I have only been called for jury duty once and I was selected. I thought of it as a privilege. On that particular case, the guy was almost certainly guilty but the prosecution had not done a very good job and it also seemed almost certain that the police had not done their job properly and maybe been a bit heavy handed too. There were many unanswered questions and therefore to much room for reasonable doubt. In the end, after three days the jury was hung and a mistrial was declared and a new trial date set.
My participation is something of which I am proud. I felt as though I had made a meaningful contribution to society.
Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. - Charles M. Schulz
My cycling blog http://kcmjr.wordpress.com/
"Normal" is just a setting on a washing machine.
The first jury I was on, the judge announced that a Spanish translator would be used, and then they eliminated all the juror candidates that spoke Spanish. Yo Quiero Taco Bell was not enough to disqualify me. Later on in the trial, some testimony involved a food truck and having some pollo pibil for lunch. The judge did not understand what it was and the translator could not translate it. During a break I walked across the street to the library and xeroxed the recipe and handed it to the bailif on the way back in. It was given to the judge and the lawyers nearly crapped their pants on hearing that a juror presented some evidence.
In every trial that I have done, the judge initially questions the jurors. The judge asks a number of basic questions, including can you be "fair and impartial in this case?"
After that, voir dire is opened up to the attorneys. In a criminal case the defendant's attorney then does voir dire for cause (the only time in a criminal proceeding when the defense goes first.) Then the prosecutor does voir dire for cause. Then both side get to use their peremptory challenges to eliminate jurors.
One time I chose the first panel out of the box, without dumping any jurors. The defense used all of his peremptories. Every time he did and a new juror chosen, I would stand up and accept the panel as presently constituted. It drove the defense attorney nuts.
The jury came back with a G verdict in less than 10 minutes. The jury foreman asked me why I did not kick any prospective jurors and I told him that the case was so clear cut, anyone would vote to convict. He smiled and said that was the very first thing they all commented back in the jury room...about how confident I was about the case and how I trusted them to do the right thing. I
don't recommend doing that on a regular basis, but sometimes you have to go with your instincts and trust your evidence.
My current stable:
1989 SLX Bottecchia (Campy Athena 11s)
1999 Cannondale F400 mountain bike
2012 Bianchi Infinito (Campy Record 11s)
2012 Colnago C59 in PR99 color scheme (Campy Record 11s)
The second time I got called to jury duty, it was for federal court in downtown SJ. The date was the week before my wife's due date for our daughter... I had no trouble getting out of that one whatsoever.