to get out of jury duty
This issue of the Closet Cleaner is late because I had jury duty.
It sucked. I spent three days waiting to be selected, and then
I was selected. The trial lasted five days, and it was bullshit:
Guy uses a fake silver pistol to rob a fast food joint of $127,
and while robbing it, the grips on his gun fall off. He's arrested
a few blocks away with the stolen cash in his pocket (including
50 one-dollar bills wrapped in a rubber band) and a silver pistol
WITH NO GRIPS! No waaaay! He didn't wear a mask, so three employees
got a good look at him, including the clerk who gave up the money,
and when she's asked if the man who robbed her is in the courtroom,
she looks at each of us in the jury, then at the prosecutor,
then at the defense attorney, then at the judge, and then the
defendant, and she starts sobbing! We went to recess, even though
I never understood why they called it that, because all we did
was sit in a room and read old magazines. No milk, no touch football,
no overweight lunch ladies telling us to get the hell out of
The trial was spent establishing
things like, yes, the grips fit the gun, and the guy ran when
the cops approached him, and he had a sweaty black T-shirt with
white lettering and a black baseball cap with white lettering
in the gym bag he used to slug the pursuing officer, and that's
EXACTLY WHAT THE ROBBER WAS WEARING. The defense attorney then
tries to plant some reasonable doubt by noting that a witness
told one of his investigators that the robber was wearing a white
shirt. But it wasn't enough to convince me, and good thing too
because I learn after the trial that the guy also had robbed
the same joint a week before, and he was wearing a white shirt,
and that's why the worker became confused. I guess when you get
held up that often, it's easy to get confused.
Anyway, after all that, I
was chosen as an alternate, so I didn't get to deliberate. It
took my colleagues about 40 minutes to find the guy guilty.
Initially I was proud to be
selected to serve doing my civic duty and all that. But
by the time it was over, I was disillusioned. Because there are
relatively few residents in Washington for all the crimes committed
here, you're guaranteed to be called back every two years. The
next time, I'm going to have a list of excuses ready so I can
be excused. People are shameless about it, anyway. Every time
the judge asked the prospective jurors a question such as "Does
anyone here have any religious reasons that they can't serve?"
this woman next to me would think a second, then go, "Oh,
I do!" and raise her hand.
Here's my list, in case you
get called and need to demonstrate your inability to render a
fair and impartial judgment. Wait until the judge calls you to
the bench to discuss your situation before you blurt any of these
out, so the other commoners won't steal your material:
- I can tell
if people are guilty by looking at them.
- I'm attracted
to you, your honor.
- If a police
officer told me I was a bug, I would believe him.
- Is it murder
if I haven't been caught?
- My religion
prohibits me from sitting near other people.
- Would I
have to bathe?
- Can each
of my personalities vote in deliberations?
- Laws are
- Your marshall's
handcuffs are turning me on.
- I'm allergic
- I'm deaf.
(Answer questions thereafter by cupping hand and shouting "What?")
- A pit bull
named [defendant's first name] just killed my baby.
- I have Tourette's
Syndrome, you fucking asshole.
- I get dizzy
if I try to weigh evidence.
- Have you
ever done this, your honor? (Chop off your ear with a razor).
- An eye for
an eye? I say we take his head for an eye! (Point at defendant).
Georgia, a judge sentenced a juror to two days in jail. In order
to get out of jury duty, she had someone phone the courthouse
to say her father had died. The suspicious judge sent an investigator
to find the father, who was very much alive at a local trailer
defense attorney Leslie Ballin called one group of citizens the
"jury pool from hell." One potential juror admitted
he was arrested after he "almost shot" his nephew because
the boy wouldn't come out from under his bed. Another said, "I'm
on morphine and I'm higher than a kite" and walked out.
A third said he was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover
cop posing as a hooker. "I should have known something was
up," he said, since "she had all her teeth." After
a jury had been selected, Ballin's client was found not guilty.
showed up with her summons to the Denver District Court in 2012
with her hair in curlers, socks and shoes that didn't match and
horrible makeup. She told a court reporter she had been a victim
in the past of domestic violence, suffered from post-traumatic
stress disorder and now lived in the streets. The judge excused
her. A few months later, the judge was listening to a radio show
when a caller went on about how she had faked the story and how
amused her salon customers had been when she told them. According
to the Denver Post, the woman was charged with perjury and attempting
to influence a public servant, both felonies.
England, in 2012, a judge read aloud a letter from a potential
juror who claimed he couldn't serve because he was homophobic
and racist. The man wrote, "I hold extreme prejudices against
homosexuals and black/foreign people and couldnt possibly
be impartial if either appeared in court." He also said
that in deliberations, he would just vote with the majority to
get it over with. When questioned by the judge, the man insisted
he also didn't feel he had the right to "judge anyone."
The judge dismissed him and wondered aloud whether the man should
not only be serving on a jury but "whether you should be
doing anything responsible in society at all."
(reading from his second Top Ten book):
Here are other ways to get out of jury duty: (1) Keep saying
very loudly, "Hey, who's frying baloney?" (2) Say you're
looking forward to hearing judge sing like on Cop Rock.
(3) Ask if there will be opportunities to examine bloody undershirts.
(4) Tell them you've already done jury duty on Matlock.
voices in my head told me it was a good day to clean my guns."
I thought of that after I had left the judge's chambers. We convicted
the guy yesterday. If I had known about all the things we weren't
allowed to hear, I probably would have held out for acquittal
or a mistrial. The judge would not let the accused put up the
defense he wanted. The defendant would have said, "Yes,
I did take my kids and left the state without telling my ex-wife
where we were, but she has been beating them, here are the police
reports, here are the witnesses to the beatings, I did what I
had to do to protect my kids." The judge ruled that was
hearsay and irrelevant. We didn't have a clue as to what his
reasons were. I'm not at all sure justice was done, and I was
part of it. That sucks.
have been searching the Internet for days trying to find a bonafide
reason to get out of jury duty. I was disappointed with your
article because I can't use any of them. Since you went through
the whole stinking process, you can understand why I am trying
to get out of it. I even sent a letter stating that I would make
a rotten juror because I hate drunk drivers and people who don't
pay their bills. I told them I couldn't find a babysitter who
could take care of my children who have severe allergies and
asthma and require medication and breathing treatments. Forget
the fact that I can't be out of my two-year-old daughter's sight
for two minutes (including the bathroom) because she has a fit
and holds her breath and passes out. The judge told me to find
a sitter. I can't believe that people leave their children with
child-care providers who watch 15 kids in a 12 by 12 basement
with no windows and cement floors. I am sooooo serious. Why should
I leave my kids in a basement? Well, they say, maybe you have
a relative who will help out. Forget it. My mother is a manic
depressive-obsessive compulsive alcoholic who talks on the phone
every day for four hours to a radio announcer because they can't
get together in person for fear of sexual arousal. My mother
watched my kids the other day when I had a migraine and was puking
all night and she didn't come to visit for a week after that.
Plus we have a home business that I have to run. This is all
true and I still can't get out of jury duty. I have to call them
every night after 5 p.m. I can't make any appointments because
I might have to serve. So I called and asked if I could be excused
if I had a note from my doctor and they said it depends on what
the note says. My doctor will write the note tomorrow but I don't
know what to tell him to write.
I have to go see if they choose me for a jury today. The "I
can tell by looking at them if they're guilty has worked twice
for me allready." I'm stuck and in need of a new plan. My
wife was drug to the ground in a robbery, mentally maimed for
life her ankle permanently messed up. She won't go to anywhere
without me there now and they plea-bargained her case. The guy
was never charged. Now they want me to go and serve so someone
else gets justice. I can't say its gonna happen. I got a hour
to come up with a good excuse so when I do I will give it to
you, if it don't get me arrested.
I am looking for ways to be selected for juty duty. Honest. I've
been called a couple of times but not selected because (I suppose)
I was a city firefighter, I am a former car mechanic and well-acquainted
with cars, I am a veteran, and I don't believe the police make
mistakes, All judgments are paid by the taxpayer or consumer,
I pretty much hate everybody and want to cause as much misery
as I can. So why can't I be selected?
The easiest way (in Australia anyway) to get out jury duty is
to declare you have lost confidence in the courts, and won't
be able to concentrate. This clip pretty well sums it up.
article first appeared in my fanzine, Chip's Closet Cleaner,
Juror's Legal Rights
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