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In the current issue of Escapees Magazine, there is an article about jury service and it touches on the history of it. That interesting article got me to thinking about the subject, and it's relation to RV use. My own experience is that I was called several times over the years but only served on a jury one time, and that was before I retired and so I was a part-time RVer and the week that I spent didn't interfere with our travels at all. While we were full-time, each of us received a jury call from Polk Co. which was then released with just a phone call. We did notify Polk Co. Court when we stopped at Rainbow's End for a couple of weeks and were then both on the same jury panel but neither of us were chosen to serve. We did feel some obligation to Polk Co. for the easy release that was given, once to Pam and twice to me. 

Looking back to the one time that I did serve on a jury, it was one of the most educational experiences of life. I have never regretted that experience and it gave me some degree of confidence in our system. I think that it would be interesting if Escapees would share their experience with jury service and it may even be helpful to some of those who may be called to serve in the future.

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I was the one who was able to educate the 11.  Search for probation person (son). Homeowner (dad) refused to allow entry, struggled, and was arrested for defending himself and his privacy.

The testimony of a Sgt. was the key. He admitted the son, while having given the address on earlier forms, was known to not be a current resident. This meant, under the law,  there was no right to search. Not guilty eventually, after the other 11 realized the police are not always correct.

While I happened to know the rule, the 11 were convinced by reading back and discussing how the Sgt knew the son did not live in the home for quite some time.

For me... We need to be sure all reasonable people appear to serve. Consider what you would hope for of it were you or yours at the defendant's table. The judge was great, pointing out the only items to consider were the testimony and evidence. The lawyer's words were not testimony, whether opening, questions, or closing.

The toughest part was heeding the reminders to not research and only decide the case based on the testimony. The prosecution was sloppy. No inquiries as to our experience with the police. We were not asked to volunteer any information either. Maybe the DA was pushed to prosecute a bad case.

Defence attorney presented a good case, and thankfully, the Sgt. was perfectly honest stating he approved the search while knowing the son was not a resident, and that there was no immediate threat or information the son was actually present.

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I've served three times.  Once we were into the third day of the trial when the parties reached a plea deal and we were dismissed.  The other two never had to hear opening arguments as they reached an out of court settlement just prior to the first day.  Since then I've been called one time and was excused for medical reasons.  I did get a lot of reading time in while waiting to be called.

Mrs. Camper had to sit through a four day trial and it was also settled while the jury was deliberating.  Her only time. 

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Kirk, your exhibition of honesty and duty by calling the Polk county clerk and explaining you were back is admirable; of course that it to be expected of a veteran. Thank you for sharing your experience.

 

Edited by Ray,IN

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Lots of us have done that through the years.  I served on one jury in Livingston.  I had also served on a jury in Tyler while I was still working.   It is interesting and everyone should do it at least once in their lives.  

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I have served on 3 juries in Harris County, Texas.  Two were criminal and one civil.  All three were interesting and I was jury foreman on two of them.  The whole process was interesting and nothing like TV trials.  I was on a fourth jury panel and we were sent to lunch and when we came back we were dismissed due to a plea deal.

What was always aggravating was getting called for jury service and never even get to go out on a jury panel.  One trial that would have been interesting to me as a mechanical engineer was a product liability case.  As soon as the attorney found I was an engineer, he used a strike on me and sent me home.  I guess he did not want anyone that was trained to think logically.

Everyone should serve on a jury just for the experience and see how the system really works.

We have had several jury notices over the years for Polk county and it was always when we were across the country.  A simple call and were told to let them know when we would be in the area and could serve.  We let them know and were never called while we were there.

Now that we are over 70, we just send them back the form marked with the age exemption.

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I've served on a few juries over the years, but last year was the oddest call up I've ever had. I was summoned for a county grand jury while we happened to be at our upstate NY cottage, so I didn't beg off. I appeared at the court house as directed, and after we all filled out brief questionnaires, those with legitimate excuses were sent home. Then the court officer in charge told us there were still too many for the pool they were told to have, and they would have us draw names to see who else went home. They put little slips with all our names on them in a basket and held it up so those of us in the front row could draw the required number of names. I happened to draw first, so I drew a slip and handed it to the clerk to read. Imagine my surprise when he read my name! I'm not sure if anyone really believed me when I said it really was an honest draw... :) 

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As a lawyer I always wanted to be on a jury to experience it. But every time I was summoned I was excused by one side or the other. Once the Judge excused me because we had been out drinking together in the past, lol lol lol. I have done several trials where I had to pick a jury. 

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I've never served on a jury, been summoned for a pool only once. I was called to testify before a grand jury once in a criminal case, that was interesting to say the least.

Edited by Ray,IN

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I only went through jury selection once and was invited to leave.  I guess when I said I believe all pedophiles deserve to be hung immediately and not waste our tax dollars on them, they did not think I would be a fair juror...  (he was found guilty and is now in prison)

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When we volunteered in PolkCo. court it was to be a murder trial for a guy who beat his wife and she didn't survive. As it happened Polk had 3 jury pools to fill for 3 different courts and by random drawing we were both in the same pool,with Pam as juror #7 and myself as juror #14 of 24, so quite in the range to possibly serve. In TX the jury pool member are numbered, 1 through however many are called and the jury is #1 - 12 with the number of those serving moving up each time that a juror is removed the number rises so we could easily have been on the same jury. Someone noticed our common address and we were each called to the bench and questioned about our ability to serve and not discuss outside of court. The judge then released both of us. We did follow the trial and the defendant was convicted. 

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Years ago I sat on a capital murder trial jury, but right after jury selection the defendant changed her plea to guilty, saving the jury from the horrendous responsibility of deciding whether she would live or die if she was convicted. The other juries I sat on were all accident cases of one sort or another and in all but one case were settled out of court before going to the jury. That's very frustrating when the settlement is sealed and jury cannot be told the results after hearing most of the evidence...

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I guess we are the odd men out. Neither Dave nor I have ever been called for jury duty. My Mom served once (a fall on an uneven sidewalk) but I'm not aware of anyone else in either family having been called, either. Have many of you all never been called?

Linda Sand

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In the last 10 years since we moved here, I have received jury pool notice every year, always for the month of December.  I only had to go in the one time.

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We lived in WY for 18 years and neither of us were ever called, but after we moved to Ft. Worth in 1989 my first forwarded mail included a jury summons for US District Court in Cheyenne. By the time that I got the mail my reporting date had passed so I called the court and explained, no problems. But that has always left me wondering about a jury summons from federal courts???  Anyone have any experience with them?

Edited by Kirk W

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

But that has always left me wondering about a jury summons from federal courts???  Anyone have any experience with them?

Wife got one a couple years ago.  We were considering traveling at the time and they basically told her "too bad."  Now, we know they wouldn't just issue a warrant for failing to appear once, so we were ready to ignore it anyway.  As it happened, they settled just before the trial and she was released.

I've always been kicked out of the pool very early on.  There's no way I'd get selected with my views on politics, the police, and most laws.  Sometimes I also pass out FIJA brochures which has resulted in being removed from the premises physically.

 

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While living 50 plus years in Penna., I was called twice, wife never. First time, the case involved a fellow that I worked with for a number of years. I was picked for the jury and of course was asked, "do you have any problem serving  on this jury"? Told them "that you need to know I worked with the fellow and in the same dept". Both attorneys looked at one another, then one asked "if it would affect my decision"? I said "no" and was told to stay in place. The reason for the trial was sort of ridiculous,  and after it was over resembled something you might see on a TV judge show.  The second time, I was picked for a trial and fortunately it was settled moments before going to trial. A guy's wife had hit him up along side the head with a Dust Buster! Between the first time I was called and the second they completely changed the selection process which realy worked so much better. The first time the process of selecting was a super PITA. When I was a kid my mother was on a jury that was sequestered. What a situation that created.

After going fulltime and establishing domicile in Polk County, my wife and myself received numerous Polk County jury notices. Everyone was after we were to have reported. Called and it was no problem. I forget at what age in Texas you can bail from jury duty, but our names were off the rolls.

A former park manager here in Yuma, AZ. that I was friends with was called jury duty and out that pool of jurors was some were going to get picked to sit on a high profile murder for hire trial. And of course there was probably going to be sequestering which did happen. My friend was a couple of years shy of being able to bail due to age. He was picked for the trial and was on fulltime oxygen. Of course was asked "if he had a problem serving" and told the judge he would due to needed air and if sequestered would be an issue. Judge's come back was "I need to see a doctors note". Good thing it wasn't me! 

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This is another great reason to use a PMB for all of your information.  Come find me if I don't show up, good luck!

 

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When we lived in southern California I (Linda) served on 4 juries in the 80's/90's: 2 were memorable.

1)   Defendant, who appeared to be in his 40's, in a DUI represented himself by showing up in jeans & a T-shirt with his pack of Camels rolled up in his sleeve a la 1950's bad boy.  Unfortunately, due to the arresting LEO bumbling the sobriety testing process we were forced to let him off.   

2)  A very involved 8 day Civil suit resulting from a traffic accident had the plaintiffs suing for $5 million. Plaintiffs attorney dressed to the hilt w/Gucci watch & probably $500 shoes.  Defendants attorney was a clone of Steve Martin who's sport coat sleeves missed his wrists by a mile. One of the  many "expert" plaintiff witnesses appeared with a 6 hour presentation including detailed 3D drawings/video.  (This person also testified in the Rodney King case.)   We ended up awarding $13,000 for verifiable expenses!!!!  The Pomona court traditionally invited jurors to talk with the attorneys afterwards to see what led them to their verdicts,  Five of us met with the defense team who shared that the insurance company had offered a $500,000 settlement....which was refused cause they "could get more from a jury".  We all felt really good about verdict.  Plus it was an incredible learning experience.

 

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3 hours ago, bobsallyh said:

I forget at what age in Texas you can bail from jury duty, but our names were off the rolls.

In TX at age 70 you can opt out of a jury call and if you wish be removed from the potential juror's list.

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

In TX at age 70 you can opt out of a jury call and if you wish be removed from the potential juror's list.

We've done that and then the next year, here comes a summons again.  File it out, indicating our age, send it in.  Have done it twice so far.  

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Three weeks on a wrongful death civil trial right was educational, but enough for me.  So far I have not been called for another trial.  My wife has been called twice, once the jury pool was dismissed on arrival and another time she was dismissed since she had been treated for back pain and the trial was for prescription drugs, especially those for back pain.

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I have served several times over the years.  I was always surprised when I was selected.  The first time the prosecutor had been one of my instructors while I attended the police academy and the defense attorney had represented me in a civil case.  The second time I was selected was in a DUI case.  During voir dire I clearly stated my law enforcement background and that my brother had been killed by a drunk driver.  It didn't matter, welcome to the jury.  In fact, in the DUI case,  I was selected as the foreman.


The one that really stands out in my memory was a capital murder case.  The prosecutor read a list of witnesses, including a number of people working for the sheriff's department, and asked if any of the potential jurors knew them.  I raised my hand and rattled off a list of names.  He asked me how I knew them.  I replied that they were coworkers.  Later I was asked if I could vote for the death penalty.  I replied "Yes I can".  I could have sworn that the defense would challenge for cause, but no - welcome to the jury.

Safe Travels...
 

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"Would you convict someone who broke the law even if you believed the law is wrong."

NOPE!

"Excused."

"What groups and associations do you belong to?"

I list them all.

"Excused."

Etc.  Not possible for me to be on a jury.

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