Friday, September 17, 2010

Excused From Jury Duty

A jury was needed for a trial. After going through a jury pool a jury was impaneled – 12 jurors and two alternates. On the day of the trail all 14 jurors were escorted into the courtroom and seated in the jury box. As soon as Judge walked in juror # 8 raised his hand and asked the Judge if he could be excused. Bewildered the Judge asked why? Juror # 8 responded “poor jury selection”.

The judge looked sternly at the Clerk of the Court and motioned for her to approach the bench. Well asked the Judge? That’s impossible your honor! We use a sophisticated software system that indiscriminately selects two hundred random names from our county resident data base. Those 200 names are then fed into another independent software program that analyzes critical data such as age, sex, arrest records, date of residency etc. to randomly identify 40 potential names for a jury pool.

Those 40 names are printed off and placed in a steel drum in my office. Two nonpartisan witnesses are summoned to watch as the drum is spun and I pull out 14 names. The 14 names I pull out of the drum are all mailed a juror selection notice along with specific instructions as to when and where to report for jury duty. As they report to my office on the day of the trial they are assigned a number. The first 12 are our jurors and the last two are our alternates. I assure you Your Honor, all 14 of these people were selected using only the highest acceptable standards.

The Judge turned and now looked at Juror # 8 and said son, the only way I can release a juror is if I am provided with a compelling reason as to why that person (or persons) cannot render a fair and impartial decision. Do you have such a reason for me? Yes sir I believe I do said juror # 8. Well what is it asked the Judge. Juror # 2 is my ex-wife Your Honor and I guarantee we will not be able to agree on anything." The Judge excused both jurors .

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