Jury Duty

Well, it has happened again. It seems that every other year I am called for jury duty, and I received another letter from the Clerk of Court while I was in Minnesota, telling me I am yet again in the pool of potential jurors for the Southwest District Court for the month of July.

I have never actually been seated on a jury panel. I haven’t even had to go to the court house while they choose jurors for cases, as the cases seem to be settled before the date of the hearing. I also can’t imagine any attorney would want me on a jury, especially if it is a criminal case. It is really hard in a small community to serve on a jury if one is a health care professional. If asked if I know a defendant, I have to say “I am prohibited by State and Federal law from answering that question unless ordered to do so by the court” if I know the person from the work at my agency. That statement is, of course, a tip off that I know them from my work, and everyone in town knows where I work, but that is what our legal department has told us to say.

I expect the same thing will happen this July, and I will wait for a letter from the Clerk of Court telling me that, yet again, I won’t be called for a jury panel in July and that I am still in the pool of potential jurors for the next round of cases if my name is picked at random. That is another problem living in a sparsely populated area-there really is a limited number of people to do things, so the chances of being picked for these typed of things are high.

Would you want to be a judge, a defense attorney, or a prosecutor? What are your favorite movies or books involving court hearings or lawyers?

34 thoughts on “Jury Duty”

  1. I’d be a judge. To me, interpreting the law and applying it fairly and impartially is the most important part of our legal process–i.e., the Rule of Law. It used to be easy until politicians barged in and screwed it up. That’s why the best thing we can do as a nation is to insist that the federal government downsize closer to its Constitutional responsibilities and get the damn lobbyists and lawyers from making the laws. LIMITED federal government, folks. Take away the financial/ego incentives to be a politician and all the bad ones will eventually go away–and I’m talking BOTH parties too. Guilt is shared equally.

    I loved The Verdict too.

    We just enjoyed the first season of The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. Didn’t care for Matthew McConahey as Michael Haller. In my mind, Rob Morrow would have been perfect for the role. The guy they have now is Hispanic, which is fine because he looks more like I imagine Haller to look, but his accent sneaks through now and then, and I get taken out of the story. But Neve Campbell is perfectly cast as “Maggie McFierce.”

    One of the best legal books I ever read was “The Fifth Witness” by Michael Connelly (another Haller book). I seem to like Connelly’s legal thrillers more than Grisham’s, which are also good.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am anticipating the movie about the George Floyd trial when we see the local legal community alternately demonized and lionized. I will bet you somebody is working on this as I type.

    I would not want to be any part of the legal profession. After my experiences in family law as part of several county social service agencies, (Child Protection System, Custody disputes, and Mental Health Commitments) I have been pretty appalled by how this part of the system has evolved. It all needs some attention and some expertise. The judges and lawyers I dealt with loathed these cases because the cases were so unmanageable. They took their frustration out on the social workers. I am sure the lackadaisical manner in which this has all evolved has allowed a nationwide crisis to develop. Sigh.

    I am drawing a blank on other books and movies. Maybe the day will prompt me to come up with something.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One of my favorite grad school professors was a short, rotund man from the Bronx. He spoke in a thick, Bronx accent and with a slight lisp. He had Pickwickian Syndrome ( I challenge Baboons to look it up). He appeared as an expert witness in the Court of Queens Bench in Winnipeg, and got a little flustered and addressed the presiding judge as “Your Majesty ” instead of “My Lord”. The judge was quite amused.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. No, I wouldn’t want to endure the schooling in all that esoteric language required to do anything in the legal professions… my idea of a nightmare.

    My Cousin Vinny is right up there, and To Kill a Mockingbird, but I won’t probably remember many more unless prompted by others. I hate to say it, but as a teen I really enjoyed Perry Mason.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not much of a fan of courtroom dramas.
    Have known four judges in their private lives. None impressive. 55 years ago judges were allowed to do legal work on the side, not court cases. He handled purchase of our first house. He knew of me, even smaller town than Dickinson, and lectured me for 20 minutes about teaching and finances before he completed transaction. I am sure that came from my semi-poverty background.
    His kids loved me as a teacher and play director.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Tried to have coffee on patio. Winds are hitting 40 mph. Local broadcaster says 60th day of high winds since March first.
    My son was sent a notice for jury duty. They called him to say he had not completed the form they sent. He did not get it. They sent it to the wrong address. Very wrong. So he will be called for next session.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My wife was called for a two week stint in criminal court in Hennepin then again in Ramsey County. Among questions defense attorneys asked her was if she had any relatives who were police. Her answer was “yes, four.” She never served.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I don’t think I would make a good lawyer or a judge. Seems like the legal profession is actually laced with money and I’m not sure they’re always about fairness and equity. I still have those rose-colored glasses and I’ve found it hard to tint them any other way so I’d probably be a huge failure in the legal profession.

    I would have to say, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is my favorite legal story.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. OT: My friends and I went to the Jackson Browne concert at Ledge Amphitheater in Waite Park on Tuesday. It was an incredible show. We had a great time even though it was so hot. We left St. Peter at 10 a.m. and stopped for lunch in Maple Grove at the Lotus for Vietnamese. I had a spring roll and pho. I’ve had better spring rolls but the pho was very good. Then we went to St. Cloud and walked in the Munsinger Clemens Gardens. The Clemens Gardens are formal gardens with lots of sun, statues and fountains, like English gardens. The Munsinger Gardens are natural, with mature trees, shade, and a beautiful trail right next to the river. We should have walked in Clemens Gardens first then cooled off in Munsinger Gardens but we didn’t. It was really sunny and hot in Clemens Gardens. I really don’t tolerate that kind of heat and humidity well. After the gardens we went to Granite City Brewery but they were so full and busy that our reservations were barely honored. We got seated outside. We never did get our food. The concert started at 7 and we still hadn’t received our meals at 6:30. We still had to drive in lots of traffic to the amphitheater and wait in long lines of cars with seven of us crammed into a Subaru Outback. We were a half hour late for the show – he started promptly at 7 – but we saw most of it. He did two encores, ending with The Load-out/Stay. The back-up singers he has are absolutely amazing. The sound was perfect and the show was incredible. It started to cool off around 8 or 8:30 but the heat had taken its toll on me by then. On the way home, my friend’s GPS system directed her on county roads from St. Cloud to St. Peter. Not the route I would have chosen but she relies on her GPS. We went through Howard Lake around midnight! I didn’t get home until after 2 a.m., exhausted and sweaty. I had a lot on my calendar yesterday and I was so tired. I’m starting to recover today. A memorable day!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Afternoon –
    Met tim today; he got eggs and the farm tour.

    I don’t think I want to part of the legal system either.
    beyond that… I can’t think of anything to offer. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  11. As part of my role on a regulatory board, I Have to send out letters and emails in my name that have been crafted in part by our board attorney. Boy, do I sound smart in those documents!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I really enjoy Boston Legal as a TV series. When I was in high school, I enjoyed Paul Newman in The Verdict. I have the complete series of Rumpole of the Bailey but haven’t started it yet but Leo McKern was masterful in everything he did. I think my favorite ‘law-based’ film would have to be A Fish Called Wanda.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Just finished JoJo Moyes’ book, in audiobook form, The Giver of Stars. Generally the book was OK, but there is a murder trial in the book, and the author doesn’t seem to know anything about legal proceedings. The defense calls a witness at the last minute, nice for dramatic effect, but seems to violate discovery rules. No one knows what the witness is going to say, even the defense attorney. And there is never a discussion of the defendant being offered a plea deal, even though the murder charge is really a stretch by any definition, should have been manslaughter at most. The narrator of the audiobook was really good, switching quite effortlessly between southern and British accents as required. Still, it bothers me when authors are sloppy on their research.

    Liked by 4 people

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