I didn't think my B.S.
in Criminal Justice
would come in handy on E2, but this topic proves me wrong.
The first two points BugDozer raised usually do work well. Here are two others and suggestions on making them work for you:
- Be the victim of a felony or know someone who has been -- The survey you fill out when you get a jury duty notice will ask if you or someone you know has been the victim of a felony. It doesn't matter if it was your sister's friend's cousin, if you mention that you or someone you know has been the victim of a felony, it can get you dismissed.
- Be a knowledgeable, skeptical, and/or independent thinker -- Nothing will get you dismissed from jury duty quite as quickly as saying "I have a B.S. in Criminal Justice". This seems odd, but the lawyers on both sides don't want a juror who knows too much or who will question what they're told. It makes their job more challenging, and could lead to a hung jury. Also, some defense lawyers assume that people in the Criminal Justice field will convict anybody regardless of the evidence. If you don't work in the field, think: Do you have a relative or friend who is a police officer? In jail? Bring it up. Do you know a thing or two about legal issues? Can you act overly confident and downright stubborn about your legal expertise? Do it. The smarter and more skeptical you seem, the less likely you are to be picked. The prosecution and the defense want a juror who can be easily swayed and is a blank slate on legal matters. I have known jurors who have answered the question "Why did you find the defendant guilty?" with frightenly stupid answers such as "That prosecutor seems like such a nice man." and "That prosecutor was such a nice, pretty young lady." One juror even said "That lawyer over there dresses awfully nice." A suit!? You send a man to jail over the quality of a prosecuting attorney's suit!?
I'd like to tell you all not to avoid jury duty
, because we in the Criminal Justice profession want intelligent people on juries. But we don't decide who gets picked for juries, lawyers
do. A lawyer wants to win their case, whether it be on the quality of the evidence
or because they had the better outfits. Morons
are easily persuaded. The lawyers don't want a hung jury caused by a retired sheriff who knows how unreliable eyewitness testimony
can be, and is unwilling to convict someone based on that kind of evidence alone. They don't want a proudly skeptical
juror who will question everything they claim and slow things down. It's inconvenient. We wouldn't want a little thing like independent thought getting in the way of justice
most swift, now would we?