If anyone ever gives you tips on how to get out of jury duty, I hope that you set them straight, nicely of course, and tell them that serving on a jury is our second most important civic duty, second only to our responsibility of voting.
I went through the process, which is a rather interesting one I might ad, and not boring and time-wasting like most people tend to label jury duty. I was one of the lucky 12 who were left after the eliminations from the lawyer’s Voir Dire process. We spent two and a half days listening to evidence, testimony, and arguments from both sides. i will obviously not type any names here, but the case was basically a lawsuit about a car wreck, where one party had a flashing yellow light, and the other party had a flashing red light, wherin the defendant ran the flashing red light and hit the plaintiff’s car. During the entire trial, there was no question in anyone’s mind that the defendant was actually guilty of causing the wreck. We accepted that after 5 minutes, and it was not really a factor for us to decide since it was obvious. Our duty was to decide how much to award the plaintiff for pain and suffering both in the past and in the future.
To make a long story short, we ended up awarding about 10% of what the plaintiff was requesting, because the requested amount was punitive and inflammatory, and to be awarded that full amount would have been unreasonable. So, overall it was a very interesting process that I enjoyed. The deliberations we carried out in the Jury room was probably my favorite part, and I was chosen as the foreman (head juror). As the foreman I made sire everyone on the jury was heard, and all opinions were as valid as the rest and accounted for. We carried the ruling on a 10 over 12 juror agreement, with 2 jurors disagreeing on the final ruling. One juror thought we gave to little and wanted to award more, and one juror wanted to award nothing at all, however ten jurors is all that is required in civil matters. In criminal cases, the vote must be unanimous.
I encourage anyone who does not have a real or pressing exemption, to serve their jury duty. It is a privileged and an honor, in my opinion to be chosen to serve. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and believe that the entire process is a much more solid and sound basis for a ruling than a single judge or fact finding magistrate making the call. We decided someone’s future, actually the financial future of two people, both the defendant and the plaintiff. What we decided on had to be just, fair and reasonable based on the preponderance of the evidence we chose to accept. Overall, I am glad I served, and you should too.