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November 28, 2007


i'm on jury duty for an indeterminate amount of time...during this period of civic duty and eating of snacks from vending machines, some of keeping us company duties will shift to you :: please send me links to things you think other people might enjoy

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Comments (11)

my thoughts on jury duty.

i've done jury duty twice. and was on a jury each time. a lot of people i met during jury duty had the attitude that they wanted to avoid, at any and all cost, being on an actual jury. they did not hesitate to lie about their views when being interviewed by the attorneys, to make themselves look unattractive as a potential juror. i'm puzzled by this. being on a jury was far more interesting than spending several days sitting in a bad chair under fluorescent lights reading the latest books by my favorite authors on my pda.

the actual work of being on a jury is not easy. your group has to reach consensus while following what may seem to be a set of contradictory instructions from the judge. many people will have very strong feelings about what they saw and heard in the courtroom, and each juror seems to construct a story around all the data they've absorbed. the fun part is, each person's story is different. what you may see as the key peice of information, someone else may think is unimportant. in discussing the case, there will be jurors who believe whole-heartedly in a guilty or not-guilty verdict, and will push for that. other people will fall back on the default settings in their brain, assume guilt or innocence is more likely based on their impression of the defendant, and hope that others will reach the same conclusion quickly without much fuss. other jurors just want to get the hell out of that conference room, and go along with the prevailing mood.

to be continued

Posted by: ergo at November 28, 2007 5:51 PM

ze...thought you might enjoy this wine review generator found at http://curtpetersen.com/?p=6

Posted by: a fan at November 28, 2007 5:58 PM


the second jury that i served on, we reached a guilty verdict in a felony drug-dealing case. the facts of the case were not in contention, it was more about a point of law, and the definition/ categorization of a chemical substance. four different phds gave expert testimony about the chemistry involved. no one on the jury had any background in chemistry, in fact such a person would have been booted off during the selection phase.

we reached a guilty verdict after a day and a half of debate. i don't know about the others, but for me, it was incredibly painful, even though i was 100% convinced that it was the right verdict (despite my political inclination against laws that criminalize drug use). a young man would spend 2 to 3 years in prison because of a decision that i had a part in making. i had trouble sleeping for weeks. i didn't feel any guilt about the verdict, but having had such an impact over the course of another person's life was not an easy thing for me to accept. we learned from the judge after the trial that the substance involved was commonly used as a date-rape drug. that knowledge didn't make it make easier, though.

what i took away from this was to be happy with the little, every day baby steps that i take to make a difference to others and in the world. if there should ever be another time when i am required by circumstances to make a big difference in one person's life, well, i know i can do it, even if it hurts. and if i have the luxury to debate it with 11 others before the decision is final, then i will appreciate taking the time for deliberation.

Posted by: ergo at November 28, 2007 6:26 PM

Ze, you'd no doubt be the best juror ever. Make 'em laugh out there!

Posted by: 1 angry ze? at November 28, 2007 7:31 PM

Ze, I can't believe you've finally landed a day job.

Posted by: schmoopy43 at November 28, 2007 9:04 PM

congratulations! as a citizen thank you for doing your civic duty :)

Jury duty this time of year makes for great holiday conversation too!

Posted by: bring a book at November 28, 2007 9:18 PM

Maybe it'll go a little something like this:


But, no offense, you do have a... different gravitas than, say, Henry Fonda.

Posted by: Johannes Golden at November 29, 2007 2:14 AM

As long as you come back with some funny stories on the adverse comments you make while in the back room or whatever it is. Unless you're sworn to silence. Man, I need to brush up on my courtroom knowledge..

"sure, he killed his wife, but he said he was sorry.."

Posted by: Brian at November 29, 2007 3:25 AM

Good Luck with the jury duty Ze - hope it doesn't last too long.

I recommend www.cutewithchris.com - blog + weekly show.

Posted by: Pooks at November 29, 2007 12:14 PM

Just thought you'd like this animation:


It's a sponsor reel for a media event in Chicago, but it's AMAZINGLY done.

Posted by: Dan at November 30, 2007 5:03 PM

Still on duty or done? Since you're not talkin bout it, then it must still be happening. here's a link to one of my favorite contemporary swing singers, and he happes to have a press photo that looks like....well, you:

Enjoy your meal payments, Mr Frank. Do they pay for parking as well in NYC?

Ergo, I can relate to your second case. I only felt badly because I think the dealer was new to the game, and trying to get extra money to help out his family. He made the wrong choice, unfortunately. Some of the jurors were women from neighborhoods like his, and they did NOT like the thought of ANYone coming in to sell drugs to their babies. A guilty verdict wasn't swift, but it only took a few deliberations to make sure there wasn't a set-up, that all the legal bits had been covered.

Posted by: gypsy sister at December 1, 2007 12:16 AM

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