I have jury duty today. I seem to get summoned quite often but never get chosen to sit on one. I would totally love to sit on a jury. Being a lawyer for more of my life than not, I am super curious about the true inner workings of the group of folks in that room. I always show up for my day on the venire and I stay until they tell me to go home.
This is Martin Luther King, Jr. week and he fought for civil rights for the people of his race but I’ve also been a victim of a violation of my civil rights. There was one occasion that I was in jury selection and I knew I was on the jury unless I was stricken. There is a secret about jury selection here in my town that being an insider and someone who has picked many a jury, I know and I KNEW I was on that jury. There was no way I wasn’t unless one of the lawyers struck me for cause or used me as one of their free strikes.
When the final jury was chosen, I wasn’t on it. I knew both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer and I knew one or the other could have struck me merely because I’m a lawyer, too and sometimes, they prefer non-lawyers on the jury. There’s a lot of science and gut feeling in chosing the right people for your panel.
So, about two weeks after that, I saw one of the lawyers and asked him who struck me as I was curious. He said they both wanted me on the jury. They both fought to have me on there. He wanted me as I did defense work and the other guy wanted me because we’d gone up against each other before and he knew I knew the law. The judge struck me. The judge told them they couldn’t have me on their jury. That really made my blood boil. I’m not a convicted felon and I have the civil right to serve on a jury. So, this judge violated my civil rights.
Did I confront him? No. He was the chief judge and I’m not a dummy. I didn’t want to make an enemy out of him and I know that would’ve been the result of a confrontation. He’s now retired so we’ll see if I get picked today. Wish me luck!