time I was called for Jury duty. I didn't even make to the voir dire.

  13. I think it would be kinda intersting to sit on a jury.

    Funny how much word choice matters.

  14. Every time my jury card comes up, I get canceled the night before by the code a phone.

  15. Over here sure is a deoderant. Perhaps they took offence and thought you were implying they needed some. Stranger things have happened....MH

  16. You didn't miss much, but I think Christine is right. In order to convict in a criminal trial, the prosecutor has to prove the crime beyond a shadow of a doubt. Preponderance of the evidence isn't enough. Sooo, you were too tough on crime :-)

  17. You bad ass.

    I feel like I'm in the minority b/c I wanted to be picked for a trial. Instead I got sent home early. But maybe next time...

  18. I don't know why, but I was laughing my head off at this post. It was just too funny.

    Love Renee xoxoxo


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