I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jury Duty - my unday in court

I have always wanted to be called for jury duty, so when my summons came from Cumberland County I was more then a little excited.  When I told people, I was surprised by those who told me it was going to be boring and how much I'd dislike the experience.  There were several who gave me suggestions on how to get out of it.  But, being a contrary sort of person, I waited for July 14 with anticipation.  It was a learning experience.
My summons was for Civil Court not Criminal Court, so I was going to witness the process of people suing people.  Lucky me, I got to be in the jury pool for two different cases.  In the first the plaintiff was suing the Williams Grove Speedway - it's expected to last for at least 7 days.  I did not get selected, not that I considered this to be a possibility.  You see, I wasn't what they were looking for: I don't race motorcycles, or jet skis, or bungi jump, play paint ball or laser tag, or use a zip-line.  I am not a thrill seeker, at least not one who fit their criteria.  As a result my name was not called and I was excused from that trial.  As I left the court room, I looked back and saw that most of the jurors selected were male, and had admitted to participating in the "sports" I tend to avoid.  Both the plaintiff's and the defendant's attorneys had loaded the jury with those they felt most likely to give them the verdict they desired.  So much for a fair and unbiased jury.

Here are some of the potential jurors

The second case was an even bigger eye opener.  Back in 2008 a middle-aged woman drove her van into a "Five Guys" fast food restaurant.  A couple, who had been in the establishment at the time, were suing her, the restaurant, and the small shopping center in which it's located.  The plaintiff's attorney began questioning us first.  Things were going normally until he asked "have any of you been in an automobile accident?" Nine people stood up.  The first question he asked to the first woman standing was "did that accident involve any lower back injuries requiring physical therapy?"  At which point the judge shut him down abruptly.  "I will not have you polluting this juror pool!  That is an improper question! You can not pursue this!"  So he asked a different question, however he'd already seen which of us reacted and which of us didn't.  Not more then 5 minutes later one of the plaintiffs moved in her chair, put her hand on the table and lifted her right side ever so slightly... and winced.  And every potential juror saw her do this.  I turned to the woman sitting to my left and said "They're going to pick the jury they can manipulate the most."  They did, and I was not one of them.  This one was mostly women, many of whom had stood when asked if any one of us had been in an automobile accident.

My badge of courage

While I'm sure my lack of responses to the questions for the first case played a large roll in my not being selected, I think what truly doomed my chances of being a juror was one of my responses on the questionnaire we all had to fill out.  They asked for your current position, mine is retail.  They asked for your previous position, mine was accounting.  That's right, for quite a number of years I was a number's guy, until International Paper chose to make a business decision and send my job to Poland.  These cases were all Civil cases.  All the plaintiffs were seeking monetary settlement.  The last thing any decent attorney wants is a number's guy on the jury.  They don't want someone who's going to be saying "Holy Shit!  Do you have any idea how much money you're talking about!"

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