Index for Insanity, Inc.
The way the governement treats people with respect to jury duty is simply amazing. I have to wonder what the effect is on jury members when they get treated so badly, not to mention being lied to, by the "Justice" system.
It starts when you get the jury summons. The summons claims all sorts of bad things will happen if you don't return the summons. There is a slight problem with those threats since the summons does not seem to be proper service and there is absolutely no proof that the person ever received it. Making such threats when there was not proper service seems to be an outright lie to me and if the government is lying to potential jury members, what else are they lying about? It could easily be thrown away as junk mail or lost in the mail and if that happens how to you think that the person would feel if they got hauled into court to fined for the failure of the government to do the right thing?
Why is it that they can not even pay for the return postage? That is just the start of the insulting money issues. I have to wonder why they pay anything since the amount is so low and insulting. For example, the mileage is only paid one way. Do they think that the person does not need to get home? They also only pay $0.15/mile, which is far less than the IRS allows for. What is with the $5/day? That is not minimum wage, not even close to it. The last jury summons I received said that they would not pay anything for the first day. I guess they feel that it does not cost anything to get there the first day.
It used to be that you could get out of jury duty for many reasons, but recently I have heard that they just don't care anymore. Consider a woman who has children to care for. This used to be a valid reason for delaying jury duty or getting out of it, but not anymore. In such a case, the woman most likely does not have a daycare provider since it is normally not needed. Trying to find someone to take care of her children on short notice, especially someone you trust, can be very difficult. Add to that the cost will far exceed $5/day, so it can become a financial hardship.
Another aspect is that they don't seem to care how far you have to drive. There is a local court close to where I live, yet the jury summons is typically for a court over 30 miles away. With the cost of gas being what it is today, it can get very expensive. While it is not an issue in my case, there are people who don't drive or really don't like to drive and making them go that far can be a serious hardship.
It also seems that the government does not care what kind of hardship they place on people. While the demands vary from court to court and also seems to change over time, it goes to show that the courts really don't respect people. One time I was called for jury duty I was told that I had to call by 11am and then get to the court by 1pm. Of course it was not the closest court and there was barely enough time to get there in the time period, not to mention getting lunch. With this type of service it is impossible to carpool since you have to be able to drive to the court. In other cases you can call the night before, but that can cause issues with carpooling too.
In Ventura they tend to have you only have to show up once, but in Los Angeles they seem to like people to waste there time and come in for a whole week or call for two weeks.
After all that, if you do get called in for jury duty, there are many people who will most likely never serve because their jobs and education show that they think (logic) rather than being able to be swayed by emotion. I fall into that category, so I feel that it is a far more serious waste of time. I would not mind serving on a jury as I think that it is your civil duty, but I don't like being treated badly, my time being wasted and then not even being on a jury. I will have to say after all I have seen with jury duty, as well as how people are treated in traffic court (another web page), that if they treat the innocent jury members this badly, then what kind of treatment do you think the accused person is going to get?
After a recent, brief, discussion with a group I am involved with, I decided to update this.
Somehow the discussion came around to jury duty. I mentioned that if you really wanted to get tossed from the jury you just needed to mention "jury nullification". This annoyed a person who came to this country and became a citizen. He said that he thought that the jury system was important and that people should serve on the jury. He was offended about my comment.
I do agree that juries are important, but I also think that knowledge is even more important and that we, the citizens, need to speak up and correct problems. The jury system is not perfect, to say the least. Knowledge is important, yet most people who serve on a jury do not know the complete job they are supposed to do, which is to also judge the law which the person is accused of. While it seems clear today, some of the laws of the 60s which segregated people on race are an example of laws which needs to be rejected by a jury. The government does not want the people on the jury to know this since it gives the people too much power, thereby taking the power away from those in government, but the power should belong to the people.
For more information see:
or the home page:
You can also do a web search of "jury nullification" or "fully informed jury". Knowledge is key and it is important for you to know your rights, responsibility and duties as a citizens and as a member of a jury.
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