Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"

I received my jury duty notice this morning and was excused this afternoon. There are few room-clearing words like "Epilepsy," for whatever reason; I guess it's the thought of all those girls throwing fits in the 1692 Salem witch trials.

How would I have done on a jury? Hard to say. I distrust lawyers, no more so than when they are in a trial. They have their agendas relative to proving or disproving, and are quite capable of juggling the facts, or such facts as are made known to the jury.

So there they are: a dozen people listening to two people who are trying to convince them that only one is telling the truth. When the twelve finally come to a decision, they will exit the courtroom and, possibly, learn salient facts that were withheld from them. In a recent outcome that left the public baffled, a member of the jury said, "Had all the information been presented to us, we would have come to a different decision; but it wasn't. We were kept in the dark about some facts you knew that would have changed our minds."

In recent years, jury trials end with tv cameras and reporters, but traditionally it has always begun with a court official announcing the arrival of the judge by intoning, "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!" It's a simple slurring of "All Rise! All Rise! All Rise!"

3 Comments:

Anonymous ruthc said...

I've been on a jury, and enjoyed the experience. I think I'm fair, and can separate facts from emotion.

But I've been very nervous I'd be called for a big trial coming up shortly. Eight hundred summons were sent in an attempt to get one impartial jury!
There's one case I'd rather follow via the news media than the jury box.

August 17, 2006 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just missed the first Hugo trial at the beginning of this year.

I have been picked for jury duty twice. The first time was a malpractice case which was very draining and lasted five (5) days.
This time it was an assualt case. We, the jury, never actually heard the assult case. It was plea bargainned by the time we came back from lunch. Seems most cases never actually go to trial. The jury room was packed all day Monday. I saw more people leave the jury room only to return an hour later because the cases were settled at the last minute. At the end of the day, they decide that only 100 people were needed to return for the rest of the week. Apparently, names are picked randomly by computer.

I would have liked to serve again. I am one of the lucky ones who gets a full salary to serve on jury duty.

August 17, 2006 10:08 PM  
Blogger Reading Reader said...

We have something in common. I got excused from jury duty this month, but it took two weeks for the court to reply to my request. With all the court actions here, it seems that I get called to jury duty very often...but I have never been picked to serve. I'm kind of glad about that, as I'm nervous enough the way it is.

August 18, 2006 10:55 AM  

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