Jury Duty

cycloneworld

Facebook Knows All
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Mar 20, 2006
24,944
9,360
113
Urbandale, IA
I’m sitting in the courthouse waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen after checking in for jury duty this morning. This is my first time ever having to report so no idea what to expect. I’m swamped at work so I’m hoping not to get picked. But also intrigued by the idea of sitting on a criminal trial.

Anyone have any good stories or sat on any significant trials as a juror?
 
  • Like
Reactions: agentbear

GMackey32

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Nov 2, 2009
9,353
7,778
113
36
Ames Via Cedar Falls
I've been summoned starting next week. There's selection for a trial involving a guy killing a state trooper happening. I want to get picked for it because I think it'd be cool since I never sat on a jury before. I'm assuming I'll get selected for something dumb though.
 

cyclonedave25

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Jul 10, 2007
21,021
10,139
113
Chicago, IL
If you really don’t want to be there and get selected, you can tell the judge you don’t want to be there and are swamped at work and most times they will move onto somebody else. (At least that works in Chicago).
 

Cyclones_R_GR8

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Feb 10, 2007
20,022
20,251
113
Omaha
Jury duty involves a lot of sitting around prior to any trial. If I remember correctly, first they will pick a group of 12 at random and then a few alternates. Then they start asking questions to try to eliminate jurors. If they eliminate one immediately then they leave and one of the alternates moves up to the group of 12.
Then the lawyers decided on the 12 and everyone else is sent home.
I've only sat on an actual jury once. 2 1/2 days for a burglary trial.

I was scheduled for Federal Jury duty starting in Feb of 2020. COVID stopped that.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: khardbored

norsemen

Active Member
Apr 13, 2006
183
94
28
I've been selected for jury duty twice in the past 5 years (one county, one federal). Was selected for two juries and found the experience very educational. The jury selection process may have you serving with people that may be see things quite different than you yet you find a way to work together to reach a verdict. The federal case had the defense attorney trying to establish a Russian connection to the crime but it seemed an effort to confuse and complicate the case.
 

isucyfan

Speechless
Apr 21, 2006
20,463
3,055
113
49
Saint Paul, MN
I had quite a jury duty experience. It was a child abuse case that I thought was pretty cut and dried, but a fellow juror was of the same country of origin as the accused, and he sat through the entire selection and trial and THEN said he would never, under any circumstances, vote guilty on a fellow countryman.

The judge threw him out and the whole trial had to happen again.
 

khardbored

Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2012
8,394
5,760
113
Middle of the Midwest
When they do the interviews, just say something really controversial (or even somewhat controversial).

I'm not saying this to make a point, just factual -- I was in the "final pool" for a trial once that was a drug case, and both defendants required a translator (they spoke Spanish). A member of the pool asked the question "I just want to know if they are in the country legally or not?"

The judge said "their immigration status is not pertinent to this trial" -- needless to say, the guy wasn't chosen.

I think it would be cool to be in a jury, and not have to work for a few days. But I wouldn't want to feel the weight of a murder case or something serious. Give me some kind of white-collar crime.
 

ScottyP

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Jan 24, 2007
2,450
3,083
113
Urbandale, IA via Ogden
I was on a criminal trial jury a few years ago. It was a little awkward when I went to a restaurant a couple years later and saw the person prosecuted working in the kitchen.

I did gain an appreciation for the judges and lawyers involved.

If you do get on a jury, make sure to take really good notes because that was helpful when deliberating unless it is a cut and dry case (mine wasn't).
 

mramseyISU

Well-Known Member
Nov 8, 2006
4,904
4,137
113
Waterloo, IA
I've gotten picked once and it was like having front row tickets to Jerry Springer.

So it was a domestic assault case, a guy was charged with hitting and choking his girlfriend. He allegedly had been over at his moms house day drinking and came home and passed out on the couch about 6pm. The girlfriend decided at 1AM she was tired of him sleeping and proceeds to start smacking the stuffing out of the guy. He comes to and decks her, then he realizes what he did and takes off running. The trial starts out normal enough except after the second witness, they told us we were getting an extended lunch break but wouldn't tell us why. Turned out they couldn't find the girlfriend who was supposed to be the 3rd witness. The last witness of the morning was the arresting officer, he tells us about finding the guy hiding in the attic of the house. They found him because he climbed up there through the closet and broke every shelf in there on his way up. Then after lunch the cops finally drag her into court as the last witness of the day and she was really combative with both lawyers. Whatever, people in abusive relationships do all sorts of things that people from the outside looking in don't understand. The next day was more of the same until the defense brings her dad on to testify on the defendants behalf. Turned out he was common law married to the defendants mom so I was sitting in on a real life step-sibling incest situation but not with the hot step siblings like I've heard about on the internet. After all of that we go in and deliberate for an hour or so and find him guilty on most of the charges, there just wasn't enough evidence of him choking her. Afterwards the lawyers and the judge come in and talk to us about what happened that couldn't come out in court. Apparently there was a restraining order against her because she liked to beat him up and she was probably going to get charged with violating that after it was all said and done.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: khardbored

mj4cy

Asst. Regional Manager
Staff member
Mar 28, 2006
30,054
11,424
113
Iowa
I’m sitting in the courthouse waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen after checking in for jury duty this morning. This is my first time ever having to report so no idea what to expect. I’m swamped at work so I’m hoping not to get picked. But also intrigued by the idea of sitting on a criminal trial.

Anyone have any good stories or sat on any significant trials as a juror?

I'm weird - I was fascinated by jury duty. I loved the chess match of the lawyers. I loved to see how the judge conducted the courtroom. However, very fair point about work as its a huge pain to try to keep up with your job.

My biggest regret was during my time as a juror, I was reading the Lincoln Lawyer. I would get details of the cases confused with the details of cases in that book....
 

Mr Janny

Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
Staff member
Bookie
SuperFanatic
Mar 27, 2006
37,853
21,376
113
I was in the jury selection pool for a case where a woman was fighting a DUI charge. I made it through the first round of cuts and the prosecution was going down the line asking us questions. He came to me and asked "Do you believe that we should always assume police reports are the truth?"
I said something like "I think it's their job to record the facts of a case to the best of their ability, but there's always the chance that a mistake is made, so it's important that there's evidence to back up their account"

He asked the lady next to me the same question. She went on this diatribe about how she never trusts the police, because her son had been arrested multiple times for selling drugs, and now when she leaves her house, the police follow her in unmarked cars, and she caught a guy going through her garbage trying to find evidence to use against her son, and she saw a helicopter following her on the way to the courthouse today, and she's sure they're going through her car right now in the parking lot, so no she does NOT believe a police report. She wouldn't even believe video footage, because they can alter that, and make it look like you're doing all kinds of things that you didn't. It was a 5 minute stream of unfiltered batshit. And by the time she finished, there were wide eyes and concerned looks across the entire jury pool.

So when it came time to make the final selections, I didn't know if I would make it, but I figured for sure, the loon next to me would be shown the door.

Nope.

I got cut. She made the final jury. I have no idea what the prosecutor was thinking. There's not a chance in hell she was going to side with the police. She flat out said so.
 

jmb

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Apr 12, 2006
18,104
7,682
113
I’m sitting in the courthouse waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen after checking in for jury duty this morning. This is my first time ever having to report so no idea what to expect. I’m swamped at work so I’m hoping not to get picked. But also intrigued by the idea of sitting on a criminal trial.

Anyone have any good stories or sat on any significant trials as a juror?
I did a three day jury trial and really enjoyed the process.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mj4cy

jmb

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Apr 12, 2006
18,104
7,682
113
If you really don’t want to be there and get selected, you can tell the judge you don’t want to be there and are swamped at work and most times they will move onto somebody else. (At least that works in Chicago).

Not so much in Polk County. I know to two judges personally and just did duty myself. That is a high hurdle to cross.
 

Cyinthenorth

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Mar 29, 2013
9,562
5,612
113
33
Dubuque
I was summoned but not selected earlier this month for a Federal Case involving sexual abuse of a minor. I was pretty relieved to not be selected in all honesty. Due to covid, the potential jurors were split into 2 courtrooms. I didn't get an exact head count, but seemed upwards of 40 of us, between the 2 rooms. In courtroom 1 was the judge, lawyers, defendant, and half of the potential jurors. In courtroom 2, a courtroom official of some kind, not sure what her title was but she helped with check in, and the other half of the potential jurors watching the interviewing going on in c1 on a projector screen-live feed.

I showed up roughly 5 minutes before I was supposed to be there, relatively late compared to others. I was probably one of the last 5 or so people to get checked in. I was assigned to courtroom 2, so I think it's safe to assume the later you show up might decrease the odds of you being selected. They only called people from c2 over to c1 if they had to eliminate somebody from consideration. The judge was strict on who to dismiss. One guy complained about having a migraine, and the judge more or less told him to suck it up (although he was later let go after persistent whining). Another was a young teacher and wanted to be dismissed because the case she felt hit too close to home for her as a teacher. The judge was sympathetic but explained that the jury selection needs to be comprised of people from all trades, professions, walks of life etc. She ended up getting selected.

Seems like in situations of covid or legitimate requests to be excused due to hardship was about the only reason the judge was letting anyone off the hook. Pretty strict in my opinion. If you really didn't want to be there, I think any mention of covid exposure would certainly do the trick though.
 

cycloneG

Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2007
12,685
10,722
113
Off the grid
I've only had to report for jury duty once. Two full days of jury selection without telling us any details about the case. I was selected then they informed us it was a murder trial.

Two more weeks to present the case from opening to closing arguments. Three days to deliberate. I missed almost a month of work. Do not recommend.
 

SCNCY

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Sep 11, 2009
7,081
4,462
113
34
La Fox, IL
I've gotten picked once and it was like having front row tickets to Jerry Springer.

So it was a domestic assault case, a guy was charged with hitting and choking his girlfriend. He allegedly had been over at his moms house day drinking and came home and passed out on the couch about 6pm. The girlfriend decided at 1AM she was tired of him sleeping and proceeds to start smacking the stuffing out of the guy. He comes to and decks her, then he realizes what he did and takes off running. The trial starts out normal enough except after the second witness, they told us we were getting an extended lunch break but wouldn't tell us why. Turned out they couldn't find the girlfriend who was supposed to be the 3rd witness. The last witness of the morning was the arresting officer, he tells us about finding the guy hiding in the attic of the house. They found him because he climbed up there through the closet and broke every shelf in there on his way up. Then after lunch the cops finally drag her into court as the last witness of the day and she was really combative with both lawyers. Whatever, people in abusive relationships do all sorts of things that people from the outside looking in don't understand. The next day was more of the same until the defense brings her dad on to testify on the defendants behalf. Turned out he was common law married to the defendants mom so I was sitting in on a real life step-sibling incest situation but not with the hot step siblings like I've heard about on the internet. After all of that we go in and deliberate for an hour or so and find him guilty on most of the charges, there just wasn't enough evidence of him choking her. Afterwards the lawyers and the judge come in and talk to us about what happened that couldn't come out in court. Apparently there was a restraining order against her because she liked to beat him up and she was probably going to get charged with violating that after it was all said and done.

I'm sure there is a legal reason why, but I feel this would be important information to know.
 
  • Like
Reactions: khardbored

CoachHines3

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Oct 29, 2019
3,229
5,495
113
had it a couple months ago. First day we sat there for 8 hours and still didn't get to the selection process. went back the next day and I got out of it with my familys background in law enforcement

but it was grueling to just sit there in a courthouse for 8 hours that first day.

FWIW it was a murder case and the guy was found guilty in about 4 days.
 

Pope

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Feb 7, 2015
2,654
6,077
113
I served on a jury for a guy charged with vehicular homicide. When we finally began deliberations on a Friday afternoon, I was the only juror who voted against a guilty verdict on the vehicular homicide charge. Talk about peer pressure. We reconvened the following week and ended up convicting him on a manslaughter charge.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: khardbored

Latest posts

Help Support Us

Become a patron