1998-09-23 - Re: Jury duty considered harmful, or at least rare

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From: Rabid Wombat <wombat@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
To: Anonymous <nobody@remailer.ch>
Message Hash: 59d5ce7a6a9f284c01f1d1fdd296e6009a8468b93dd11d97422d366a84c29f51
Message ID: <Pine.BSF.3.91.980922040034.17710C-100000@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
Reply To: <19980924015428.2767.qmail@hades.rpini.com>
UTC Datetime: 1998-09-23 15:48:20 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:48:20 +0800

Raw message

From: Rabid Wombat <wombat@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 23:48:20 +0800
To: Anonymous <nobody@remailer.ch>
Subject: Re: Jury duty considered harmful, or at least rare
In-Reply-To: <19980924015428.2767.qmail@hades.rpini.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.3.91.980922040034.17710C-100000@mcfeely.bsfs.org>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On 24 Sep 1998, Anonymous wrote:

> On Wed, 23 Sep 1998, Tim May wrote:
> > 
> > At 11:11 PM -0700 9/22/98, Bill Stewart wrote:
> > 

> If they do have a list, I'd kind of like to be on it. I'm a college
> student, and I _can't_ serve on a jury for more than a day or so. The same
> goes for doctors, corporate executives, and others.

Yeah, right. I *never* blew off class to go to the beach. I never go to
"meetings" on the golf course, either. Glad to hear the only people with
important places to be are doctors, executives, and college students. 

> There is an inherent flaw in the jury system. You get summoned and are
> legally required to blow the entire day down at the courthouse. If you're
> a student you miss classes, and if you have a job you miss that too. You
> have to pay for transportation, parking, food, and whatever else you need. 
> In return, you get paid something like $3, which often isn't even enough
> to cover the parking and get told every five minutes that this or that
> will get you, as a juror or potential juror, thrown in jail.

It is a trade-off. If you aren't willing to put in your time, you can't 
complain when somebody else lets OJ off the hook. You can't whine if you 
are convicted by a bunch of people who were to stupid to get out of jury 

> don't want people who can determine that the evidence of one side or the
> other is suspect. They don't want people who will actually look at the
> facts rather than the emotion of the opening and closing arguments. The
> prosecution sure as hell doesn't want anybody who will look at whether a
> law should exist in the first place.

"They" refers to both sides. We have an adversarial system. Usualy one 
side or the other is willing to keep jurors who are interested in the facts. 
(OK, launch the court-appointed-public-defender rant here)

One of my employees, a white/male/degreed/job holding/computer programmer 
was kicked out by the defense, not the prosecutor.

> "Hey, Doctor! Um, I have to serve on a jury. Can you take all my patients
> for the next six months while I'm locked in a hotel room?

Very few juries are sequestered. In cases where this is likely, jurors 
are often permitted to be excused if a lengthy trial is expected. This is 
a bullshit excuse for ducking jury duty. The longest anyone who works 
with or for me has been absent due to jury duty was three days.

 Oh, and I need
> to still get my full salary to pay my bills. Thanks, buddy." Um, no.

The company I work for pays our salary while we are on jury duty. We have 
to turn over the $3 a day stipend.

> When the trial actually starts, the average juror, regardless of what
> council may tell them about due process, is usually biased in favor of the
> prosecution, especially if the government is claiming that the defendant
> is an evil child molestor. If it's a case involving technology, you get a
> bunch of bogus "experts" up there which say what council wants to be said,
> because real "experts" refuse to dumb down their testimony to a
> kindergarden level.

Most defendants are guilty. That doesn't mean the one in front of you is. 
Take traffic court as an example. How many defandants are there because
they are innocent, and the cop was mistaken, didn't calibrate his radar,
needed to fill his quota, etc.? A few. How many are there because they
want a couple points knocked off the penalty, even theough they were
speeding? Most of them. A guilty defendant is entitled to a fair trial. So
is an innocent one.  You don't help the process by ducking jury duty (or
are you one of the stupid people?). 

> "Mr. May, will you please explain -- in layman's terms -- exactly how the
> microchip fabrication process works?"

The technobable seemed to work in favor of the defense, in the OJ case. 
People have come to understand and accept fingerprinting (although it was 
not accpeted initially). Many seem to be unwilling to trust DNA evidence, 

> Can you imagine trying to be a defense expert in a cryptography case with
> a bunch of jurors who can barely read, are unemployed, hate "nerds," and
> beat the "geeks" up in high school, while the prosecution is constantly
> screaming that the defendant is a kiddy porn trader and you're expected to
> dumb your expert testimony down to kindergarden level? 

One can always request a judge to hear the case.

It isn't a perfect system, but what do you propose as an alternative? 
Should Tim May judge us all? 

Should we revert to anarchy, with whomever is left standing is 
considered innocent, and the dead are the guilty?