Tuesday, January 13, 2004
One day and done: After sitting in Dept. 31 of the Superior Court in Vista, Calif., for eight hours I was unceremoniously dismissed from jury duty without answering a single question during voir dire. They rounded up 60 of us for a civil case that was anticipated to last about a month. The case involved, as far as the judge explained to us, lawsuits and countersuits regarding the sale of 10 jet airplanes valued at about $50 million each.
A few things I observed:
During the questioning of Juror #4 the judge spent 15-20 minutes trying to gauge the depth of the woman's various "issues." Look, you've got 60 potential jurors, there's no reason to torture all of us by continuing to question this angst-ridden woman.
Is it customary to ask for 60 jurors when you're only going to seat 12 jurors and three alternates? Only 28 were even questioned by the judge and lawyers. You've given each side 8 pre-emptory challenges, did you really think it was possible that even get to the last 15-20 jurors? It's not like this was a high-profile criminal case.
The vast majority of the pre-emptory challenges were used to get rid of men. The final jury composition was 10 women, two men. The alternates were two women and one man. It seemed that anyone who showed evidence of education got the boot.
No more jury duty for one year for me.