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Old 02-17-2011, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,026,616 times
Reputation: 366

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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybear View Post
Thanks JackM. Some people are randomly called upon more than most and chances are they will continue to call on HER and rarely if ever on many people.
I will take this further, though I already heard how unlikely this will be because of the expense of passing this law and inconvenience of losing people in the jury pool. Really? A simple yea or nae won't be enough?
If a carer wants and is able to serve they could still do so but why should each and every mother with a young child, or carer of an invalid, have to fight to prove that someone needs them more at this time?
Maybe, we need a change in the way the jury is called upon so it's fair rather than the luck of the draw. It seems so many people get passed over and will never be called.
I need to learn more about the actually drawing of names. Is it hand picked by a human being with no true awareness of which name comes up? Is there a witness? Are recent DMV , birth announcements or public records where they select from? Ok, more homework for me.
How can you get more fair than a random drawing? Yes, random means someone might get called more often than others. Yes, random means that a caregiver might get called several times. However, that's about as fair as you can get. Your daughter may not get called again for 10, 20, or 50 years. I've lived in RI for 7 years and got called once. I lived in CT before that and had never been called (in the 5 years it had been since turning 18), yet my brother was called within a year of turning 18 (couldn't go because he was a full time student in RI).

I actually enjoyed the experience and hope to get called again someday, but in order for the system to work properly, it needs to be random, even if you disagree with that. Chances are, if your daughter sends in the form saying that she has an infant that depends on her for regular feedings, they'll excuse her. It is certainly not too much work to send that form back with that explanation each time it comes in until her child is no longer breast feeding (after that, someone else can watch the child, like the father). And if it really is a hardship, if brought into voir dire, you can explain why you have a reason not to sit on the jury for the trial (economic hardship of having to shut down your business for the duration of the trial). I've seen people excused because of that while I was at jury duty.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Vermont
10,282 posts, read 11,174,268 times
Reputation: 14119
If you flip a coin a thousand times, or ten thousand, you will notice that even with a fair coin there will inevitably be long strings of consecutive heads and long strings of consecutive tails. That's the nature of a random process.

As I understand the posts by the OP, her family member has been called once in Vermont, after having been called once recently in another state. Given that the two states and their jury selection processes have nothing to do with each other, there is no reason to think this is the product of any kind of malevolent "singling out" of this one person.

Here's the FAZ page for jurors in Vermont: http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/MasterPages/jury_information.aspx (broken link)

And here is the statutory reference: The Vermont Statutes Online

I call your particular attention to this provision:
(d) No person's name shall be placed on venire to serve in any state court of the state of Vermont more than once in any two-year period.

And here's the information on where they get the names:
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the court administrator may obtain the names, addresses, and dates of birth of persons which are contained in the records of the department of motor vehicles, the department of labor, the department of taxes, the department of health, and the department for children and families. The court administrator may also obtain the names of voters from the secretary of state.

I seem to recall that about twenty-five years ago there was a challenge to the method of impaneling jurors because at that time I think they were just drawn from voter registration lists, which was argued to be no representative, especially of younger and less affluent people, so they expanded the sources to include DMV and other sources of names.

I'm aware of at least one case in recent years in which a sitting Superior Court judge was called and served on a trial jury, so nobody is exempt.

One more point: I think the OP made some mention about people who would be willing to volunteer to serve. A few moments' thought will demonstrate what a bad idea that is, if only because the class of people who want to volunteer to serve on the jury is likely not representative of the population as a whole. Given the times and popular culture, I wouldn't be surprised if people who want to volunteer are likely more prosecution-oriented, so allowing such a thing would create a risk of an unfair jury.
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Old 02-17-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,026,616 times
Reputation: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccullough View Post
I call your particular attention to this provision:
(d) No person's name shall be placed on venire to serve in any state court of the state of Vermont more than once in any two-year period.
That provision, in most states (not sure about VT, but it's probably true there as well), means you actually have to go to jury duty, even if you don't get picked to sit on a jury. Serving means you do your minimum day (or in my case, 2 days). If you get picked to sit on a jury, it's longer. If you are excused from even showing up, you can be picked again within those 2 years (here it's 3 years, but we have a larger pool of people, though also more trials).
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Vermont
10,282 posts, read 11,174,268 times
Reputation: 14119
The way it works here is that if you are on the venire your obligation is three jury days of jury draw or three trials.

What that meant for me was that on the first day I was called I spent the day and was selected for one trial, which took three or four days.

I was called again the following month, but didn't get picked for any cases.

I understood I was going to be called for another day, but they never did. It's been over a year, so I think I'm off the hook.

In the last year or so I also got a questionnaire for what was then called the Superior Court and is now called the Civil Division of the Superior Court, but I haven't been called to appear. It could be that they pulled me out because they know me, they know I'm a lawyer, and they figure there's no way I'll get on a case.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:27 PM
 
26 posts, read 66,725 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
How can you get more fair than a random drawing? Yes, random means someone might get called more often than others. Yes, random means that a caregiver might get called several times. However, that's about as fair as you can get. Your daughter may not get called again for 10, 20, or 50 years. I've lived in RI for 7 years and got called once. I lived in CT before that and had never been called (in the 5 years it had been since turning 18), yet my brother was called within a year of turning 18 (couldn't go because he was a full time student in RI).
If everyone, who is qualified, has a duty to serve on jury duty then call on everyone at some point. This is fairness,not the random luck of the draw. This isn't a party game. We need to take our turn! I have heard from many who've never been called.

My point was not the "fairness" but the fact that unless there is a law a mother with a new baby is not a legitimate excuse to be excused. She's already been declined and this is making her heart sick. The valid reason, which she does have, is that they only have 1 vehicle and a home business therefore this is a hardship. The shop will have close that day. We believed the infant was the first priority but this is not the case. Perhaps in our haste to give women rights we undermined the value of allowing a mother or even a carer of a sick parent to ask serve at a better time. Sure mother's leave their babes everyday, some by necessity but many by choice. My daughter chose to do a home business that allows her to stay with her child. I believe we've forgot to show compassion to ourselves.
What we thought would be easy has educated us to the laws. I am in Connecticut and was disappointed to learn that my state has shot down the law so we need to address this here too. The penalties are too great and some of the stories, where they've made examples out of mothers, sicken me. The people who stood up in outrage to defend the persons did give me hope. It seems the people do not want mothers of infants penalized for postponing jury duty! The courts need to listen.
It would be wonderful if they just did the right thing and offered her an opportunity to serve in a couple years. Sadly, lack of human compassion means a change is needed.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:45 PM
 
26 posts, read 66,725 times
Reputation: 21
States and U.S. Territories with Family Friendly Jury Duty

here's some info. Family friendly jury duty exists.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,026,616 times
Reputation: 366
You're missing the point of the jury selection process. If jury selection was not random and everyone got called at some point (likely in some sort of order), then the jury pool is already tainted. Let's say you know who is going to be called next. You know your friends might be on there. You plan your crime/lawsuit/whatever. It needs to be random in order for it to work.

Is there a law that prohibits a mother from bringing her infant child with her to jury duty? If not, have her bring the child. When she walks in there with the child, they will certainly not choose her to sit on a jury and they may just send her home, especially if she had written that she was unable to serve because of the infant child.

But the randomness needs to be the way it is to make it fair and make it work. I would love to be called for jury duty more often. I enjoyed my time doing it. My wife even got to sit on a trial, which she enjoyed. You learn the inner workings of our justice system which depends on people like you, me, and your daughter in order for it to be fair, balanced, and blind.

I tend to be heartless, because I believe the rights of a non-parent are 100% equal to the rights of a parent due to the choice you make in having a child. I'm not saying that being a parent is easy, but I am saying that being a parent should not preclude you from serving (in any way, do you think military families get out of active duty due to having a child?). If you don't believe everyone should have to serve on a jury, you don't believe in our justice system. The only way it works is for this to happen.

The reason your daughter has to travel 40 miles is due to the size and population of the state she chose to live in and where in that state she chose to make her home. The only recourse your daughter has (and should have) is to contact her elected representatives and senators in Montpelier. They represent the people of the state. She can gather together other mothers who have an issue with the jury duty laws in Vermont and start a campaign for change.

I am curious (since that webpage you linked isn't easy to navigate) how many states actually have family friendly jury duty laws. I do have a problem with one aspect of that site. It mentions that people can't find "last minute" arrangements for someone to watch their children. It was a few years ago, but I knew at least several weeks in advance when I would have to report for jury duty. Surely, several weeks is not last minute. But I do disagree with the fact that people should get a blanket excusal from jury duty until their child is 10 years old (and homeschooling, another choice, should not be an excuse, otherwise all school teachers should be excused during the school year). Let's say you have 3 children each 5 years apart. That's 20 years those parents (and based on what I've read, both can use the excuse if the caregiving duties are shared equally) are absolved from their civic duty.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:06 PM
 
26 posts, read 66,725 times
Reputation: 21
Hopefully we all live long enough where the time needed to take care of children "we choose to have", be it a few years or 20....maybe a lifetime if the dependent is disabled, and plenty of years will be left over to serve. If someone can go a lifetime without being called what is the big deal if she waits? This seems to bother you.

I do not agree with 2 parents of a young child serving in the military unless they choose this and have people able to care for their children. There are other ways to serve. Many national guardsmen and women were drafted unexpectedly and this left grandparents and relatives.

Maybe you are heartless. You obviously haven't met my grandchild. I support mothers as well as other people. Infants deserve to be nurtured by their mothers, especially in the early years. Mother's should never be put in a position by our government where they are FORCED to pump milk to satisfy those of you who truly feel she MUST be there because she had the audacity to have bad timing in being called. There's something disturbing about the lack of understanding here.

There are some mother friendly laws in place regarding the work place in Vt. The courts have not evolved to this yet. We'd have to RESPECT the roles of mothers enough to make this a legitimate excuse.

The pool can be tainted no matter how it's selected. I am speaking of fairness and the odds of tainted jurors is, as you say, a draw. Some names may never enter the pool. How would we know? If everyone gets a turn it can still be done without knowledge of timing for the call. It's up to the juror to admit that he/she knows the case or persons on trial. Whether a person is honest or not is the true luck of the draw.

None of what I've addressed is shirking of responsibility, it's postponement.

We hope to address this with letters to the local representatives. I am disappointed but at least I have an idea of what we are up against now.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,026,616 times
Reputation: 366
Oh, I love kids. I just don't like parents who feel a sense of entitlement over those of us who choose not to have children simply because they chose to (or anyone who feels a sense of entitlement at that).

As for the military, if you choose to enlist, that's your own problem. Having a child has never been a reason to get out of duty. You know what you're getting yourself into when you enlist.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:16 AM
 
26 posts, read 66,725 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Oh, I love kids. I just don't like parents who feel a sense of entitlement over those of us who choose not to have children simply because they chose to (or anyone who feels a sense of entitlement at that).
So runawayjim, you are saying you believe a parent requesting postponement of jury duty feels entitled in some way? This would be a good discussion on a mothering forum. You know, all those entitled, overpaid, stay at home and working mothers.

I've received some great objective advice from others, thank you very much.
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