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Jetgirl8 (Aerospace) (OP)
27 Mar 12 12:05
I have been called twice in 2 years. Officially, you can only duck out if called repeatedly within the same year, but until I lived here I never received a summons at all. It actually seems that the number of folks in my office who receive a jury summons is way above normal - one gent has been called 3 times in 9 years (I seem to be on track to beat that). First time I was called, I was happy to perform my civic duty. The timing of this most recent notice could not have been worse, so I've postponed until August, but based on the experience the first time around I'm just hoping it's not too much a waste of my time.

Just curious about other's experiences. Is this really that outside the norm?  

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

msquared48 (Structural)
27 Mar 12 12:08
In 45 years of eligibility, I have never been called.  I guess either I don't exist, or I'm a permanent peremptory challenge.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

ctopher (Mechanical)
27 Mar 12 12:18
I have been called twice in the past year, ducked out for financial reasons.
I've been in the box twice 20 years ago, hated it.

SolidWorks 11
ctopher's home
SolidWorks Legion

jmw (Industrial)
27 Mar 12 12:32
I was called once.
We spent most of our time in the jury room because of legal points being argued between the defence and prosecution juries before the judge.
In our case it was a gang of burglars who had robbed an old lady. The defence wanted to plead one of their clients guilty to a much lesser charge of receiving rather than burglary on the grounds that he didn't enter the property, he just stood outside the window and took things that were passed to him.
Yes, it appears there is no shame among the sharks.
They could have saved a lot of time letting us hand in a verdict right away, based on this, instead of wanting to go the full distance on this defence.
But bad as we may have been as a jury we were spared the 12 Just men routine by the judge agreeing to a mistrial (I think the defence may have read the juror's body language even before we got anywhere).
One thing we did agree on was the poor showing by the police witness. We rather expected some one a little more professional and articulate but he was probably expecting, as I suspect is the norm in these cases, and got, claims of police corruption and stitch ups and hence was very careful what he said and didn't say.
Which was why one of them wanted to chance his arm with guilty to receiving. That and the fact they were all caught, in possession, in their van on the M25 10 minutes from the scene.  




JoeChem (Chemical)
27 Mar 12 15:33
I have been called 5 or 6 times over the last 20 years.

I the area where I live any time you involved in a motor vehicle episode where a ticket is issued (even a parking violation) you can bet a jury summons is on the way.

I went the first time - complete waste of 4 days.

Since then I ignore the summons.  The paperwork looks official but there is no way to determine if you actually received it.  So long as it is not summons for a grand jury then in the circular file it goes.
patprimmer (Publican)
27 Mar 12 16:45
I got called twice in about 4 years. First was an attempted murder case that took 3 days. Second was the Lionel Murphy case and was expected to take 3 months. Yes 3 months. The judge was very lenient re excuses due to the time expected. I had a business trip to Europe booked foe two weeks time so I was excused. I got divorced a year later and have never been called since. I don't know why as it was over 20 years ago. Oh. Lionel Murphy was our Attorney General and was charged with corruption. I would really have loved to be a fly on that wall, but 3 months out of work!

See FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on use of eng-tips by professional engineers &
for site rules

KENAT (Mechanical)
27 Mar 12 16:48
My brother in law got called in on a fraud case in the UK.  It was meant to be 'expedited' using some new process - so that it would be done in 6 months.

In practice it dragged on for about 9 months though with some chunks of 'time off'.

Had a not insignificant impact on his career.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Forum Policies (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

zdas04 (Mechanical)
27 Mar 12 17:17
I was called in January.  The way they do it here is that you are on-call for a month.  4-8 times during the month you have to show up for voir dire and if you get picked you're on the jury.  They use a questionnaire to pre-select the jury pool they really want then they "randomly" assign juror numbers.  Every time I had to go in, my juror number was above 40 (out of 50).  No one with a number higher than 20 got on any of the juries.  I guess I answered the questionnaire correctly.  A lawyer friend of mine says that he won't ever pick an engineer, too hard to sell the bleeding heart BS.  It was still a pain to not be able to schedule ANYTHING for an entire month.  

My wife has been called for next month so 1/6 of the year we're stuck in town.  Her summons said that if she had been on a jury in the last 24 months she could be excused--she was last in the pool in February 2010 and 26 months doesn't count.  She's livid and plans to carry her gun on her hip into the courthouse (she has a concealed carry permit).  She figures that will brand her as a wacko and get her off.  She is a bit of a wacko, but I bet it won't work.

casseopeia (Structural)
27 Mar 12 19:38
Been spared jury duty my whole life.  For one thing I've moved too much.  When I've been called, the minute they find out I have testified in court on numerous cases as an expert witness, I'm dismissed.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

SomptingGuy (Automotive)
27 Mar 12 20:24
I got a summons a couple of years ago. It totally wrecked any planning, since they wanted me to be available every day for a couple of weeks, but not necessarily required. So it was daily phone calls. I was actually looking forward to it at the start, but glad when it was over. Never needed to go to the court once in the end.

- Steve

patprimmer (Publican)
28 Mar 12 2:21
On the case I served on, I actually found it interesting for the 3 days and it was no significant impact on my business. Three months would have caused severe hardship and got real boring real quick I think.

The scary part was the "quality of at least 3 other members

See FAQ731-376: Forum Policies for tips on use of eng-tips by professional engineers &
for site rules

LSpark (Electrical)
28 Mar 12 3:24
I'd be pretty ticked off to be called twice in 2 years.  I've never been called in the 20 years I've been eligible and I don't know anyone who has been called more than once (UK based).
peppinu (Automotive)
28 Mar 12 6:08
Thank God I have never been called.
I like to keep it like that till the rest of my life.
What is the criteria they use to summon you?

Did I understand you well? So if you are a "Law breaker" you are eligible to be a jury. Is this one way of making you pay back?
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
28 Mar 12 6:14
Can't speak for other countries, but in England/Wales we're told it's a random selection from the electoral register. Not easy to get out of either without a sensible reason.

- Steve

PEDARRIN2 (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 7:18
I was picked twice within a couple months.  But that was due to one being a county court case (robbery) and the other being a federal court case (assault by dog).  I was told it was two different pools.  I was also told that in the federal cases, the pool gets reshuffled every 4 years so it is conceivable to be picked twice with very little time in between.

The defense lawyer asked me if, being an engineer, if I could make a decision based upon reasonable doubt, without everything being black and white.  

I got picked and when it came time for deliberations, I made them give me the legal definitions of at least 10 terms that were used in the case.  The other jurors didn't like it, but it helped me to get to "reasonable doubt".
MadMango (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 7:31
I lived in Los Angeles, a population of nearly 10 million people.  Over the 13yrs there, I had received a jury summons 6 times.  I actually only attended jury duty once.  The first 3 times, I just continued to call-in until I was no longer needed.  The other 3 times I had to actually take time off and go to the courthouse.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376: Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

monkeydog (Aerospace)
28 Mar 12 8:51
I have served on two juries.  The second one was an interesting jury selection process.
When in the jury box for selection;
One guy had served time in prision, when asked if he could send someone to prison, he said he could not do that to anyone because of his experience.
Another guy when asked if he could be fair to the defendant if he had a record. He responded "once a skunk, always a skunk".  It seemed a bit tense in the jury box for a while.
Both were excused.

But whatever you do, don't do what this lady did:
DRWeig (Electrical)
28 Mar 12 10:11
I've never been called -- 33 years of luck thus far.

Good on ya,

Goober Dave

Haven't see the forum policies?  Do so now: Forum Policies

Jetgirl8 (Aerospace) (OP)
28 Mar 12 10:21
Well, who knows what waits for me in August. Last time it was just a 2 week disruption - I could only make plans a day at a time (call in every night at 5 to find out what next - hurry up and wait!) I hope it's just a week or two of calling in and/or appearing on the day required. Had one lady in the office sit for a trial for a month (!) only to have it dismissed just before being turned over to the jury. Haven't had any tickets recently and really don't understand the 'criteria' - I just know it seems to really target the folks in my office.

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

btrueblood (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 14:28
Called several times in 20 years.  First time, some 20 years ago or so, had to go downtown to the county courthouse and sit in a jury room for 8 hrs, 5 days/week.  Selected for jury at day 2, which lasted a week (assault with a deadly weapon, we reached a conviction after 3 days of deliberation). Like Pat, it was interesting, and eye-opening as to what a jury of my "peers" might be like; the people who used to be able to find the time for jury duty are not always people of...normal abilities let's say.

Since then, the vehicle liscensing database was opened up for jury calls, which expanded the base of valid data from which to pull jury summons.  Also, the jury duty has changed to 3 days in the jury room, and you need to prove hardship to get dismissed (letter from your boss not good enough).  Several calls since then, never more than a few days before being dismissed.

Selected to a jury 2nd time a few years back, for a product liability suit - the defense(? maybe is was the plaintiff?) lawyer had already rejected several jurists from a pool of some 50, and used up his preemptive dismissals.  Tried to have me dismissed because I was an engineer and might have knowledge uncommon to a layperson, judge overruled, and we all heard a stern lecture to that lawyer about wasting people's time.  After we had been selected, and sat in jury box, sworn in etc., the judge immediately dismissed us - and 15 minutes later we were dismissed completely, as the dispute was settled.
jmadd (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 15:24
I've been called once, had to spend a day at the court house, but didn't get selected for the jury.

Once, a few years ago, enough people in my town blew off their jury summons, that the court didn't have enough individuals to fill the jury box.  They sent the police into the post office, and told everyone there that they'd been selected for jury duty, and to follow them to the court house.  I think that the repercussions for those that hadn't appeared for their jury duty was enough that I will always take it seriously!
dwallace1971 (Aerospace)
28 Mar 12 15:41
I had heard that lawyers weren't particularly fond of having engineers and other analytical types on their juries.  As I've never been summoned, I have no first-hand knowledge, nor have I seen any other evidence to support that "fact".  It's interesting to note, from some of the posts above, that there does seem to be a little truth there.

"On the human scale, the laws of Newtonian Physics are non-negotiable"

MadMango (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 16:09
Pulling the Engineer Card doesn't always work.  I tried, but was still selected by the prosecutor.  Then when we were down to 50 jurors (trying to get down to 12 +12 alternates) the prosecutor asked me, "Would you be able to consider my client innocent until this court found him guilty?"  I replied, "I know I am supposed to, but just look at him..."  I was still selected.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376: Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

StevenHPerry (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 16:14
An easy way to be excused should be to play up your engineering background (I assume, based on where we're discussing this).  Lawyers generally don't like logical people who can evaluate situations objectively against set criteria.

I should have known what my profession would be when I was dismissed from the jury of my 5th grade mock-trial exercise for looking something up in a dictionary.

- Steve Perry
This post is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.  It is offered with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering engineering or other professional service.  If you need help, get help, and PAY FOR IT.

MintJulep (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 16:44
Called to the courthouse twice in nearly 30 years of eligibility.

Had to go for two days on one occasion, and only one on the other.

Didn't even get interviewed by the lawyers.
ctopher (Mechanical)
28 Mar 12 17:39
I waited all day once, then called as jury number 12.
The lawyers took their time asking each of us questions.
I was the last.
They asked me if I had ever been a cop, or any family members.
I said my dad was a cop.
The lawyers and judge got mad at me and asked why I didn't say this earlier. I told them I was never asked! I was sent home immediately.
Turns out someone was suing the PD.

SolidWorks 11
ctopher's home
SolidWorks Legion

zelgar (Civil/Environmental)
29 Mar 12 11:30
Been called twice in the last 5 years.  First was a federal case, for a drug trial (possession of marijuana).  When questioned by the attorneys about the case (and a previous potential juror indicated that the use marijuana is allowed in some States for medical reasons) I indicated that it is currently illegal based on the current law and I would have to evaluate the case based on the current law.  Add to the fact that I'm an Engineer for a State agency and I was not selected.

My other experience was a local trial.  It was an assult case. I was the first juror selected and the trial only lasted two days.  I felt like a lot of the people involved (attorneys on both sides and the police) did not do a good job.  There was a lot of information I wanted to know, but the questions weren't asked or wasn't available (don't expect a CSI level of review for a minor case).  Additionally, trying to determine if the witnesses are telling the truth, especially when they've contradicted themselves with a signed statement was not my idea of fun.

Fisch88 (Chemical)
29 Mar 12 23:49
Been called twice in 27 eligible years.  The first time (1990), I was in the process of moving out of state, so I did not have to appear in court.  The second time (2009) I was selected and in court for a week.  It was interesting, and everything worked out with my employer - no problems with performing my duty.   
btrueblood (Mechanical)
2 Apr 12 11:44
Funny...on Friday the wife (who has never been called in 20+ years of living with me at the same address) got her summons in the mail.  The nice thing is, the county courts have multiple venues, and hers is within a 10-minute commute with free parking (rather than downtown, where the parking costs more than the remuneration).
nutengineer (Structural)
3 Apr 12 18:14
Went to serve carrying a paperback - the title was "The Runaway Jury" by John Grisham.  Held it very clearly in front of me as I was getting ready to be interrogated by the lawyers.

Both saw it, rolled their eyes and I was "gone"!!!
brandonbw (Civil/Environmental)
4 Apr 12 8:04
The very first time I had to go in, was during an awful deadline.  Not only was I going into work before and after the jury, but I said I hated lawyers and was going to still be working no matter what.  Guess what, I was put on a jury that went further than normal.  Totally awful, and totally stupid.  After that, I told every single person if you have your stuff decided by a jury, good luck, as you will lose.  I was hit by people in there, I didn't agree.  And what happened?  The person who won, who should have had no reason to win.  Not only will you lose time doing this, but you will be driven crazy by your supposed peers.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil Engineer and Structural Engineer

JedClampett (Structural)
11 Apr 12 12:00
In my experience, in Maricopa County, Arizona you get called pretty much when your eligible (every 18 months). There's apparently a lot of jury trials, between federal, county and municipal. But the rule is, "One day, one trial." So if you're not picked the first day, you're done for another 18 months.
Our company has had some interesting issues with Jury Duty. For a while, they used to reimburse us for the entire trial, no matter how long it took. Then they realized that we were being abused. The lawyers and judges liked people on juries that could serve without losing any pay. So we were picked for a lot of long trials. After that our policy changed to one week of pay.
Anyway, it seems that the same people are being called again and again. There must be a pretty limited list.
dbooker630 (Materials)
18 Apr 12 9:25
I've been called twice in 30+ years of eligibility and served once. It was on an arson case where accelerant was clearly used (in my opinion). Even though I told the attorney that I worked with chemicals every day as a metallurgist I was not dismissed. The other interesting thing about the jury makeup was that a sitting judge was also called and she was not dismissed either. The case ended in a 10-2 mistrial which was disappointing but the 10 of us in favor of a conviction told the prosecutor to retry this case based on the evidence.
TenPenny (Mechanical)
18 Apr 12 14:38
I've never been called, but my father served on 2 juries for murder trials.  He said it was very interesting.

There was a case here (Eastern Canada) a couple of years ago where not enough jurors showed up for selection, so the judge sent the sherrif out with a city bus to the nearby mall, and rounded up a random collection of people, which, apparently, is allowed.

Can you imagine, you're happily walking through the mall, having bought a new shirt, and the next thing you know, the sherrif has you rounded up for jury selection?
TD2K (Chemical)
24 Apr 12 1:24
I was called likely close to 10 years ago, got out of it with a phone call as I wasn't a citizen.  It's been just over 2 years since I got my citizenship so we'll see.

I did stop by the courthouse once to find out if I had to get myself off some 'not eligible' list since I was now 'eligible' and was told it wasn't necessary.  They'd find me if they needed me.
TenPenny (Mechanical)
24 Apr 12 7:54
Two years ago, one of my co-workers was called for a murder trial, she really didn't want to be on the jury, as it was a gory murder (guy killed on the sidewalk with a samurai sword).  As it happened, the victim was the son-in-law of one of the partners in our firm, so she was easily excused.

Drug money + strippers + home invasion + samurai sword = mess.
peppinu (Automotive)
25 Apr 12 7:46
rmw (Mechanical)
18 May 12 22:40
Managed to live to age 60 without ever being called - been called up twice since including earlier this week. Wasn't picked, just wasted the major part of a whole day, but it was good to get out of the office for a bit.

lacajun (Electrical)
27 May 12 23:45
I'd never been summoned until moving to Colorado. I've been summoned twice here. The first time I was not selected. I have to report at noon this Tuesday for the US District Court. I've been a registered voter for 34 years and finally got caught.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

lacajun (Electrical)
29 May 12 18:56
I was not selected today. What a relief! Not that I mind serving but it's not a good time for me. I was surprised at some of the people they retained. One young man said he didn't understand what they were talking about and probably wouldn't understand even if they explained it to him. He was selected. He's going to have an interesting few days. smile

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC

StressGuy (Mechanical)
1 Jun 12 9:55
Been called four times in the last twenty years, but never served. My project lead just served on a jury for a week back at the beginning of the year. Around here, we also labor under the myth that engineers don't get picked for juries. Yet, it doesn't seem to apply in reality as much as we'd like.

Edward L. Klein
Pipe Stress Engineer
Houston, Texas

"All the world is a Spring"

All opinions expressed here are my own and not my company's.

Jetgirl8 (Aerospace) (OP)
1 Jun 12 10:24
My husband just got a jury duty summons for June 26th. His is for a more local jurisdiction and it's likely he won't even have to show up at all.

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

racookpe1978 (Nuclear)
20 Jun 12 23:03
Wear a dress shirt, dress pants (not just kakii's or the like) and a tie.

You won't get picked because the defense wants people they can "emotionally" convince. The defense lawyer will dismiss you. On Monday morning, some 200 were in the jury pool. Men T-shirts, men & women in jeans, women not dressed up? Immediately grabbed.

On Tuesday, a bunch of others had picked up on the "system"

By Wednesday, the whole remaining pool of some 60 were (relatively) formally dressed. Four sets of lawyers stepped in the door, looked around at the available jurors, and plead guilty. No more trials that week = we were dismissed.
GregLocock (Automotive)
21 Jun 12 0:58
Glad to see one's civic responsibility sacrificed to personal convenience.


Greg Locock

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BJC (Electrical)
21 Jun 12 14:49
You can ask that as a juror do you get to ask questions. Some courts allow that and the questions have to be written.
If questions are not allowed you can say "OK everybody walks-there not guilty." My feeling is that the jury has the ultimate responsibility.

The ohter way to get off is register as a prohibitionist or something. Jury selection here comes off voter rolls - some people get fileterd off.
ctopher (Mechanical)
21 Jun 12 14:58
Jury selection, as least here in Calif, is based on SSN, drivers license, or perm resident.
A lot of people think it's based only on voter registration, it's not.

SolidWorks 11
ctopher's home
SolidWorks Legion

GrandpaDave (Aerospace)
23 Jun 12 13:38
Here's my experience while living and working in Orlando, Florida for 23 years. During those years I was only called twice. The first time I sit around for two days without being called then released. The second time was more interesting. I was actually called for a case. I can't remember what it was about but when they were interviewing folks and they got to me I told them I was an engineer. The attorney for the defense didn't like engineer because his dad was an engineer so I was immediately rejected. I enjoyed doing my civic duty, but if I not going to be selected just for being a logical thinking engineer it would be nice to know this up front. --- Grandpa bigsmile
ivymike (Mechanical)
3 Jul 12 20:22
I was recently called for the first time... I was excited to do it but unfortunately I got an argument with the prosecutor over whether or not a right to preemptive self defense existed in texas... It would've been convenient for him had it not. I didn't get selected.
boottmills (Mechanical)
5 Jul 12 8:24
I've yet to be called for Jury Duty...but I know some folks who have been called more than twice. I'd be interested in it if only for the experience, but it seems that being an Engineer would limit the opportunity from some of the posts I have read.


Jetgirl8 (Aerospace) (OP)
10 Jul 12 18:43
Husband just got called in. He sat through the jury selection process but was dismissed when they got 12 + an extra before "randomly" calling him up for the questioning/interview process. My summons for August just arrived (I had to delay back in April)... so we'll see how it goes.

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

Jetgirl8 (Aerospace) (OP)
16 Aug 12 18:32
Well, I kept calling in last week... and had to show on Thursday. Got picked to sit on a jury Friday. Trial lasted 3 days. Overall, I would say I had a good and informative experience. Shame I missed out on almost 5 full days of work... we'll see how long it takes to get called again!

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low

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