PDA

View Full Version : Jury Selection and "Peers"



BrianM
04-25-2012, 11:15 AM
Up to know, every notification I've received to be on a Jury never got further than my sitting in a waiting room (didn't even fill out a questionnaire). Yesterday was different.

4 defendants (gang members) accused of murder. Trial was to last 'til late June (5 days a week, morning and afternoon).

The judge asked anyone who was not going to declare a "hardship" to leave and fill out their questionnaires, and the rest of us to write out what our reasons were.

I watched as the non-hardship people left the room, trying to figure out WHO could get by for 2 1/2 months without their incomes?
It seamed reasonable that many might be:
- older spouses with working partners, no dependent kids
- retirees
- business people with large enough/successful enough enterprises that they didn't need to manage daily
- independently wealthy
- unemployed

Do gang members need middle-class single-income citizens to witness their trials?

BrianY
04-25-2012, 01:14 PM
To quote from http://www.crfc.org/americanjury/jury_peers.html

The phrase "a jury of one's peers" is a part of the American lexicon, yet surprisingly it nowhere appears in the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment simply guarantees the right to "a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed."

To answer your question, gang members, like every other defendants, need an impartial jury. It should make no difference if the jurors are middle-class single-income citizens or minority welfare mothers.

Bobcat
04-25-2012, 01:43 PM
There are some employers that will people their salaries while on jury duty. In the Puget Sound area, Boeing will pay. Our juries have a lot of Boeing engineers on them.

The "peers" are members of your community at large. You don't get to pick what category of people will sit on your jury. It's random based on voting or drivers license. The system tries to weed out those who cannot set aside biases that prevent them from being impartial.

BrianM
04-25-2012, 05:19 PM
To quote from http://www.crfc.org/americanjury/jury_peers.html

The phrase "a jury of one's peers" is a part of the American lexicon, yet surprisingly it nowhere appears in the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment simply guarantees the right to "a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed."

To answer your question, gang members, like every other defendants, need an impartial jury. It should make no difference if the jurors are middle-class single-income citizens or minority welfare mothers.

Makes sense. I guess if the issue at hand is "class" driven, it might influence the way the jury is picked to bias or not-bias depending on whether the Prosecution or Defense holds more sway with the Judge.

A co-worker has a spouse who is a county employee. Our county will pay full compensation, no matter how long the trial lasts. Interesting to think about when and if issues regarding the self-interests if public servants might be on trial, and who is in the "box".

John Smith
04-25-2012, 05:32 PM
There are some employers that will people their salaries while on jury duty. In the Puget Sound area, Boeing will pay. Our juries have a lot of Boeing engineers on them.

The "peers" are members of your community at large. You don't get to pick what category of people will sit on your jury. It's random based on voting or drivers license. The system tries to weed out those who cannot set aside biases that prevent them from being impartial.

Actually, I think it should be mandatory that one's salary is paid while on Jury Duty. I suspect insurance would be available for a modest charge.

Not getting paid is a hardship.

Bobcat
04-25-2012, 05:42 PM
Actually, I think it should be mandatory that one's salary is paid while on Jury Duty. I suspect insurance would be available for a modest charge.

Not getting paid is a hardship.

I agree, but as a small business owner it would be a hardship to have someone gone for weeks or months. I have always paid my employees for jury duty, but it's only been a day or two

Meli
04-26-2012, 06:15 AM
Here the court and or employer pays and reimburses the employee.
Dunno about other states

http://www.courts.vic.gov.au/jury-service/just-received-summons-jury-service/payments

John Smith
04-26-2012, 08:18 AM
I agree, but as a small business owner it would be a hardship to have someone gone for weeks or months. I have always paid my employees for jury duty, but it's only been a day or two

Suppose you started a jury duty fund. Could be voluntary for employees to donate a little each pay. Maybe you could match that. How much would we be talking about per employer per pay in order for them to get their paycheck while on jury duty?

Maybe punitive damages in civil cases could go into a fund to pay jurors.

Seems to me this is a problem long past needing to be addressed.

As to the "peer" part on the thread title, if I'm ever on trial, I want a jury of atheists.

I don't consider religious people to be my peers or function/decide on evidence.

Paul Pless
04-26-2012, 08:26 AM
Suppose you started a jury duty fund. Could be voluntary for employees to donate a little each pay. Maybe you could match that. How much would we be talking about per employer per pay in order for them to get their paycheck while on jury duty?

Maybe punitive damages in civil cases could go into a fund to pay jurors.

Seems to me this is a problem long past needing to be addressed.

As to the "peer" part on the thread title, if I'm ever on trial, I want a jury of atheists.

I don't consider religious people to be my peers or function/decide on evidence.Seems I recall that you shirked your jury duty. And proudly at that.

Gerarddm
04-26-2012, 09:13 AM
I have always wondered about the whole "peers" issue. Wasn't that concept to prevent the hoi polloi from being judged by the nobility, and vice versa? In other words, to take class resentment or contempt out of the equation.

Shang
04-26-2012, 09:53 AM
When I was a young man, studying for the gibbet, my mother was called to serve on a Federal Grand Jury. When she got home the first day she came to my room and demanded, "Do you still have that shotgun you sawed off?"
I answered, "Uhhh...yes, kind of..."
She pointed to the back door and said that I was to take the shotgun far into the woods, and bury it in the deepest hole I could dig.
When I got back from the woods I asked her what had gotten her hackles up.
"I'm not allowed to talk about things that were discussed in the courtroom," she said, "but you should forget where you buried that shotgun unless you want a striped sun tan from the light coming in between the bars."

Tom Montgomery
04-26-2012, 10:16 AM
Ford Motor Company pays its hourly employees 8 hrs/day while they are on jury duty. I don't know if salaried employees are reimbursed or not. I'll have to ask one.

TomF
04-26-2012, 10:38 AM
Same is true for my government - whether for unionized employees, or management. Our jurisdiction also pays jurors a daily rate, which those of us who are supported by our employers are legally obliged to decline.

Bobcat
04-26-2012, 11:35 AM
In our state, the courts are vastly underfunded. Increasing the pay for jurors is about the bottom of the priorities.

John Smith, I do remember you declaring that you would participate in trials as juror because of your perception that the system is biased. I do find it ironic and you are so enthusiastic about supporting the jury system when you will never be part of it.

Bobcat
04-26-2012, 11:36 AM
Same is true for my government - whether for unionized employees, or management. Our jurisdiction also pays jurors a daily rate, which those of us who are supported by our employers are legally obliged to decline.

Our jurors are paid, but it's a pittance. $10 per day plus mileage or bus fare, but not parking. If your employer pays you, you are often asked to pay to the employer, but all jurors are paid.