Captain’s Log   5,761

It’s been a few days.  I’ve been swamped.  No need for a litany of things, but what I really did NOT want to see in the mailbox yesterday was this.

jury summons

Oh, no no no no no no no no!

Not only is this annoying and inconvenient, they want me to report the day after I get back from the Super Bowl party in Las Vegas!  I don’t think so.  I wish it was easy to do jury duty, but I don’t get paid time off to serve.  If I go and do jury duty, I am on my own time.  Small businesses cannot afford to have people out sitting in a courtroom.  It’s a bad system.  I think it should be mandatory and I think the state should pay the employer $150 a day for each employee who is out on jury duty.  Like that will ever happen.

So I sign off on the form and say I will experience financial hardship if I go.  It’s not really true, but it’s the best excuse they offer.  I don’t see a box titled Just Returning From a Vegas Party and Will Be Too Tired.    My former boss at the museum tried to get me out of it once by claiming I was going to be the only senior staff working during that time and the museum would have to close if I went.  Big deal.  They didn’t care.  I had to go.  

I was never summoned for jury duty when I lived in Minnesota.  Not once.  I have been summoned at least 10 times since I moved to California.  I served on a jury the very first time I was called.  So much for people telling me I would never be seated.  I spent six days in a courtroom presided over by Judge Mudd, a direct relative of the famous Dr. Samuel Mudd who was convicted and imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the Lincoln assassination.  

dr. mudd

Did he or didn’t he?  I just know he should have buttoned his vest better for the photo.

judge mudd

Judge Mudd, tough as nails.

Judge Mudd presided over the famous Westerfield trial here in San Diego.  Westerfield was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 7-year-old Danielle Van Dam in 2002. The trial attracted nationwide attention.

As much as I would like to do my civic duty, I cannot.  Many people have the same challenge.  And that is why a jury of “peers” is often composed a unemployed crazy cat ladies who carry troll dolls in their purses.  It’s a broken system.  Not much I can do.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

24 responses to “Summoned

  1. Bex

    I got GRAND JURY duty last April and I put it off for a year… so this coming April I must report for it… I have served many times and have been on a jury as foreperson. I hated it. I don’t think I can get out of this as I don’t see doctors (for a note) but I can’t even stand for 5 minutes at a time and sitting is very painful too. I have been agonizing over this for 9 months now… what to do. Grand jury here is for 3 months… once, twice, or three times a week maybe… how I will do this if I get chosen I do not know.

  2. poundheadhere

    I don’t have any get-out-of-jury-free stories. Of the two times in my life I was called for jury duty, once I’d just had a baby and the second time I served for a three-week trial. It was… an experience.

  3. Do what I do. When they interview me and ask a series of questions, I say that I would love to serve on a jury because I have a unique gift. They always ask, “And what is that?” I say, “I can just look at someone and know if they’re guilty.” Works every time.

  4. goatbarnwitch

    I was called not too long ago and the case was settled before trial. I think I am off the hook for like eight years because I did show up for that one…. It is not a good system at all but change is so slow or non-existent. Can you get a delay of some kind? I did that because they wanted me during my busiest season and as a small business owner it would have been devastating, I think it bought me six months or something like that.

  5. Valerie

    I’ve read suggestions that the system be changed to professional jurors who would have degrees in some kind of info that would enable them to follow the increasingly complex civil trials involving very technical stuff. They would be career people – impartial, but certainly able to truly understand the laws, ordinances, etc. I think that it’s ot a bad idea. If you choose it as a career then supposedly yoj want to be there.

  6. Tell them you are prejudiced. I mean, like “I hate men. If a man is the defendant he’s guilty. If a woman is she’d be innocent” or the like. I mean, more subtly, of course… 😉

  7. susanna

    For years I go off because I was a school teacher, the children needed me, not really; then for another decade I got off because I was a therapist, my clients needed me, not really; now I’ve just been lucky. I do not want to hear the details of any untoward activity at the least or murder at the most! I’m too sensitive. Do you think that would work…I’m too sensitive.

  8. You were in the wrong business. When I worked for Red Cross Blood Services, my boss wrote a letter saying I was the only one (admin. asst.) in their department who did my job and it was our busy season… I got off.

    I used to be called regularly, but in Connecticut you can phone the evening before and find out whether you would be needed. When I couldn’t see to drive, I asked my doctor for a letter; that worked too.

    Now that I am old, I am legally off the hook. In Connecticut, unless the law has changed, employers had to pay people who had jury duty, even if it was just the difference between what the courts paid and their own salaries.

    Remember a news anchor named Roger Mudd? He was another descendant of Dr. Mudd, and he was mighty please when the doctor was exonerated.

  9. joanie

    Not again! They must have thought you did a really good job the last 10 times! Is there a dress code?? Maybe you could dress like a Pirate and have a parrot on your shoulder when you show up. I wonder if they’d dismiss you or make you go home and change your clothes.

  10. I hope you can be excused. It’s no fun to go and then sit there for hours just to be excused at the last minute. I’ve been summoned many times but not seated yet.

  11. Patty O'

    If you grow old and strange they don’t much want you; just wait a while and you will see. I was in a jury pool once that empaneled a young woman AND her employer at the same time. From the same group there was a young woman physicist who was working on a critical project. The judge asker her what it was. She struggled to explain. At some point Hizzoner stopped her – and excused her – saying HER project was obviously the more important and that the University needed her more than the court. Teachers and nurses are often excused, as defense attorneys don’t want either of those on a jury with a defendant accused of sex crimes against children. The jury was filled ONE person before it was my turn to be questioned. That was a good day for me, but also illuminating.

  12. Once long, long ago I got a doctor’s pass, and it appears to have stuck. Never again have I been called.

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