jury duty through end of January

For those who haven’t heard, I’ve been seated on a criminal jury, in a fairly complex case that may last through the last week of January. On the down side, this is wreaking havoc on the beginning of my semester, but on the plus side I’m fulfilling a civic duty that I do strongly believe everyone should do1, I’m getting a glimpse into a courtroom in a way many lawyers never get (since in most cases lawyers are removed from juries by peremptory challenge), and the way the trial has gone so far I’m going to have some fairly crazy stories to tell once I’m done and can talk about them. So things could be worse. See everyone on the other side…

  1. insert mandatory comments about it being a deeply flawed system but also the one we’ve got here []

7 thoughts on “jury duty through end of January”

  1. I have packed a ton of reading material, but the judge is massively concerned about timeliness so I’ve had very little time to actually read. That’s good, I suppose; otherwise it could easily stretch into February.

  2. I’m so jealous – I would love to sit on a jury (mostly to get a first-hand look at deliberations) but I’ve never made it past the giant holding room the two times that I’ve been called. I figure once I graduate from law school I’ll never get seated on a jury for the reasons you indicate. I’m actually amazed they didn’t strike you. Once it is over, you should ask the attorneys why they didn’t strike you.

  3. Rob: the weirdest thing is that there is also an LLM and a practicing lawyer (though only a few years out of school) on the jury. I hadn’t thought to ask the prosecution/defense about that, but I will.

    And you’re not alone; lots of the lawyers I’ve talked to have the exact same response. I’m actually pretty excited about it; if it weren’t interfering with drop/add there would be no qualifier on that.

    caveat: it is a deadly serious case, and I’m sure as the case wears on I’ll transition from excited to seriously wearied by the burden of decision. But still, it’ll be very interesting.

  4. Luis: I’m really glad that Mass doesn’t have the death penalty – state law takes sentencing out of the judge’s and jury’s hands. It gives persons convicted of murder 1 a mandatory life sentence with a guaranteed appeal. Knowing that was a big weight off my shoulders.

    I’m glad that you don’t have much time to read. The whole process seemed horribly inefficient to me, but it’s (rightly) not optimized for jurors. Eg. they often recessed us for an hour so they could enter already agreed-upon items into evidence.

    Deliberations were a lot less interesting than I’d imagined. It was boringly similar to any consensus-forming exercise I’ve done in the F/OSS community or the business world.

    I was nervous and couldn’t sleep much the night before we rendered the verdict. But on the following night, I slept like a baby.

Comments are closed.