Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Civic Duty

For seven years I've lived in the beautiful state of Oregon and not once have I received a letter summoning me to Jury Duty. . . . until today. Oh yepee skipee!

As I eagerly read each exciting detail about how I would be able to spend my time performing my civic duty, a few things struck me.

Here are the Juror Qualifications as listed:
  1. You must be a citizen of the United States.
  2. You must be a resident of Clackamas County.
  3. You must be 18 years of age or older.
  4. You must not have served on any state or federal jury in the last 2 years.

That's it? These are the only qualifications that are required for a person to determine the fate of a fellow citizen? What I read here was, "Any idiot can serve as a juror."

Surely there have got to be some more qualifications that one should posses. How about:

  1. You must be smarter than a fifth grader.
  2. You must be able to speak and comprehend the English language
  3. You must not be a low life degenerate freak of nature who has no concept of personal hygiene.
  4. You must have enough common sense to realize if OJ Simpson is on the trial you serve at, the bastard is guilty.
  5. You must realize that watching every episode of "Mattlock" does not make you an expert in the judicial system.
  6. "Feel free to add your own here"

I found out that I will of course be compensated for my time. When I saw the dollar amount I seriously considered quitting my job and becoming a professional juror. Yes folks, I could be making the big buck should I be selected. Get this, I could make. . . I can't believe the generosity. . . $10 a day!

Lisa is already looking into 401 K's, IRAs and a host of other plans for our windfall. She was so excited about this news I almost didn't want to tell her if I do get selected to a trial and if goes for more than two days then I could get whopping $25 a day!

Can you believe it? If I am really lucky, I'll get a case that goes for at least two weeks. With that the kids college fund should be pretty well taken care of. Yep, I can see it now Harvard...Yale... the possibilities are endless.

But wait, there's more. "Tell him what he's won."

I can also earn 20 cents a mile for each and every mile I travel to and from the courthouse. Is this getting exciting or what? Let's do a little math shall we? If I drive my truck which gets 13 mpg with the current price of gas at $3.60 per gallon it costs me 27.6 cents per mile. So in other words I get to make twenty cents to spend nearly thirty. Is our government great or what?

I see there is a section that talks about security. Let's see what it says: Prohibited articles such as guns, knives and chemical sprays (mace) will not be allowed in the building. Camera phones are not permitted.

I think I'll show up with a hand grenade and an envelope of anthrax and see if they select me. I don't see these things on their list and remember intelligence was not one of their requirements to be a juror.

OK so what I'm really going to do is defer my service to sometime in November or December when it's not right in the middle of the busy season for work.


Jay said...

If it's a murder case just tell them that you watch ALL the CSI's and you are ready to put the bastard away! ;-)

I had a friend who got called in for jury duty once. He worked the night shift at UPS and got off work at 7 am, so he went straight from work to the courthouse. One of the lawyers said "you're looking a little scruffy this morning" to him. He looked at him and said "That's because I actually work for a living." And with that he was excused. LOL

katherine. said...

I did jury duty on a murder trial several years ago.

The judge announced at the beginning of selection that he was NOT going to seat a jury of retired, disabled, unemployed citizens...and any excuse the professionals usually had to get out of serving jury duty were not going to work.

He wasn't joking.
(all the self employed people got off cause it was going to be a long trial)

actually that experience would be a good subject for a post.

Hammer said...

Here in Texas on of the requirements is that you be of sound moral character.

HA that counts me out!

CrystalChick said...

It used to be $5.00 for the day but they gave free parking and a shuttle to the courthouse. Federal jurors get more... like 40 a day?? yeehaa
Last year was the first time I'd ever actually had to report. In all the years before that I claimed an exemption for 'the care of minor children' or something like that. Since my son was 14 I decided to not try and use that as an excuse anymore but I did call to inquire about how long I might have to serve if selected because I take my daughter and her son to all of his medical appointments and really, I was looking for an out. LOL The man I spoke with was very friendly! He said that the state only wanted my jury experience to be a good one..HA.. and that if chosen I would be asked if there was any reason I could not serve more than that one day and my 'excuse' would be fine.
Turns out, they worked all their cases out that day early and didn't need the jurors, we were all dismissed by noon. Almost unheard of.

buffalodickdy said...

Never ever been called...

Nicole P said...

That is almost pathetic Jeff. You'd think the Gov. could do better than that. I have never been called before, but I once I was supeonoed (sp???) to testify for the FBI, long story, and they compensated me 100%. Seriously. 100%.

Matt-Man said...

Of course most jurors are morons. One is supposed to be tried by a jury of their peers!! Cheers!!

nitebyrd said...

You're right in saying that any idiot can serve on a jury. Most people called will find a way to get out of it. Legit or not.

I've been called twice but never selected for a jury because once a woman was suing her church. WTF!?! And the second time because I said I would believe a cop before I would believe the person accused of the crime. Imagine!

If you want to be on a jury, don't have strong opinions or take a stand. Be wishy-washy.

Leighann said...

I've been summoned for jury duty three times. The first two times I was able to get out of it by saying that my father was an Illinois Correctional Officer and his work experiences would sway my opinion.

It didn't work the third time unfortunately. Let me tell you, my time on a jury was a ridiculous waste of time.

Dana said...

I soooooo want jury duty, but alas ... never have I received a summons. My guess is that my paralegal degree would likely be cause for my dismissal anyway because they really aren't looking for anything more than a jury of one's peers, and since we are talking criminals here ... well ... you get my drift!

Bond said...

Or you can do as my friend's uncle once did. As they were polling the jurors, he was asked if he thought he could judge the case fairly. His response "Hell yes I can be fair, we are here to convict him right?"

he was immediately dismissed from jury duty!

YOU get gas mileage???? dang...

Ron said...

Oh wow, Jeff,

I can't believe your saying this...because last month, I was called too!!!

I've only been called twice in my life and was exempted both times.

The reason being, is that my job does NOT pay for time spent on jury duty if I should have to serve. Therefore, I would be missing my only form of income.

Aren't you self-employed? Just tell them you cannot serve because you would be missing work (and it's your busiest time of the year). A girl I work with, has a husband who is self-employed and he has never had to serve.

You can try explaining that to MAY work in Oregon too!

(I mean, you're telling them the truth)

Oh, wow... and you at least get $10.00...we only get $9.00!!

Good luck, buddy!

Desert Songbird said...

Dude, never, EVER mention the "j" word! Now you've cursed us all!!!!!

leelee said...

I actually made $500 sitting on a federal jury. I went to Club Med with the money..totally worth it!!!

kevin wecker said...

1. With your added credentials, I wonder if there would only be four or five citizens qualified.

2. I served once, and was actually compensated with my current salary by the city government, who I worked for at the time. I turned in my $10.00 to get my hourly-pay equivalant!

3. Lastly, I wish you good luck finding parking near the courthouse! The courts do not reimburse for parking fees.

Sandi McBride said...

My lord I needed a good laugh this morning...but then wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at this post...then decided to stay the law abiding gun carrying straight line walking English speaking American Citizen that I am and I should be okay, right? Right? Jeff, do you hear me?

Anndi said...

Prohibited articles such as guns, knives and chemical sprays (mace) will not be allowed in the building.

such as?

This makes me think an exclusionary clause should like pertain to beauty queens... um... pageant... um... scholarship program contestants.

Akelamalu said...

I've never had to do jury service - yet. Can you be called more than once there? We can here I believe, and as we don't get paid if we're off work for jury service we can claim the equivalent of however many days/weeks pay we are off work.

Akelamalu said...

I've never had to do jury service - yet. Can you be called more than once there? We can here I believe, and as we don't get paid if we're off work for jury service we can claim the equivalent of however many days/weeks pay we are off work.

R.E.H. said...

The 20c travel expense really cracked me up.

$10 a day is also really dumb - what if you have to take time off work to go there?

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Generally speaking the accused don't have half the minimum qualifications as the jurors have to have. It all works out. Love your take on the kids' college fund. Bwahahahahaha. You crack me up. Have a great day. :)

Gene Bach said...

***"Any idiot can serve as a juror."***

That's why YOU got the notice.

Kimmie said...

I have been called three times so far. I served on two trials and was dismissed once. Luckily, I worked for the City Of Buffalo and was compensated for my time away all three times. It was very difficult even though both trials lasted less than two weeks. I can't imagine these juror's who are on cases that go for months at a time. It is emotionally exhausting.

Hope you get your's rescheduled.

Giggle! said...

LMAO!!! You're a funny bugger! :-D You crack me up!!! xx

Anonymous said...

Not only do jurors not have to be smarter than a fifth grader, but neither do the attorneys . . . and a good number of them aren't -- I know, I've worked with a bunch of them who got their law degree without the benefit of brains or common sense. Deferring your time of service to the winter when serving wouldn't cause you financial hardship, rather than just trying to weasel out of it altogether, is a fine idea as I believe everyone should serve at least once -- it's pretty interesting. Maybe if people were compensated fairly they would be more willing to serve and not simply try to think up ways to get out of it as soon as they see a summons. Okay, I'll hop down off my soapbox now.


Talisman said...

You could just go in there and ask if the defendant is a male or a female and then when they tell you, regardless of what the answer is go.. "Pfft, totally guilty." ;)

Luckily I've never yet had to do jury duty, I've always had an actual valid excuse. I really fear the day when I don't have a valid excuse because I think our judicial system is a bit (lot?) screwy.

Rhea said...

I think I'd enjoyed jury duty at some point in my life, just to have the experience, but like you pointed out, it doesn't pay well and it interferes with your life.

All the same, we need people to do it. If I am put to trial for murdering someone (just sayin', you never know) I want a jury of my peers...

However, being married to a lawyer, I'm likely not to get picked. Other lawyers don't like that. :o)

Travis said...

I got my jury duty letter a couple of weeks ago. But it was based on my old address, before I moved to a different town.

This was the third time I've been called, but I've never been selected for a jury.

Jeff B said...

Jay- A lawyer without a sense of humor? Imagine that!

Katherine- That would be a great thing to write about. I'm sure it was interesting.

crystalchick- Good for you for not dodging it forever. Worked out easy-peasy anyway.

Buffalo- What's your secrete? Inquiring minds want to know.

Nicole- There has got to be a story in that!

Matt- Very good point. What better person to determine the fate of a criminal than another moron.

Nitebyrd- what the heck does one sue a church for? That's got me wondering.

Leighann- I was on notice one time in California, but wasn't called.

You would really have to down play your boldness to actually get selected. I bet you'd stand up in the middle of the trial and ask to cross examine the witness to clarify a few points too.

Bond- That milage is pretty awesome eh? It wouldn't be bad if I had a gas powered skateboard.

Jeff B said...

Ron- I'm actually going to ask to defer my service until the winter when work typically isn't so busy. I wouldn't mind being on a jury if it wasn't during my busy time.

Songbird- I'm sure yours is in the mail today! (snicker)

Leelee- Now see...for that kind of money people would actually be willing to serve when called.

Kevin- Good point. There would be eight empty seats.

Sandi- I hear you, but don't, whatever you do, bring in a camera phone! Sheesh

Anndi- Like totally! Like oh my God!

Akelamalu- You can be called more than once, but not within a two year span.

REH- This is exactly why the majority of the ones called find an excuse to get out of it.

Sandee- They say crime doesn't pay. I think it should be changed to Jury Duty doesn't pay.

Gene- I take back anything nice I've ever said about you!

Kimmie- It really is tough for a working person to get very excited aobut making peanuts when you know the lawyers are raking it in.

Jeff B said...

Giggle- The feeling is mutual Rat Girl.

Mom- Soap boxes are perfectly fine here. I'm hopeing to reschedule for winter so I can participate. I wouldn't mind being on a jury. Just hope it doesn't turn out to be a long trial if I get selected.

Tailsman- I was thinking I could ask if we (the jury) get to push the button when we give him/her the chair.

Rhea- I can tell you have kids from your comment. hehehe

Travis- If you want to be picked, you've got to stop just sitting there drooling on yourself when they call your name.

Jeni said...

In the almost forty years I have been a registered voter, I have never been called for jury duty. I'd like to think I could be fair, see gray and not just black and white but then again, maybe I can't either.
My Mom got called once for jury duty in a big murder trial here back in the early 60's and was not selected because she didn't believe in capital punishment.
Pay wise though, you should move to PA and after fulfilling the residency requirements, run for office as a state representative! Now, there's a job that has some great per diem rates as well as really good milage pay too! Don't recall now what it runs (two years ago I knew all that stuff by heart) but it amounts to a lot more just for those two bennies alone here than what a lot of folks earn in a year!

the teach said...

Jeff, I don't know where to start!! First of all our Founding Fathers meant that "any idiot can serve on jury duty." I could make a joke and say they meant us to be tried in front of a jury of our peers. Ha! You don't want very many regulations for serving because you want good ol' Joe Blow up there deciding your fate not just the intellectuals, the powerful, the rich, etc. of our country.

Another thing don't try bringing anthrax or a gun or whatever else you said to the courtroom. They'd throw your ass in prison sooner than look at you these days!

I've served on jury duty (you know I'm from NYC, right?) many times. Most of the time I haven't been picked. My brother's a Chief of Police... of course nowadays that doesn't matter any more so I've served on a jury that ran a week. And we ALMOST had to stay over night in the deliberation process. We came up with a verdict real fast with that hanging over our heads. I've served on one other where the compainant settled.

Every time I've served though I've felt very proud to serve. It's amazing how patriotic you feel. I understand putting it off til the not so busy time but be happy you've been called. You'll see our justice system at work and you'll realize it works! And works well! :D

According to hammer above, one of the requirements in Texas is you have to be of sound moral character...What?! How the hell do you tell whether a person is of sound moral character??

Jeff B said...

Jeni- I'd consider running for an office, but the fact that I have a conscience might get in the way!

Teach- I hope you know I was joking about the gun and anthrax. It just struck me funny that the courts would have to point out that weapons were not allowed. The people that wouldn't automaticlly know this are the ones I'd be leary of having serve on a jury.

I'm not planing on dodging this oppertunity, just trying to make it at a time when I can afford to be a part of it.

Hammer- Dude I forgot to comment back to you, sorry about that. Teach reminded me of that, and i agree with you both, who gets to determine the moral character of another? Sounds like those lawmakers have a God complex.

jennifer said...

I haven't ever been invited to that particular party. I think that I would be too emotional to be a juror.

We have a family member who was involved in an accident in which he was drinking and a pedestrian was killed. It took over two years for the case to come to trial (he was convicted about a week ago) and the lawyers pleaded it out without a jury. I think if it had gone before a jury, he would have to spend a lot more time in jail. I wonder how often cased DO actually go before a jury as opposed to being settled this way?

Have a great weekend.


Zathyn Priest said...

Hmmm - those very basic jury qualifications are a tad frightening! I've always wanted to be called up for jury duty, but alas it hasn't happened yet. I shall keep on waiting!!

Best Wishes,

the teach said...

Jeff, I knew you were joking about the weapons and anthrax. And I know you're just putting it off til you aren't so busy. I look forward to hearing about how it goes when you do serve... :D

Jeff B said...

Jennifer- That's a crime that should carry a very stiff penalty. There's no excuse for getting behind the wheel after tying one on.

I have a feeling there are a lot of "back door" arrangements that never make it to a jury.

Zathyn- Great to see you again! It seems as long as you have a pulse it qualifies you as a juror. I'm actually hoping I get called to a jury, I think it would be interesting, but I can't afford to miss work during the busy season. Hopefully they will let me defer until the winter when construction typically slows down.

Jeff B said...

Teach- Whew! I thought I was going to be put on a watch list. hehe

I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

CrazyCath said...

Very wise.
I'd say jury duty is legalised daylight robbery! Prepare to see the civil servants on trial! lol