Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jury Duty.

I performed jury service last week.

Judges, in the course of the process, likened the experience to "being drafted," but I was looking forward to seeing a trial through the lens of a juror. And, as an added bonus, no bullets would be flying in my direction.

First, I got called to a felony case with some serious charges. The defense attorney had a tough road because in the selection process it came out that the defendant had prior convictions for similar crimes, and would be pleading the fifth amendment. Not suprisingly, the public defender harped on the "beyond the reasonable doubt" standard, and made it sound as difficult as getting Donald Trump to extend a dinner invitation to Rosie O'Donnell. Out of a group of approximately 60 people, I was fortunate enough to be placed into the box of 12. I didn't make it on the actual jury because the prosecutor used a peremptory challenge to dismiss me (presumably because it came out that I was an attorney who had taught criminal law and evidence for several years).

Because it was about 2:45 p.m., there was still time left in my jury service. I was instructed to return to the jury assembly room. Somewhat surprisingly another case was empanelling a jury at 3:00, so I was called to another criminal department. This case was a misdemeanor. Again, I was put into the jury box (randomly they said) out of a much larger group. After returning the next day, my jury service came to an abrupt end when again the prosecutor, knowing my professional background, also dismissed me.

So, my streak of never being able to serve as a juror remains intact for at least another year.