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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jury Duty

I've managed to avoid being called for jury duty until a couple of years ago. That's when I went in and told them truthfully that the American Justice system is flawed, I believe everyone should be limited to one retrial, and that we aren't hard enough on our criminals.

I wasn't picked. No surprise.

A jury is supposedly comprised of your "peers". We might be able to appeal to a broader class of people if we offered to pay our jurors more than $40 a day (if it's Federal) or $15 a day for the first three days here, which is upped to $30 a day after that. As most employers won't pay you while you're on jury duty, any juror stands to decidedly lose unless he's out of work.

Of course if we pay jurors at a higher rate, the court system becomes even more expensive to the American taxpayer... As if we don't put out enough per convict. The average convict costs us at least $30,000 a year and that's only for his "three hots and a cot". Every time we fight a new appeal from him, the costs rise.

Yes, I'm sure that at least one of you has served as a juror before. Perhaps you were part of that rare percentage that really wanted to make a difference. Your chances are better at trying to change the world through politics: And that should tell you how slim your chances are.

The only thing that will truly reform our justice system are laws that will demand fewer retrials, lessened costs, better jury selection, and better standards.

9 comments:

An American Nightmare said...

Have you ever known someone who has been in the justice system on the other side? Do you really understand what they do with that $30,000? I agree most inmates do belong there. However there are always 2 sides to a coin. The government does nothing to try to rehabilitate inmates. Why, because the justice system continually makes money from them. One program that tax dollars go to is to teach inmates computers. Do you know of any computer company that will hire an ex con? No but then the government can sit back and say look at what good we are doing.
You are right the justice system does NOT work. It is unfair to all, taxpayers, inmates, EXcons, everyone.

Ed Abbey said...

I'm one of those rare people I guess that have always wanted to serve on a jury if the opportunity should arise to do my civic and patriotic duty to my fellow man. I've always felt that our governmental congresses should be more like the jury system and have blogged about that in the past but that is off topic.

Unfortunately, I have never been asked to serve on a jury. If someday I do get called, I will gladly serve if picked but I also understand why people don't as not many can survive without a paycheck and only $30 per day. I'm fortunate to work in a company where we pay the difference between your salary and your jury pay so you don't have to sacrifice your quality of living to serve.

pavocavalry said...

very penetrating and original thoughts

M@ said...

I virtually skipped all the way out, as we know that almost everyone with an IQ higher than 90 tries to get out of jury duty and I am unblushingly no exception. And some of the excuses are less truthful than mine.

--I once claimed to be racist.

M@ said...

Sauer says: I virtually skipped all the way out, as we know that almost everyone with an IQ higher than 90 tries to get out of jury duty....

Ed Abbey say: I'm one of those rare people I guess that have always wanted to serve on a jury if the opportunity should arise to do my civic and patriotic duty to my fellow man.

M@ says: El-oh-el!

Ed Abbey said...

Laugh all you want M@. I for one would certainly rather have a jury trial than have one person decide my fate and get stoned! That is why our country is one step above the rest.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I got out by saying that I have no moral, ethical, or religious convictions preventing me from sitting in judgment of others. I then went on to say I am always judging others. Every day.

When I see someone do something stupid while driving, I judge that person to be an ass. I may even say "what an asshole". Well there you go! Judging others.

That was federal jury duty. I still got my $40 - which I spent on weed.

When I was called for County duty, I just got out. I was in the dreaded pool room for about 30 minutes, when I was called. Outside the door they said that more people showed up than they expected (I guess showing up is optional???) so the pool was larger than what they needed. We were free to go home - but if we wanted to get paid we had to go back into the room.

Well I was already in the elevator. I had to run to catch up to my ass, which left the instant it heard "you can leave".

The county pulls a scam here. They pay for $15 for the day, but parking is $7. So in reality you are only paid $8. And then you are stuck in the jury pool room where there just happens to be a concession stand. So when you buy something they get more of your "pay" back. You are lucky to break even!!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy,:

I had to run to catch up to my ass, which left the instant it heard "you can leave".


I am still laughing.

Ed, Excellent point - our system is better than NO (or very little) system. Still, there's much room for improvement.

M@, You once claimed to be a racist? That would probably work, but I'd be afraid of being declared in contempt of court or something. Of course, how can they declare you in contempt if that's your honest belief?

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I got called for jury duty twice a year from 1973-1985. (I found out that this was partially because a jury census had me listed as rural black) I actually only served on three juries since most of the lawyers in town knew me and knew that I taught argumentaion and wouldn't let anyone get away with anything. They finally stopped calling me in 1985, but if I received the call, I would be there in a heartbeat. I sat in on enough trials to see how important juries are.