Jury-Rigged

  1. 5

    It's as regular as rain in this nurse's life: the biennial notification that she has once again been selected for jury service. Join her as she discovers that there really is a get-out-of-jury-duty-free card.....and wrestles with her inner patriot to decide if she's going to play it.

    Jury-Rigged

    I got the dreaded jury summons a few days ago.

    Why is it that some people can go most of their lives without being called for jury duty, while some of us are summoned every. other. year?! It's gotten ridiculous to the point where I almost fear the arrival of each 'odd' year, knowing that at some point I am going to receive one of those envelopes from either the county or the municipal court. And some years, it's both.

    It's not that I'm against jury service; on the contrary, I believe it is a patriotic duty, and at one point in my life I loved the idea of being on the dispensing end of justice for a change. You see, I used to run afoul of the traffic laws on a rather frequent basis, and I found myself standing in front of judges more times than I care to admit.

    So when my turn came to serve on a DUI case about thirty years ago, I couldn't help but get a kick out of it. And I didn't feel one bit sorry for the defendant, a little blonde girl who kept smiling and winking at us during the brief trial as if to say "Oh, you wouldn't convict me, I'm too cute for that". Uh, yeah, we would, and yeah, we did.

    But other than that one time when I actually got to BE on a jury, I have never particularly enjoyed the experience. (I know---neither does anyone else.) There is nothing noble about sitting in hard plastic chairs all day, drinking bad coffee, avoiding small talk with the other prospective jurors and trying to stay awake. There is no 'service' in milling around for hours in a poorly lit and badly ventilated room, waiting to be called and then being sent home at four in the afternoon because some defense attorney decided to plead out rather than go through a trial.

    So tonight as I was filling out the online form to confirm the dates of service and answer a few personal questions, I noticed that this time there were several that hadn't been there the last time I went through this exercise---all of which had to do with reasons why a potential juror wanted/needed to be excused.

    Wow, I thought. Wasn't too long ago that there WERE no excuses for not serving. The best you could hope for was a deferral to a later time; otherwise, death was about the only acceptable reason for not showing up. Oh, and you couldn't be a convicted felon. (Darn.)

    Now it's Are you 70 or older? Nope.

    Breastfeeding a child or sole caregiver for one? No, thank God.

    Active duty military serving elsewhere? Not the last time I checked.

    Serious physical or mental illness? BINGO!!!

    Immediately I could think of about half a dozen good reasons why nobody with half the sense God gave a goat would want me on a jury. First of all, I have the attention span of a flashcube and short-term memory loss; secondly, I'll fall asleep if I can't get up and walk around every 20 minutes or so (ten if the lawyers are droning on about some obscure legal precedent). I also am easily overwhelmed by external stimuli, rapidly-changing priorities, and competing demands on my (limited) ability to focus.

    But there is a get-out-of-jury-duty-free card, which for me is my MI....and you can bet your cowboy hat and your house cat that I played it. It's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Besides, if you were on trial for your life, would you want a crazy woman deciding your fate? Me neither.

    We'll see how it flies with the jury manager, anyway. He might make me get a letter to prove that I'm certifiable, but that shouldn't be too difficult, even for someone whose psychiatrist is ex-military and has a low tolerance for BS. Besides, I'm reasonably sure I'll never serve on another jury anyway, because I've seen health questions come up during the jury selection process:

    Lawyer: "Mrs. Viejas, have you ever suffered from a serious physical or mental illness?"

    Me: "Yup."

    Lawyer: "Your Honor, I am dismissing this juror for cause."

    Judge: "You are OUTTA here, lady!"

    Me: "Thanks. See you in a couple years."
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 15, '15
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    Joe V, Esme12, bell1962, and 2 others like this.
  2. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page

    About VivaLasViejas , ASN, RN

    VivaLasViejas has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. From 'The Great Northwest'; 56 Years Old; Joined Sep '02; Posts: 25,610; Likes: 38,602.

    Read My Articles

    12 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  SoldierNurse22 profile page
    2
    That's one way to jump the jury! Congrats on your narrow escape. :***:
    Esme12 and VivaLasViejas like this.
  4. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    4
    I breastfed my kids to toddlerhood to avoid jury duty. And I had 4 kids.

    Although I heard on the news a couple of days ago that a judge has refused a woman's request to not be on the jury due to nursing her 7 month old. So that excuse may have worn out it's welcome.

    Now, I simply ask for jury duty in the summer as I have two jobs, one of which is hospice where I'm on call a lot. Our local jury foreman/woman has been very nice about that.
    vintagemother, Esme12, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
  5. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    3
    Well, THAT didn't take long---I got the E-mail excusing me from jury service this afternoon. They didn't even make me go get a letter from my doctor to prove my diagnosis. They probably just looked at my online response form, went "oh H**L no" and dashed off the dismissal. Heh. Wonder if I'll ever get another summons?
  6. Visit  cardiacfreak profile page
    2
    You had me literally laughing out loud, my husband now thinks I have lost it. I have only had to serve once thank God, but have been summonsed three times.
    Esme12 and VivaLasViejas like this.
  7. Visit  Medic2RN profile page
    3
    I have a jury summons in a few weeks. They always seem to ask the question if you or a family member has been in law enforcement and I'm always dismissed. Call me crazy, but I've wanted to serve on a jury. They should just flag my name because I'm always dismissed.
    Esme12, VivaLasViejas, and Spidey's mom like this.
  8. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    5
    Quote from Medic2RN
    I have a jury summons in a few weeks. They always seem to ask the question if you or a family member has been in law enforcement and I'm always dismissed. Call me crazy, but I've wanted to serve on a jury. They should just flag my name because I'm always dismissed.
    I think it is so random. When I was called for jury duty, the case was a drunk driving case. I was asked all kinds of questions and my answers made me think, they'll never let me on this case.

    I'm a nurse, I worked in the ER at the time. My oldest son was heavily involved in anti-drunk driving groups in our county as part of his Junior and Senior year projects. My best friend back in the 80's was killed by a drunk driver. My family has alcoholics and drug addicts.

    They picked me anyway. Weird.

    It was pretty funny because some of the "laid-back" and "judge not" folks (where's that potsmoking smilie when you need him??) . . .thought we should give the middle-aged guy a break.

    Fortunately, most of the jurors were smarter than that and deciding that protecting the community was a better idea.
    Medic2RN, herring_RN, cardiacfreak, and 2 others like this.
  9. Visit  NutmeggeRN profile page
    1
    Quote from Spidey's mom
    I breastfed my kids to toddlerhood to avoid jury duty. And I had 4 kids.

    Although I heard on the news a couple of days ago that a judge has refused a woman's request to not be on the jury due to nursing her 7 month old. So that excuse may have worn out it's welcome.

    Now, I simply ask for jury duty in the summer as I have two jobs, one of which is hospice where I'm on call a lot. Our local jury foreman/woman has been very nice about that.
    I support a womans choice to breast feed, but it sounded to me like they made reasonable accomodations that she was not willing to accept. Maybe I will get flamed for that just my personal opinion.

    I also wonder if she could have pumped? Jury duty is often a once a week thing ( at least where I live) and if you dont get picked on Mon you are all set for the week. Unless it was a longer trial.

    I got picked for JD for a homicide trial UGH! But it would ghave been an extreme hardship on my employer for me to be out 2-3 weeks. The court let me do grand jury which convenes for 1 day a month for 4 months. That was doable and I did it.
    Fascinating experience~
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  10. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    1
    I got picked for grand Jury....6 months.....
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  11. Visit  herring_RN profile page
    1
    I think a breast feeding baby who has never been away from Mommy should excuse her.
    I saw the lady. They have little money. They have never used a baby sitter.
    Every child is different.
    I have served on many juries, but was excused for the 5 + years I was nursing one of my two kids.
    They have both served on juries too.

    The most recent time I never even had to show up.
    I had to call the night before for three days and that was my jury duty.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  12. Visit  Ginger's Mom profile page
    2
    Your too funny, Viva. Thanks for sharing.
    VivaLasViejas and herring_RN like this.
  13. Visit  Ruby Vee profile page
    0
    Quote from Esme12
    I got picked for grand Jury....6 months.....
    I did too, and it was great fun! I'd love to get picked again.
  14. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    1
    The only time I ever got to serve was a DUI case. Old guy, stipulated at the outset of testimony that he and his brother went to the girlfriend's and had three, possibly four drinks between 7-9pm, then went to the restaurant and had two more, possibly three, with dinner. At 11pm they were pulled over and stopped 100 yds outside the restaurant. It took him 20 minutes to find his license and registration, couldn't walk the straight line or say the alphabet, and so forth. And decided to fight this in court? Oh, his mitigating factor was that he had been being treated for cancer.

    We listened to testimony all morning (0900-1200), broke for lunch, and listened to more from 1300-1400. When they sent the 6 of us women back to deliberate in the jury room, I excused myself briefly to pee and when I came back said, "Well, ladies, what do you think?" And of course we all said he's guilty, of course he was under the influence of all those drinks. But we couldn't go out there in less than 5 minutes, we thought, so we sat there and chatted about our husbands and our jobs and our kids for about half an hour, and then went back to break the bad news to him. The judge probably wondered what the hell we were doing.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


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