So I Start Grand Jury Service Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I report to the New York County Supreme Court in downtown Manhattan for grand jury service. Unlike with regular juries, there is no voir dire process and there appears to be little chance I’ll be dismissed for being self-employed, a social justice activist, a journalist with a long history of being critical of the police, or a hologram.

However exactly like with regular juries, I’m told there will be periods of downtime and allegedly the courthouse wi-fi is decent. I will do my best to keep things flowing on this here website thingy, but obviously posting will be sporadic and I won’t be able to react immediately to breaking stories.

There’s no way to know in advance how long they’ll want me, but I’m told that two weeks is the absolute minimum. Feel free to weigh in below with your own experiences.

  • kirtanloorii

    Good luck Joe. I was just dismissed from jury duty last week. Didn’t even have to show up.

  • bkmn

    Not envious. Hope it goes quickly Joe.

  • medaka

    Whoa! Tell us what you can from your enclosure, Joe.

    Will you have to go to a hotel every night?

  • JustSayin’

    In florida i was called for Jury duty right after Ted Bundy was sent to Florida State Prison in Starke, i wore a Burn Bundy Burn t-shirt and vor some reason they excused me…go figure.

  • PickyPecker

    Been called twice in the last two years. This last time, showed up to the courthouse on time only to be told the judge had cancelled proceedings.
    Maybe that’ll be your case too! Bring something to read, definitely. While a civic duty, most times it is incredibly dull. lol

    • NancyP

      Try “Fellow Travelers” by Thomas Mallon. That was an excellent novel for distracting me from the drone of the 600 other juror-candidates and 10 TVs in the cattle-call room.

  • abqdan

    I was happy to serve on a federal jury pool about 10 years ago. With the pool, you can be called for a jury any time in a three month period. I ended up on two trials. Our justice system is one of the best – and I hate the way friends try to wriggle out of doing their civic duty with various excuses. If I was on trial, I’d like to think that the 12 people judging me believe in the system and are comfortable with performing their duty. However, I do think being self-employed is a tough situation for a prolonged service.

    • catherinecc

      Which is great, but we’ve effectively eliminated trials in the USA via the use of coercive plea bargains. Less than 2% of cases federally go to trial, virtually everyone who goes to trial loses.

      Statistically speaking, prosecutors are effectively judges.

      It’s a smidge (4%) better in state courts, but both have been getting progressively worse in the past several decades.

      • JIM W

        The DA’s try for plea bargains because it’s much cheaper than a trial. Not saying it truly judicial prudent.

        • And also, in many cases there’s no way to put up a defense. The cases where there’s some question about guilty make the headlines but many really are open and shut. If you’re on video robbing the convenience store, you take the plea deal.

      • Just to play devil’s advocate: why is that bad?

        If DAs are doing their job well, they shouldn’t be going to trial if they don’t have enough to convict. The burden of proof is on them. If they are bringing too many cases to trial and not getting convictions then something is wrong. Either they aren’t good at their job or they are being overzealous in going to trial. And yes, guilty people often get a better deal with a plea bargain. There are a lot of people who are caught red-handed, on video, and all that and they know they are not going to get off. They should plea.

        All that said, as a juror my attitude would be that they need to prove the charges against the defendant(s), but it doesn’t surprise me that they should have such a success rate. I’d call that being good at their job.

        • catherinecc

          Because DAs can (and do) use mandatory minimums and “charge everything under the kitchen sink” to create coercive offers that make it insane to fight.

          Combined with the fact that a majority of Americans can’t come up with $1000, bail is often unaffordable and waits for trial can be months or years, it results in innocent people pleading.

          Nobody wants to talk about this of course, but if you’re a trans woman picked up for prostitution merely because a cop found condoms in your purse, you’re going to take the plea of 10 days instead of waiting 3-6 months in lockup for trial.

          > There are a lot of people who are caught red-handed, on video, and all that and they know they are not going to get off.

          98%? I think not. Having that much faith in a legal system is exceptionally dangerous. We laughed at the sham courts of the Soviets decades ago, but when prosecutors effectively decide 98% of cases here, perhaps we should have a bit of skepticism…

          • Thank you. That was the kind of response I was hoping for.

            So what kinds of reforms are needed? (Not that they are likely to happen, but you seem knowledgeable so I may as well ask.)

        • catherinecc

          It’s not about the burden of proof, it’s the fact that prosecutors often seek political or higher judicial office on a “tough on crime” platform.

          Convictions or pleas, either are notches on their belt. Justice, or the lack thereof is of no concern.

          • I agree that convictions are victories for them that they use to move up the political ladder. Losses work the other way. A loss, especially a well-publicized damages their reputation.

            Somewhat related: I was pleased to see a conviction overturned just today. It was the younger guy featured in Netflix’s Making a Murderer. I have a mixed opinion about the older guy (his uncle?), but when I watched the video of the original interrogation that kid clearly didn’t know shit. He was guessing and way off. He didn’t know much if anything about the murder and I can’t imagine how any judge let that go forward. How incompetent a lawyer did he have? I think that’s a bigger problem than anything we’ve talked about here. Poor people get shitty lawyers most of the time and things that should have been challenged are not. And then they can’t afford the investigators or the expert witnesses that might help them. So evidence that really is kind of flimsy isn’t really challenged. There are far too many people being exonerated after years in prison because we can finally test the DNA and prove that no, that wasn’t their blood or semen at the crime scene after all. And then there’s the problem of eyewitness testimony and memory.

          • catherinecc
  • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

    I never understand why people complain about serving. It’s our civic duty and the least we can do. We will survive.

    • JustSayin’

      You are right it is our duty, however trials in some jurisdictions are little more than kangaroo courts and for some, like being a single parent or low income hourly worker, being on a jury for two weeks is a killer and if it is a months long trial with sequestering then it is even worse.

      • elvigy

        Not sure I agree about the kangaroo court part but the rest is accurate. I’ve served several times on regular juries, usually just for a day or two. However, I was once selected to serve on a more serious case that was expected to last for several weeks. My boss told me I wouldn’t be paid and I had to beg the judge to let me go as I simply could not afford to go without income (what they pay is absurd) for that long.

        • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

          I served on a 2 week 2d degree murder trial here in LA. Other than the seriousness of the subject matter, it was a great experience . My fellow jurors took thier role very seriously and we went over the elements of the charges one by one as if it was our life in balance as we had the future of another man in our’s. I was also proud of the diversity of my city as our jury, including the alternates, was made up of 4 Anglos, 4 Latinos, 4 Asain-Americans, and 4 African-Americans. With respect, I find the “kangaroo court” comment kind of offensive. Cynicism is not a virtue. [ETA: sorry I know you didn’t make the Kangaroo comment]

        • Gustav2

          I had a bookkeeper who paid me vacation time without asking, then I lost a week of vacation for the year.

        • Criminal is often a day or two. Civil can go on for months.

          I once got excused because I was in voir dire for a legal malpractice case. The guy was suing his lawyer for malpractice. I thought that was hilarious. (Note: don’t try this. the judge was not at all pleased and you do not want to piss off a judge.)

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        A lot of the folks on trial are the poorest and most disadvantaged. a “jury of thier peers”. Don’t mean to be cunty but….

    • JuanGalicia

      I suppose it depends on the job/life someone has πŸ˜›

    • True story. I was in line trying to get out of jury duty. I was temping and would not have been paid while on jury duty and as it was civil that would have been at least six months (at least that’s what the attorneys said. I know that often they settle just as the trial is set to begin so it’s really only days). Anyway there was a woman at the front trying to get ON jury duty. She had a horrible job and was being transferred to a better one and a few weeks of jury duty would have been just what she needed. Unfortunately there was something about her moving or whatever that created a problem. That’s the only time I ever saw that.

      If they would have paid me my hourly rate (at the time $20/hour) I would have been happy to be a full time juror. But for $50 a day? No. I can’t live on that. Not everyone has a full time job with benefits working for someone else. In fact a surprising number of working people do not have that. Unfortunately the law assumes we all do.

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        If it was easy it wouldn’t be impt. And our civil court system is just as impt. Obergefell was a civil case. I say this with empathy and respect

        • Again, what about people whose work does not allow them to take months off without pay and still survive? In some states you would get an exemption for that. NY is not one of them. Again, every case I was up for would have gone on for months. If just couldn’t afford to be on the jury and had to beg the judge to let me out. I don’t know why I never got called for criminal. If we had been talking about a few days, I’d have just done it. I think it would be interesting. But for months and months? Not feasible.

          • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

            I get it. There should be laws that require paid leave.

          • Leave from what? Joe is self-employed. Who is going to pay the leave? People who are paid hourly would not get paid while they were serving. Stop assuming everyone has a full time job with benefits. Most employers will do that for full time employees for part time ones not so much. I was temping at the time. I’d have lost my gig and had no pay. They were not going to pay me while I wasn’t working.

            Also, a life hack for NYers. When you postpone jury duty (which you can do a couple of times) you can either just automatically kick it six months OR you can actually pick the months (maybe even the week). If you schedule it in August changes are you will be dismissed after a half day. (NYC can hold you in the pool for up to a week although I don’t think that it ever goes past 3 days.) Most judges are on vacation in August so new trials are unlikely to start then, especially the long ones.

          • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

            Jesus man ok only the elderly and rich should serve. I love Joe but he’s not curing cancer here

          • Pffft, you look down on people that can’t serve and say they can “survive” and then complain when someone, very politely, explains why lots of people can’t actually survive it.

          • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

            The Dafur Orphans are weeping ….

          • Gee, I’m sorry that the kids starving right here aren’t “impt” enough for you.

          • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

            Omg you’re seious. ThX for the first laugh of this “sunny day” . Cone for me. Dukes up!

          • Yes, I’m serious, and the fact that you don’t know that means you still don’t get the point. While there are definitely people who shirk Jury Duty because they simply don’t want to do it, there are just as many, if not more, that literally will not be able to eat nor feed their families, pay their rent/mortgage, pay to keep vital utilities like power and water turned on, make car payments, purchase needed medications, etc, while on jury duty. No one should have to go hungry, lose their lodging, lose their transportation, etc, to do their civic duty. And “paid leave” isn’t enough. I agree with you that it should be law, but it alone is not the solution.

          • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

            Listen I don’t want to fight — I’m a lover not a fighter. And if you read my comments above, I don’t think I’m being unfair.

          • I read all of them, Proud. I start at oldest and read through the thread. What I think is that you’re being myopic. Are there people that just blow it off? Absolutely. But to lump everyone that truly cannot absorb the ripple effect of going without compensation and/or benefits in with those that just don’t feel like it, is unfair. That second group of people is a lot larger than you think. I’m guessing you don’t live paycheck to paycheck. If that’s the case, I’m truly happy for you. But you need to remember that the vast majority of this country does live that way and missing even one check can be catastrophic.

          • We seem to be on the same disqus schedule lately, Hound. I think we should carpool. πŸ˜‰

          • NancyP

            That’s interesting. Yes, I understand about the difficulty on free-lancers and temps. I am full time salaried, and can shift some of the work to 5:30 to 10:00 PM when needed, so I am not totally stiffing my co-workers. We really ought to have a better solution for making sure that the jury duty is not a real disaster for people who won’t get paid. It’s 12 bucks a day plus round-trip bus ticket or day-long parking pass here in my city. That’s not enough for those who are giving up wages.

      • Raybob

        My county pays $15 a day. Now.

        • Dean

          The same here ion Dixie County, FL.

    • abqdan

      It’s very annoying. Any time a friend FB posts about being called, there are a barrage of replies suggesting ways of not doing their civic duty. Yes, it can be inconvenient, and costly. But if we want to live in a fair and just society, we have to be willing to be inconvenienced. I know many will say that it ISN’T just or fair, but by abdicating your part in the process, you make it less so. Turn up and do your part!

    • Kruhn

      As someone who wholeheartedly agrees with you, I can see where the other side in this debate is coming from. I served in a panel on a criminal case and I felt that I’ve done my duty proudly and I know that that person got a fair hearing.

      I was called to jury duty this year, but I’m a freelancer, and losing that income would have been a terrible reduction in my income which a measly $15 won’t cover. I’m glad I wasn’t empanelled this time around as much as I hate saying this myself.

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        I get it. My employer paid full salary for the duration of service, however long. I think there’s a lot if people who just see it as a nuisance, however. When I was on a panel I overheard a dude telling someone that he was going to tell the judge he hated Koreans (the defendant was KoreanAmerican) so he could get out of it. And he did.

        someone like Joe can blog in the evening, no?

  • Ninja0980

    Went through the same thing once.
    Played phone tag for four days until it was confirmed I wouldn’t be needed.
    Don’t envy you at all.

  • Taylor

    Pray that you don’t get on a Grand Jury that hears nothing but drug cases. It’s the absolute worst. You basically here the same story of undercover cops, scoring drugs, over and over and over and over again. It’s not at all like “Law & Order”.

    I’ve served on three Grand Juries…none of them were fun, but drugs is the worst.

    • Craig Howell

      I routinely get excused from jury duty on drug-related cases by telling the judge that I refuse to participate in the War on Drugs.

      • Taylor

        There is no voir dire process when your on a Grand Jury, so you don’t get to tell the Judge anything, because you’re not asked any questions. Your job as a Grand Juror, is simply to decide if there is enough evidence to indict, and take the case to trial.

  • Butch

    Wasn’t a grand jury, but when I lived in Colorado I used to joke that I was on the preferred jurors list; I sat through trials involving drunk driving, a fistfight at a PTA meeting(!), and “emotional distress” caused when a neighbor put up a gate, among many others….

    • David

      Was the PTA brawl case as much fun as it sounds like it should have been?

  • DumbHairyApe

    I’ve never sat on a grand jury, but did sit on a jury once before after having bee excused from a handful of other cases. Learn from it. It’s very interesting to see our justice system from a different perspective and I think it will make you an even better advocate for all that you do now Joe!

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Let us know how many Ham Sandwiches your indict. LOL.

    • TrollopeReader

      or Sam_Handwiches. …

      • bambinoitaliano

        That’s what is being serve at lunch.

  • JIM W

    You need an assistant for the pesky times you’re unable to keep us informed.

    • Skokieguy [Larry]

      I’m surprised that Joe doesn’t already have assistants. There often are postings 7 days a week. Mr. Jervis is possibly superhuman?

      • Gustav2

        Shelly already has her paws full of other duties.

        • Rebecca Gardner


      • JIM W

        Like you dead of the (pee) arranged open threads. That will at least keep us entertained.

  • Skokieguy [Larry]

    Hi Joe,

    Good luck, hope its an important case / issue where you vote makes a difference.

    Might it be possible to pre-arrange a few open threads (perhaps put the day / date is it to be used) and allow the community to post news that we find interesting or want to discuss?

    [Note that pre-arrange is listed as spelled wrong and possible corrections include pee-arrange. Just thought everyone needed to know that. Perhaps Todd Starnes moonlights and a spellchecker?

    • medaka

      Excellent idea! Maybe daily open threads where the super-sleuth posters can get things moving.

    • bambinoitaliano

      Yes its a great idea. It’s what some of us call it crowd sourcing. I will surf the internet and try to select news of interest relating to JMG to post on comment section of what ever the latest blog thread is πŸ™‚

      • StraightGrandmother

        Me too, I can help.

        • bambinoitaliano

          The more the merrier πŸ™‚

    • Harley

      “Note that pre-arrange AS listed IS spelled wrong” There. Fixed it for ya.

  • crewman

    As much as most people don’t want to give time or lose work to be on a jury, I found the experience fascinating. It gave me a new insight into how juries work behind closed doors.

  • Gustav2

    Three times on regular jury duty, three weeks total. Only one case. A bunch of suburban white folk who shopped at Kohl’s on a case about violation of a protection order.

    It was amazing after 45 minutes of these people thinking they were the ’12 Angry Men’ I spoke up and said, “Did he violate the law, did he understand the law? Yes. Case closed. Let’s vote.” The jury foreperson gave me such a look, but we were done in 5 more minutes.

  • jvc in NYC

    In NY County, grand jury is 4 weeks, but only half days. You can pick if you want an a.m. or p.m. session unless you’re selected towards the end and you get what is left.

    And you’re correct, you cannot get out of it, only a deferment of a few months.

    Unless you’re one of the lucky few whose number isn’t called.

  • greenmanTN

    If you want to get out of it- aluminum foil hat! Just saying…

  • I’ve never sat on a grand jury in Kentucky, but know folks who have. The term is a month, and many times you only sit for 2 or 3 days during that month. There’s a number to call each night to see if you need to show up.

    The only grand jury to avoid is a Federal grand jury. Investigations involving them can last months, or even years.

  • VodkaAndPolitics

    Maybe tell them that you intend to blog about the entire process, highlighting inefficiencies and travesties of justice?

    • JoeMyGod

      It’s a felony to reveal anything that happens during grand jury service. The notice makes that very clear.

      • Dreaming Vertebrate

        Mention you were once good friends with Julian Assange and you think he has hacked your computer and WiFi.
        If there’s to be a felony, let Assange feel the sting.

      • Do Something Nice

        And in California (and I’m guessing other states), it is illegal for a juror to profit (ie write a story for money) from a case until 90 days after the case is over.

      • AJayne

        Does that include generalities about the process? Or just about cases?

      • Mark_in_MN

        I wonder what the reason for that is.

  • sherman

    I’ve never been called for jury duty. I never got selected for random drug testing at work. Geez, I didn’t even get drafted because my number was 359. I’m just not in demand.

    • TrollopeReader


    • Uncle Mark

      Oh charmed one, may I rub you for luck?

    • bambinoitaliano

      Stop bragging!

    • TuuxKabin

      Except for here.

      • sherman


  • JoeMyGod

    I’m not sure about the purpose of this form since it appears that the information has little influence on whether one is dismissed.

    • Just tell them you believe that if someone has made it that far through the system, they must be guilty. They will dismiss you pretty quickly.

      • timncguy

        Not from a Grand Jury. That’s what they want. Grand Juries are only for the prosecutor’s side

        • So, he can tell them he is a SJW, and does not trust the police.

          • Craig Howell

            Roger that. Back in the 70s when I first became a gay activist, the ACLU and others quickly taught me a healthy contempt for grand juries as little more than rubber stamps for prosecutors.

          • Jake Stevens

            In the Bronx, where I practiced as a public defender, we had a vigorous grand jury practice because those on grand juries were from the same communities as our clients, and thus were more likely – we thought – to listen careful to our clients. The accused have the right to testify, but rarely do in Manhattan, where grand juries are made up of wealthier, whiter, often newly arrived from other parts of the country.

    • BlueberriesForMe

      7 am to 8 pm every day? Mercy!

      • JoeMyGod

        Yep. Often later on weekdays if there’s a breaking story. But I usually do only 5-10 posts on weekends, so those days are only a few hours each. (Not always, however.)

        • Marides48

          Demand overtime pay!

        • StraightGrandmother

          Yes and that week you go to Florida every year, stories are a little light then too, it’s like I know your routine now, ha-ha-ha.

          Joe I hope you get a really fascinating case. Afterwords do be careful what you write about it in case whichever way it goes, they could read something you wrote and throw it out or something like that. You know what I mean.

          I hpe it is nothing to do with insurance or financing, those kind of trials would put me to sleep.

          I hope it is the Scott Lively Trial, that would be GREAT!

      • olandp

        Is this your first time here? Joe works tirelessly for us, and we appreciate him far more than he could ever know. Sometimes it is even past 8pm.

    • Jake Stevens

      This is used to determine if you will receive the governmental stipend. As a consultant with irregular hours, I didn’t think they would pay me, but they did. It is taxable, btw.

    • Acronym Jim

      Joe, say it ain’t so. No happy hour imbibing? Not even Sunday Brunch?

  • another_steve

    I agree with others here that serving on juries when called upon is a civic duty, but some folks just don’t want to do it, for a variety of reasons. And they’re not necessarily bad people. They just don’t want to serve on a jury.

    If you’re one of them and there’s a voir dire process, it’s the easiest thing in the world to not get selected.

    Just give an answer you know will get you disqualified.

    • Agreed with the duty thing. I’ve been called many times. It was always a pain, but I am, for the most part, glad I participated. I usually learned a lot. But after being called up three years in a row, after being told that would never happen, I copmplained, and they have not called me in over 20 years.

      • another_steve

        I served in New York City on a jury considering a horrible gang-related murder. Dreadful crime. Gory as all hell. The witnesses all gave conflicting accounts of what happened.

        My jury was sequestered for three nights. All around, it was a horrible (though educational, as in “this is reality, folks. this kind of shit happens” educational) experience.

        Having experienced it, I understand why some folks simply don’t want to serve on certain juries.

    • Smokey

      A story from our county courthouse a few years back: during voir dire a stereotypical “little old lady” in response to a rendering impartial judgement question said, “Well, the police wouldn’t have arrested him if he wasn’t guilty.” The judge scorched a few ears with his verbal explosion, but she was dismissed.

      • Beagle

        I once clerked for a trial court judge. On criminal cases, he always asked potential jurors whether they thought at that moment that the defendant was guilty or not guilty. An answer of “I don’t know” got the response that, as of that moment, the defendant was not guilty. The DA had to prove their case — innocent until proven guilty.

  • Galvestonian

    oh hell, tell them up front that he’s guilty but he deserves a fair trial before they hang him.

    • billbear1961


    • bambinoitaliano

      I’m not sure I like the odd of 50/50 that would favor either side of the court.

    • Harley

      I find wearing a colander usually helps getting you dismissed.

  • Jamie Brewer

    I served Grand Jury for three months back in 1993. It is true when they say a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. What a bunch of sheep actually believing every word from the police. I did this service in a small city and knew how things went down and it was not anything they gave testimony to. Got called for regular jury duty back in 2005. I never got chosen as I related the story of a “forced” drug search of my truck back in 2001. I related how I was afraid those troopers could have planted drugs in my vehicle and it would be their word against mine. I also displayed the book I was reading at the time with the title page blaring in my lap, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand!

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    The two times I’ve been part of juries I really enjoyed it, but they were short trials.

  • Ernest Endevor

    Fine. Don’t think about us. Sad.

  • BearEyes

    Been called twice for regular jury duty and once for a grand jury. In CT, we have a 1 day-1 trial system meaning you show up for 1 day, if you’re picked you’re on 1 trial. If you’re not picked, you’re good for at least 3 years.
    I wasn’t picked for any of them but was an alternate for the grand which didn’t need me after all.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Was summoned to sit on an auto crash case.

    Defense Attorney : Have you ever had personal experience with a car crash?

    ME : Yeah, when I was T-boned and our county attorney refused to investigate the offender.

    Judge : You are dismissed.

    • NancyP

      Yes, but that’s standard jury duty. I get summoned about once a year to 18 mo. for standard duty – voir dire’d out every time. My fear is getting panelled for some esoteric financial liability case with a zillion documents – somehow I don’t see myself getting out of that. It is pretty unlikely that I would be on a medically oriented or homicide case.

      • NancyP

        Having said all that, when I retire or when we are fully staffed, whichever comes first, I will be much more cheerful about jury duty. Right now it’s a giant pain for our group when someone is out unexpectedly.

        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          You could always call me. I’m probably not remotely qualified to do whatever it is that you do, but it could be fun.

    • Librarykid

      Grand jury service usually lasts for a term of 3 to 6 months, generally a couple of days a week. It is where prosecutors present evidence to the members of a Grand Jury to determine if cases should go to trial. It is usually an employee’s dream in this area because it pays well and gets you out of work. Trial juries or petit juries usually have shorter terms, usually until a case is decided.

    • Drunk driving case, just so you know I’m an alcoholic. Dismissed.

      • Jolenebcampbell4

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  • Todd20036

    I’ve gotten out of grand jury service because I am not self employed, and taking that much time off would be rather detrimental.

    But I’ve no problem with petite jury service, and even served on a trial once.

  • billbear1961


    You’re needed!

    I could lend you my Lenin lapel pin!,!zEE9s3!((qnBP-tDTPVQg~~/s-l300.jpg

    • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

      But it’s such an inconvenience! (Shaking my damn head)

    • bambinoitaliano

      Or wear a white Tshirt that proclaim Guilty As Charge!

      • perversatile

        Carry a bible, and/or smell bad.

        • ByronK

          Or carry a smelly bible.

          • perversatile

            Be the smelly bible.

      • Kruhn

        They will tell you to come back another day and you have not fulfilled your duty in a jury pool

    • Gustav2

      Haven’t you heard? After HUAC, it is no longer illegal to be a commie.

      • billbear1961

        Still never wear it when crossing the border, happy dancer!

        • Harley

          But okay to wear at a trump rally.

    • medaka

      Now I have to dig out my BABY Lenin pin!

  • timncguy

    Personally, I’ve never served. Only been called once and was going out of town for work. I think I’d like to do it.

    But, can’t you just start mumbling things like “Bring on the ham sandwich” or “Off with his head” or “String him up”

  • Craig S

    Joe… thanks in advance for your service. Aso much as I enjoy my morning read of JMG, there some things that are more important.

  • Do Something Nice

    Last week, I finished 3 weeks being an alternate juror. It was a criminal case and clearly the DA was excessive in charges. Not guilty on the 5 major charges and guilty of 2 of the 3 lesser charges.

  • Captain Obvious

    You could have a sudden conversion to Jehovah’s Witness. They don’t serve on juries.

  • RaygunsGoZap
  • The_Wretched

    I’ve voted, had a driver’s license and paid taxes continuously since turning 18 and have yet to be called. I’m in my 40s.

    • Silver Badger

      Count your blessings. I’m called once a year.

      • NancyP

        That happens in places with few registered voters and many crimes or civil cases. I get called every 18 months or less.

    • perversatile

      Getting married last Aprii facilitated my first jury duty summons for next month (insert ball and chain joke).

  • Silver Badger

    As I have posted before, when called to jury duty in Colorado, we are first put under oath. Then we are asked if we have any prejudices. I truthfully tell the judge that I am prejudiced against police as so many lie to support their arrests. I am instantly dismissed. The real problem is that I don’t mind serving on juries. However, I won’t lie under oath.

    • Jake Stevens

      We all have biases and assumptions. No judge or lawyer would expect otherwise. The question is whether you can put aside those biases, listen to the evidence and follow the legal instruction, guided also by your common sense. It is same that you think that the oath prevents you from serving, leaving the juries filled by those who are thinking as deeply or may have opposite biases.

  • Jack Murray

    BRIDGEGATE, BRIDGEGATE, BRIDGEGATE! Please baby jesus let joe be on the jury for BRIDGEGATE!

    • Kruhn

      That’s in New Jersey.

      • Jack Murray

        Because closing the bridge effected New York and New Jersey, I thing the Feds could bring charges in the 2nd or 3rd district.

        • Kruhn

          Ahh. Still, Joe would be serving in state court, so he wouldn’t be hearing the Bridgegate case.

  • leo77

    Never did grand jury, but went through a 5 year period where is was summoned for regular jury duty every July like clockwork. I remember because it was always the week after the 4th of July I had to schlep to the court house in the summer heat.

    Thanks to a call in system, most of the time I never had to attend. All but one of the occasions where I did have to show up in person I never got put on a panel. Finally the first panel I was finally put on I was selected for a small civil case that lasted two days. It was interesting to sit on a trial and since serving on that jury I haven’t been summoned again in many years.

  • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

    Sounds like a lot of folks here have a problem with putting thier money were their mouth is. Jury service, along with voting, is one of our most impt civic duties,

    • Then they should pay you at least the minimum wage for time. and transportation expenses or parking for jury duty, or provide you with transportation to it.. Some people live in areas which pay as little as $5.00 a day with no transportation or parking reimbursement and simply cannot afford to do this — due to self employment or having to take care of children or others. If you have an employer who supports jury duty time off, or are wealthy enough to be able to do this, or have the circumstances that allow you to, then you should.

      • Dreaming Vertebrate

        We in Philly get a whappin’ $9 per day!
        Good lawrd, we been blessed with his bounty!

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        You know what else is inconvenient? Voting, paying tastes etc.

      • StraightGrandmother

        I laways worked for employers who paid you your full salary if called to Jury duty. Well not quite your full salary, they paid your salary less the daily stipend from the court, paid to you.

        I think all employers should have to pay your wages if you are called to ury duty. Then if the government wants they can grant the employer a tax deduction for thos wages.

    • SoCalGal20

      I agree. For me, jury duty is a civic duty like voting. I understand not doing it if it’s a hardship but otherwise I think everybody should serve on a jury at least once.

      • Proud MOFO Beaner (bkb)

        I was probably being too harsh. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

    • NancyP

      Jurors are summoned from the voter registration files.
      I just hope I keep getting my summons in the March through October season, I pack a Clif bar and walk on the lunch hour.

    • Mark

      I have to take a 6-pack of BP meds with me. They just built the new court house a couple years back – and i swear to gawd – it looks just like Trumps living room…..everything is marble or gold….

  • Hue-Man

    My colonial roots may be showing but I’ve never seen the need for a grand jury. Where I’m from the Crown Attorney decides whether she has enough evidence to convict at trial. For serious cases, a judge evaluates the evidence presented by the Crown in a preliminary hearing to determine if the case should go to trial. (Lawyers, excuse my layman’s simplistic description.)

    The grand jury is a waste of time and taxpayers’ money particularly since the prosecutor dominates the proceedings and the grand jurors.

  • Jerry Kott
  • lymis

    Never been on a grand jury, but I’ve been on jury duty a number of times including being the jury foreman once. It’s a very illuminating process.

    In our case, most of us were convinced the guy was guilty of something – and his lawyer was inept to the point of comedy, including saying a number of things like “When my client…. I mean IF my client…..” But at the same time, the judge made it clear we were NOT to base our decision on anything either lawyer said (huh?), and it was also beyond obvious that the cops and the prosecution were lying through their teeth about something and dancing around some absolutely glaring things that were clearly in the evidence they showed us, but never mentioned.

    So, since our direction was to conclude “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and while some of us were absolutely sure he was guilty, and others were vocally adamant he wasn’t, we all agreed unanimously that there was certainly a more than reasonable doubt about what the hell was going on, so we voted to acquit. It was quite eye-opening.

    As we left the courthouse, the defense lawyer made the mistake of approaching me to “congratulate” me for “finding the right decision,” and I read him the riot act, including flatly stated that if we’d taken HIS performance into account, his client would be on the way to jail, and that I didn’t want any congratulations, because we’d been forced to let a guilty man go.

    • sherman

      My brother was on the jury at a murder trial. He said that even though it was clear cut that they guy was guilty, it was still a little hard to vote to put the guy away for life.

      My brother is obviously not a Republicon.

  • Back in the 90s one of my acquaintances was on a grand jury. It went on for months. Fortunately for her, she was able to get second shift work through temp agency because you sure as hell can’t live on what jury duty pays. Of course that meant being in court all day, working all evening, sleeping a few hours and then starting all over again. No, they don’t excuse you for being self-employed. They haven’t for decades, although I was able to get out of jury duty every time I was called in Manhattan. For some reason I only got called for civil and every case I was up for was expected to go on for several months (as in at least 6). I would have been homeless by the end of the trial!

  • Sam_Handwich

    please don’t indict me

    • TrollopeReader

      I think you’re FIRST on the list!! πŸ™‚

    • Treant

      “As a lying embezzler I hereby indict you,
      Let all those numbers rise up and bite you!”

    • billbear1961
      • olandp

        Have I told you I love you?

        • billbear1961


      • abel

        Billbear, thanks for posting that. I’ve never heard some of those lyrics before and I’m going to have to look up some things, so this was a delightful discovery. You’re the best!

        • Miji

          I think you mean “You’re the Top!”.
          (No sexual overtones implied.)

          • Derrick Johns

            Why not? They have to exist, right?
            Well, baby, if I’m the bottom
            You’re the top
            You’d better be the top.

    • BlueberriesForMe

      In your case, it’s all about the bread.

    • Oh’behr

      Rye, are you guilty?

  • Taylor

    Grand Juries and Petit Juries are two different things. You’re not deciding on the guilt or innocence of the party involved when serving on a Grand Jury. You’re simply deciding if there is enough evidence that a crime was committed to bring that person to trial.

    Since the defendant or their lawyer rarely appears at a Grand Jury’s proceedings, it’s almost a certainty that an indictment will be handed down.

    Most of the time it’s pretty cut and dried.

    • Craig Howell

      All the more reason to wiggle out By Any Means Necessary.

      • Taylor

        I’d rather have intelligent people like Joe sitting on a Grand Jury. Who recognize the importance, of the judicial system, than someone who couldn’t wiggle out of it.

        But, that’s just me…I guess.

  • Jhop82

    They do have wifi, but only three available electric outlets in the room. Bring an extra mobile power source.

    Also, while you are there, make sure you go to Joe Shanghai for lunch!

  • lymis

    The one time I was dismissed from jury duty, I was completely floored. It was a case where, on an icy road, a truck had collided with a car full of teenagers. There was at least one death, and at least one lifelong crippling (though specific details were withheld.)

    The question that kicked me off was when the attorney for the plaintiff flatly asked, “Do you think that even if it is proved that the truck driver was not at fault, and the trucking company paid all the medical bills, that a potentially very large monetary award is appropriate because of the pain and suffering of our clients?”

    Remember, this was the lawyer for the injured people, asking if the other party should pay even if they weren’t at fault.

    What floored me is that I was the only one who said that, no, that was a bad idea, and I didn’t support the innocent party’s company or insurance company should still have to pay. Two jurors flatly said that if someone was hurt, they deserved a lot of money, no matter who had to pay it. They were retained. I was removed for cause.

    Mind-boggling. And again, very enlightening.

  • The Sentinel

    “I have difficulty hearing.” Dismissed!

  • fastlanestranger

    Last jury I sat on was equal parts interesting as hell, harrowing, disgusting and sad. I decided to go to court reporting school afterwards. Still not sure if that was a good decision.
    Good luck Joe!

    • NancyP

      Job security? Seems like court reporter would be an in-demand job.

      • fastlanestranger

        Definitely good job security, but my God it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to learn. And my 42-year-old brain doesn’t pick stuff up the way my 19 year old brain did. I know that’s a big “duh!”, but it’s still shocking to experience.

  • tcinsf

    You’re probably going to be on a homicide case. I don’t know how Manhattan does things, but GJs are usually reserved for the big cases where the DA wants to test the evidence and give him or herself some cover.
    I’m not sure how GJs work, but in petit juries, they often don’t want you going on the internet for any purposes during the trial … you might point out that you can’t be detached from the internet for any period of time because it’s actually your job, and that if you are then you lose momentum and readership and it can be impossible to recover.

  • olandp

    I’ve only been called for jury duty once, and knew many people in the Public Defender’s office. Didn’t serve. Being self employed, if I don’t work I don’t get paid, and many times I am on the verge of financial ruin…

  • lymis

    Jury duty is a royal pain. The time I was chosen to be jury foreman was on my birthday, and pretty much destroyed plans we’d made for it.

    But at the same time, having been involved in a couple of cases, now, I’m left being absolutely convinced that if I am ever in the situation where my future is dependent on some jury, I want people ON that jury who take it seriously and aren’t there just because they didn’t wrangle a slick way out of it.

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    OH, honey, take a book and a flask. Or just the flask that looks like a book.

  • Here is how I got dismissed from jury duty during the “jury selection phase” in the Palm Beach County Courthouse. The trial was a civil case, someone who was convicted of driving drunk (DUI) was being sued by this Iranian American guy. There were 14 of us and they selected 6, and I made sure to be as obnoxious as hell during the selection process. This is the actual conversation as I remember.

    Lawyer representing the plaintiff who is doing the suing: Do any of you think that personal injury cases such as this one do not belong in courtrooms like this?

    Eddi Raises his hand: Well, where ELSE do they belong?

    Lawyer: Looks at Judge (kinda like a nicer Florida Judge Judy)

    Judge: he’s asking a rhetorical question (and stares at Eddi)

    Eddi. Looks at judge: I am NOT asking a rhetorical question. I
    am curious. If they don’t belong in a courtroom like this, where
    else do they belong? How can I answer his question if I don’t know
    what he is talking about?

    Judge: Gives Eddi a nasty look

    Lawyer: Well, some people object to cases like this tying up the jury system. Many people resent having to do jury duty. And if you feel this way we need to know.

    Eddi: What does THAT have to do with it?

    Judge: Mr. Haskell, enough please!


    Second half of jury process (Eddi wants to make sure he is the most
    obnoxious thing that day for jury selection so he can go home).

    Lawyer representing the drunk guy: Do any of the prospective jurors feel that their decision in awarding damages in this case may be influenced by the fact that the defendant here pleaded guilty to DUI?

    Eddi raises his hand: Yes, me!

    Lawyer representing drunk guy: Well Mr. Haskell. Are you saying that you may not consider the facts clearly in this case because the defendant has admitted that he was driving under the influence?

    Eddi: No, I’m saying that if he hurt this guy cause he was driving drunk he needs to pay triple damages. Isn’t that the law in this state? Why was he driving drunk to begin with ?

    Lawyer representing the drunk guy: Mr. Haskell please be quiet, I am not asking you for your opinion. Please be quiet!!!!

    Judge asks lawyers to approach the bench and stares at Eddi. Judge puts on white noise sound and both lawyers talk to judge

    Judge: Mr. Haskell, you are dismissed. You can leave now. Looks at Eddi as if shes ready to throw a contempt citation against him.

  • bambinoitaliano

    The moment I get summon to serve as jury the first thing I ask what would Trump do? :P!

  • Brad Clark

    I had grand jury duty in Queens several years ago. It was a month long and horrible.

  • Doug Blanchard

    I was on a federal grand jury in Manhattan 20 years ago. Be prepared for a month of service from 9AM to 4PM.
    My job at the time paid badly and really sucked (retail), so for me, grand jury service was interesting rewarding work at the time, and the pay was about the same.

  • Robert Adams

    My fear has always been being judged by 12 people who lack the smarts to get out of jury duty.

  • Dirty Harry

    Jury summons story

    Yeah, I got 1 and in waiting room. Then got called into judges chambers for a capital murder case.

    Perspective jurors are being interviewed by judge, prosecutor & defendants legal team for over an hour. Then my name was called. Interview was strange. Judge focuses on clothing I’m wearing.

    Judge asks question about jacket, is that Gore-Tex? Answered yes. Then Judge rubs my shirt & asks what is it? Answered custom made Egyptian cotton. Then prosecutor asks question about waist belt. Answered alligator belt, not fake. Then judge asks about pants. Answered Canali Milano Italy slacks. Then both judge & prosecutor stare at shoes. Answered custom made lizard shoes.

  • Lars De

    Do a bunch of “Open Thread” topics! That keeps us running for hours and hours!

  • Tipsy

    I’ve been called to serve on a jury twice. The first time (back in Canada) I was only 17 years old and thus ineligible to serve. The second time I wasn’t even a US citizen, just in the US on a work visa. Both times I was instantly excused, but still had to go through the process.

  • MikeInLAS

    My husband and I were summoned and seated next to each other for a Las Vegas trial. During jury selection, the judge asked him what his wife did which he promptly corrected to “husband” and explained my career, not pointing me out specifically. The judge then asked me during my questioning the same to which I corrected “husband” and said “he’s already stated to the court his occupation…he’s seated next to me.” We were both selected to sit on an attempted murder case.

    The judge noted that in his 30 years he had never known of spouses to be seated together and certainly never a same sex married couple. We were advised not to discuss the case at home which we didn’t.

    During deliberations we were on opposite sides of guilty/innocent but both changed our minds to the other side upon considering the evidence. The case was hung…not just by us BTW.

    After the trial the prosecution met with us and noted they had selected us assuming we would vote as a block. They were wrong.

  • MonochromeMouse

    bring up “jury nullification”, judges hate that and will often dismiss jurors who understand what it means

  • mjcc1987

    3rd floor, south bathroom, 4th stall – Outstanding service….. assuming you have some down time………..

  • Oikos

    Was called for Jury duty.

    Defendant was accused of using stolen checks to make purchases and then returning items for cash.

    Defense Attorney : The defendant will not be testifying on his own behalf. Would this be an issue for you as a juror

    Me: If I wasn’t guilty of something I would be on the stand testifying about my innocence

    Judge: Dismissed.

  • Neely OHara

    I’ve been called several times but never selected — here’s why. They’ll do a roll call and ask for the response “morning, afternoon, or excused.” (The bailif informed us that in his 27 years with the court NO ONE who responded “excused” ever was, and warned us that that route was a non-starter.)

    I’m at the end of the alphabet, but even if you’re at the beginning its possible that you “didn’t respond because you didn’t hear your name called the first time” (hint). I’m making up the numbers here, but say there were 200 names being called to fill 120 slots — 60 are going to serve in the morning, 60 in the afternoon, and 80 people are going to be dismissed.

    Keeping a hash tag list of how many requested AM and how many requested PM you’ll realize it’s heavily weighted in favor of one or the other (I think it was AM but it doesn’t matter). If 120 choose AM and the other 80 choose PM, then choose AM yourself when your name is called, because HALF of those who 120 who chose AM will be dismissed, as they only need to fill 60 slots. On the other hand, only 20 of the 80 who called PM will be dismissed.

    Yeah it a crap shoot, but perfectly legitimate. I’ve been called at least 3 times and walked away every time after using this system.

    Good luck Joe. And hey, we need you more than they do!

  • Christo

    I was summoned for Grand Jury service several years ago. I called for info and was told it would require two days a week for 4 MONTHS. One day a week was hearing cases and handing out indictments, the other day was spent going on field trips to learn about various aspects of the criminal justice system (jail, coroner, etc). When I explained that I worked in sales and that service would hurt my income, they were very understanding and removed me from the roster. They told me that the time requirement meant that most Grand Juries were comprised solely of retired folk.

  • SLK in SF

    I’m sure you will be the grandest juror ever!

    • olandp

      How is it that I can tell your avatar is Joe Dellesandro?

      • SLK in SF

        Good eye, impressive!

        • olandp

          He oozes sex out of every pore and fiber of his being and the camera picks it up…

          • SLK in SF

            Couldn’t agree more. πŸ™‚

  • John Calendo

    I sat on a jury once. It was interesting, mercifully concluded by the end of the day. But once was enough. Subsequently, I’ve gotten out of jury.

    One thing that works like a charm, if the case involves drugs, talk about your 12 step program and how you can’t help but have a bitterness toward pushers. Similarly with drunk drivers.

    If you’re a man of a certain age, you have prostate issues. Complain about them. If legit, get your doctor to write a note about how you frequently have to empty your bladder, or have trouble sitting for 20 minutes at time.

    Also, demographics can get you out of jury duty. Looking gay, looking educated, going out of your way to look too professional (buttoned-up, suit and tie) often gets you dismissed from a cases that have an urban street character.

  • HandyAndy

    I was the foreman on a Federal trial in the Eastern District of Kentucky a few years ago.

    It was the trial of the pastor of a cult called Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God. It was a splinter-group of Armstrongism that had no physical churches, but the members would gather weekly in conference/meeting/hotel spaces to listen to the pastor giving a two hour sermon, either from his home or from one of the local groups worldwide and transmitted via the internet.

    The pastor declared himself a prophet, and that he and his wife were the two “witnesses of the Revelation” and he kept predicting dates for Judgement Day. They had a very strict tithing policy, and members were encouraged to send in all their money, max out credit cards, and take out second mortgages to send to the “church” in order to recruit as many people to be saved as possible before the end of days.

    Essentially, this pastor was raking in millions per year, and spending the bulk of the money on himself and his family. Their house, cars, daily expenses, college, everything, was paid for from the church members through co-mingling of church and personal bank accounts.

    None of what I described above was technically what he was charged with. He was on trial because while he was getting all of this cash by fleecing his flock, and living the good life, he was reporting a $35,000 per year salary on his taxes for five years.

    Eight days of prosecution testimony, looking through thousands of bank statements, cancelled checks, and shopping receipts, less than one day of defense testimony. Four hours for a guilty verdict on all counts, and believe me, I had to stretch out the discussion as much as I could before voting to get it to four hours. I didn’t want to risk a mistrial by coming back with a verdict in 10 minutes.

    After the trial was over, I found a support group blog online for people who had been in the church and had gotten out, and they were all saying that they wished they could have been at the trial to hear all of the charges and evidence, so I granted their wish, became a guest writer for the blog, and told them all everything.

    The pastor got 42 months in Federal minimum-security prison.

    • medaka

      What a story. Your’re a hero — and too bad the good pastor isn’t still in prison.

    • StraightGrandmother

      You are a nice guy. I’m sorry but I have limited sympathy for people who get suckered in by religion.

      You have to be a really weak person to be suckered in by the perp-pastor.

  • Dot Beech

    I’ve done this same grand jury, but in Brooklyn. On most days, you are almost certain to have down time. So long as you can have your laptop with you, your work here will get done. Good luck.

  • Traxley Launderette

    I’ve been summoned for jury duty twice and impaneled both times.

    The first trial was a case of home invasion. A latino family had to return to Mexico for a funeral and discovered their apartment had been sacked when they got back. It happened in a rough neighborhood. We found the defendant guilty, primarily due to the testimony of a tiny, but courageous, grandma who saw the defendant dragging stereo speakers down the snowy sidewalk. You don’t snitch in the hood, but she came with a couple of her grandchildren to support her. She said she wanted to live in truth. She convinced us.

    The second trial was to determine if the defendant had committed perjury during an earlier deposition. He was being questioned in a murder case in which a young woman was shot and killed in her apartment. She was a social worker who worked with recovering addicts and offenders as they rebuilt themselves. Apparently the killer thought that one of his former drug associates was at the woman’s apartment and was selling again. They guy wasn’t selling, wasn’t there, but that didn’t stop the killer from shooting her point-blank in her kitchen.

    We were asked to determine if the defendant perjured himself regarding testimony over use of a cell phone — he said he’d never used the phone, even though it was in his name. Long story short, we were given dozens of pages of phone logs and records of which towers had pinged his phone at specific dates and times. We also listened to his testimony about his whereabouts during the time period in question. It took awhile, but we decided that the phone was his, that the phone records placed him in the immediate vicinity of the murder at the time it was committed.

    When we read the verdict, I thought the bailiff would need to restrain the guy. He had been glaring in our direction the whole time, but he was enraged now.

    The victim’s sisters, on the other hand, were sobbing in relief. The victim was the youngest daughter of a large farm family, and the only one who’d left the farm to live in the city. Her family was thrilled that there was now a chance for her killer to be brought to justice. (Unsurprisingly, her murder didn’t get a lot of press because she wasn’t a pretty blond with money; instead, she was a sweet woman with a large frame living in a run-down building who hung out with the poors.)

    And he was. He was charged with first-degree murder. Based on evidence that included his newly-minted perjury conviction, he was found guilty — life, no parole. Best feeling ever.

  • BaoPhac Do

    So Justin Trudeau was in the Montreal Pride parade yesterday.

    • sherman

      Shirtless photo or it didn’t happen.

  • Robert Adams

    When I was called for jury duty, I told the judge and lawyers that my brother-in-law, who had been a cop, lost his job because he perjured himself in a criminal case he had been involved in, all of which was true.

    I then told them I had no faith in anything a cop said under oath in court because my brother-in-law told me all cops lie. I was dismissed in minutes.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Dis the other jurors and potential jurors hear you say that?

  • John T

    When I hear the words “grand jury” what comes immediately to mind is either a diva prosecutor making a spectacle out of indicting a ham sandwich, or a corrupt justice system ensuring that murderous cops get acquitted. I guess I’m a bit cynical.

    • Friday

      I think Joe can probably expect a lot of relatively minor cases rather than necessarily any big story.

  • Friday

    Grand jury duty was actually OK for me: they had it set up so it wasn’t too demanding, just a day or two a week for several months, and I could usually make it through cause it tended to get our early. Kinda big on the civic duty thing, actually, and that seemed a much better fit for my chronic health issues than a continuous trial might have been.

    They say you can indict a ham sandwich down here…

  • Piernudo15

    I got called for jury duty about 10 years ago in Tucson. It was a drug smuggling case. The first two prospective jurors to be dismissed were a young Latino who said he didn’t trust cops, thought they were all corrupt – and an old hippie who said he believed recreational marijuana use should be legal. I think they were both being truthful.

  • NMNative

    I’m not sure how they do it in NY, but, in NM I was summoned to be on petit grand jury and was told that I had to call in every Friday by 10 am to see if they wanted me to show up on Monday. For SIX months! Every Friday for six months, starting in October I was supposed to be on call for the state. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything that involved going out of town for more than a few days. For SIX months. I’m all for doing my civic duty, but, I felt they were way out of line requiring me to put my life on hold for that long. A month, maybe even two, but six? I asked to be removed from the list as we are both retired and travel a lot and are constantly going out of town. We already had two trips planned. They refused. I managed to get around it, legally, but, still feel that the state was asking too much when they require that much time.
    How much time do they require where you live?

    • Bj Lincoln

      That sucks! Ohio was 3 weeks and Baltimore was only 1 phone call after filling out some paperwork on line the week before.

    • Friday

      Here it was basically a morning a week for, maybe it was six months. Technically I was an alternate: I’d told the judge I have chronic health issues but would be happy to do my best. It turned out I had pretty good luck that way, only missed a couple of days, and that let a lot of other people be more flexible about it.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    Unlike with regular juries, there is no voir dire process and there appears to be little chance
    I’ll be dismissed for being self-employed, a social justice activist, a
    journalist with a long history of being critical of the police, or a hologram.

    Mention the care and attention required of your pussy!

    • clay

      Miss Slocum would approve.

  • kanehau

    Joe… while I always enjoy serving Jury Duty (as it is truly great being a part of the process) – there are times where it is inconvenient.

    For some reason I get picked for jury duty yearly – go figure. One year the duty was assigned when we were going to vacation in New Zealand.

    I mentioned to the judge, and presented my tickets etc, that I would need to leave perhaps while the trial was still going on.

    The judge denied my request to not serve (and this was also at a court house 100+ miles from my home). Basically saying that if I had to leave during the trial, my alternate would take over.

    The case was a dispute between a landlord and two doctors. I assumed by ‘doctors’ they meant PHD’s… but during the jury selection questioning I discovered they were medical doctors.

    I had been recently screwed big time by a doctor – for designing a software system for him – so I was none too fond of doctors. Likewise, I’m none too fond of lawyers.

    When asked what I thought of most lawsuits… I responded “not worth the paper they are printed on”. (The landlord lawyer liked that, as the doctors were suing the landlord.)

    When asked what I thought of doctors… I responded “most are arrogant and feel they are gods”. (The landlord lawyers liked that too.)

    When asked what I though of lawyers… I responded “a necessary, but undesirable evil”. (NEITHER party liked that one.)

    I was dismissed before you could say GET OUT! By both sides.

    After I returned from my New Zealand trip – I ran into one of the other women on the Jury. She said she ended up being my alternate and that “Everyone LOVED my answers to the judge”.

  • Bj Lincoln

    I was summons for a murder case just weeks ago. I probably could have gotten off due to health issues but i don’t mind doing my duty. The issue was the murder in question happened just around the corner from my house and while i didn’t recognize names i may recognize faces of the young men involved. That and everyone in the neighborhood knows the tattooed artist with sculpture in her front yard. I didn’t want them recognizing me. The state seemed fine with that but thankfully the defense was not.

  • Miji

    Never been on a grand jury, but have been on a criminal case for allegedly armed robbery in Queens and a civil jury for a fairly minor car accident in Brooklyn. On the first case I was the last hold-out for convicting on one of the charges and inadvertently got my jury sequestered. If the bailiff had come in 10 minutes later, we would have already revoted, had a decision, and gone home. I felt awful, but everyone was really nice about it. We were taken to a hotel at JFK overnight and had dinner and breakfast there. It was an inconvenience, but since many of the others would have liked to have seen a conviction, they didn’t mind and thought that at least they were able to make the guy sweat for one more night. In the end, we were only able to convict on a possession of stolen property charge. The second case was a joke. The civil case was ridiculous. The plaintiff’s lawyer had watched too much Law and Order and kept making farcical claims and being overly dramatic

  • Marides48

    Will miss you Joe, maybe I’ll use the extra time wisely.

  • Ginger Snap

    I was asked if there was any reason why I couldn’t sit on a Drunk Driver case.

    I stood up and said “yes I’m gay” I was immediately dismissed. It was the late 80’s and as most of you know we were all just AIDS Fags then.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Oh no you didn’t did you?
      Oh my word if true you have cojones.

      • Ginger Snap

        I absolutely did. It was war between our government and the LGBT community. With my friends dying from AIDS around me I had no respect for our government or our legal system back then. I was fired up by ActUp and had to be out and proud for the sake of those dying and I knew they would not want a “faggot” as a juror.

        • StraightGrandmother

          My admiration for you knows no bounds.

  • Iain Gardener

    I can’t speak of experience of Grand Juries as I’m a Brit but I did serve on a jury about 5 years ago. Based on my experience bring plenty of reading materials!

  • Rick

    I served on a drunk driving case in San Francisco once. I don’t mean to be unkind, but the collective IQ of the jurors was distressingly low. They didn’t want to convict him because he had a family. The man had had 12 beers in a bar and then went careening down Mission Street in his truck! He could have killed how many other families? It was absurd.

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      Sounds like petite jury, not grand.

  • UrsusArctos

    As a Grand Juror you DO have the right/ability to ask questions. People assume that the prosecutor has all the power. Nope. Grand jurors can ask for information if they either like or dislike what has been presented to them. My dad earned the eternal irritation from a states attorney for making him work for indictments.

    • BobSF_94117

      They probably frown on asking, “Can I go home now?”.

  • Dejerrity Mycron

    Let me know if Perry Mason is as hot as I think he is, Case closed and I’ll see you in my chambers.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Beware of Della Street. She’s not what she appears to be.

  • royinhell

    I’ve done Federal Jury Duty in Manhattan (where they also choose Grand Juries) a few years ago- and it’s different from the normal criminal court in that you are NOT allowed to bring any electronics into the building with you. All phones/tablets/laptops had to be checked. They should tell you this on your summons if it still applies. It was very cool to spend a few days in a huge room with other New Yorkers who had no options other than reading a newspaper, book, or talking to each other.
    If picked for a Grand Jury, you may be required to serve for 2-3 days a week for up to 18 months. Yep. The relief in the room when those of us not picked were released was palpable.

  • Natty Enquirer

    Treat it like the honor it is to play your part in government. Everyone wants to duck out of jury duty β€” until they wind up in court and face a jury of the poor, unemployed and those who were too stupid to get out of it.

    • Mark

      or…the ones who couldn’t get out…and therefore you’re guilty in 30 seconds or less cuz they all want to go home.

  • Mark

    dammit. it’s just buzzing around in my head now. over and over and over.


  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    I did grand jury service about two months ago in New York County. I can’t believe I’m writing this but it was actually two of the most interesting weeks I spent in a long time. We did about 50 cases. It’s interesting because you hear various different cases on all sorts of things. I was on the 2 week all day grand jury. There is a 4 week 1/2 day grand jury as well. After you’re done you get a 10 year exemption. And there is great Chinese food right out the back door. You can get a one time postponement but it’s impossible to get out of without moving out of the county.

    PS you have a picture of the wrong court house posted. the grand jury is going to be meeting in 100 Centre St. which is not nearly as impressive looking as 60 Centre

  • Pfefferdog

    I’d rather have YOU on my jury than anyone else. And I find Jury Duty to be a privilege as well as a responsibility. And very educational, too. Last time I was on a Jury we found that the policeman had lied in his testimony, trying to railroad a person into getting convicted..

  • TJay229

    I work in the Bldg down the street Joez call me, let’s do lunch.

    When I was called, It was in Brooklyn.. And I watched HBO and Shotime all day… For three days to not get selected. The good thing is, It lasts for 5yrs so.. I’m set.

  • Guy in CA

    The Grand Jury I served on here in California was for one year, reporting as need by the District Attorney. But, any jury service in San Francisco was always educational, entertaining and fun. Especially the part after the trial when I usually ended up going home with one of the other jurors! πŸ˜‰

  • TuuxKabin

    Ouuchk. Shelly going to Kitty Kat Day Kare or hold down the fort? Hope it serves you well, and vice versa. I filled out a ‘survey’ in April. One box asked if I am over 70. I have been since late January. The next question was “if over 70 would you prefer to not be considered?” Or some such. I answered yes. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop, i.e., be called to serve.

  • Bill Harnsberger

    BURN THE WITCH! (I mean, if the opportunity presents itself and only if she sinks when you throw her in the lake first. THAT’S the Salem way!)

  • Mike__in_Houston

    I once told a prosecuting attorney that I couldn’t convict somebody on a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. I would require a “beyond a shadow of a doubt”: this was and is true for me.

    I believe that prosecutors only care about getting a conviction. Whether the person they convict is actually the guilty party is a minor detail that can be discounted.

    Anyway, the judge crooked his finger at me and told me that the law only required a reasonable doubt. I told him that I required more than that, and he told me to go back and sit down. That was probably a wasted conversation, as I’m sure the prosecutor had long ago scratched me off the list.

  • Kofender

    Unlike all the comments about sitting on a petit jury, the grand jury is an amazing experience, one of the great civic duties one can perform. When I sat, there were two panels. After two weeks the other panel was dismissed and we kept going for almost two months. And it was well worth it. This isn’t going to be a “12 Angry Men” scenario. You don’t have to come to a unanimous decision. You just have to vote “true bill” or “no true bill” (indict or not). Try to be the foreperson or the secretary of the panel so you get truly involved with the process. Our panel, once we were done, held reunions because we had built such strong relationships with each other. It’s nothing like a petit jury whatsoever. And you can’t just be dismissed. But do it. You might find it an incredibly rewarding experience.

  • Jerry

    Every 3 years I’m summoned. Being an accountant, they always seem to request my presence in mid-to-late March, and I have always been dismissed as it’s an impossibility to actually serve then.

    • Tor

      We can reschedule to a specific date, here in California. A former coworker told me to always request a week with a Monday holiday, because lawyers don’t like to work in holiday weeks. True or not, it seems to have worked.

      • Jerry

        This was always for grand jury…whether to indict or not. And it would be multiple cases and stretch over weeks, if not 2 months. Even later in the year, it would be a hardship to take that much time off.

  • TheManicMechanic

    With Joe on the case, it will be a Grand (AND A HALF!) Jury. πŸ˜‰

    Have fun, if possible!

  • Stubenville

    My mother was a civilian employee of the State Police. It has gotten me off of jury duty every time, so mention any ties you have to law enforcement, not matter how distant. I would discourage you from lying, however.

    • coram nobis

      Let go “for cause”? Or preemptory? Just curious.

      • Stubenville

        Peremptory twice. Then I moved to Suburban Philly and asked to be excused since I was the owner of a sole proprietor consulting business. Shockingly, I was placed on a “permanently excused” list for that reason.

  • coram nobis

    Been called to jury panels — county, not Federal — now and then over the years, but usually turned loose either in the jury room (they drop a lot of people there) or in voir dire. Got stuck on a civil jury one time for three weeks, however — and the fact that I was a local ACLU activist didn’t get me off of that, since it was two sets of property owners suing each other over something.

    Spouse got let go from a panel once because he admitted he was in a relationship with me. That was a few years ago and not permissible now in this state.

  • SoCalGal20

    Good luck, Joe!

    Served on a jury once at the downtown criminal courts building in L.A. Defendant was pro se. He was accused of stealing his children from foster care. Word of advice, unless you’re actually a lawyer or have studied a LOT, don’t defend yourself. Anyway, this guy was a piece of work, with an ego rivaling Drumpf’s. Our judge reminded me of Judge Judy and she was not having any of his bullshit. The whole thing was very interesting even if it took a week longer than it should have. Part of that was due to Easter, part was due to the ineptitude of the defendant, and part of it was due to regular court business (the judge had arraignments scheduled in the morning). And the jury panel was pretty great. Several retirees, a planetary scientist from JPL who was working on one of the Mars missions, etc.

  • CityWOOF

    I loved being on the jury! I even gleefully volunteered to be jury foreman. I had been in a production of 12 Angry Men and knew just how to proceed and keep things rolling. I was right! We were outta there in a few hours.

  • Scott

    Why on earth would you want to be dismissed from jury duty especially if you are a social justice activist? There are civil and criminal cases that affect LGBT people, other persecuted minorities, poor people and even corporate battles about malfeasance that effects us all. We need progressives to sit on these juries. Acting as the scold, I’m a little upset that you are putting out there this notion that jury duty is a big burden that should be avoided. I’m a civil rights attorney for LGBT and poor people. I’ve only been called for jury duty once and it was a great experience. We got some guy off a trumped up drug possession charge and had to push back against the racist guy from Bay Ridge who assumed the guy was guilty just because he was black. So please, do your duty, serve on a jury, make sure justice is served, and encourage others to do so.

    • Corsair Tact

      Unless you are a sole practitioner whose clients will be hurt by your absence, I don’t think you can really relate. Joe’s work is dependent upon him being connected daily to this website. I also don’t think he’s trying to shirk his duty as much as he’s looking at the practical impact of what this means. I don’t think your scold is helpful although I salute your work and dedication to your clients.

      • Scott

        There are all kinds of people who think they or their work are so important they should be exempt from jury duty. In fact, the courts used to agree and would exempt doctors, lawyers, and others based on how important they thought their work was. I read Joe’s blog daily, but I’m sorry, operating a blog is not so special that it merits an exemption. Now it’s mostly reserved for active duty service members and police/fire people. It’s sweet that you think Joe’s work is vital to the smooth and orderly operation of society but you can make the same arguments for many other kinds of professions. Also, there’s nothing stopping Joe from blogging in the morning, at lunch and after 5 pm because I guarantee you the courts are not letting those arguments/deliberations run past the end of their work day.

  • JoyZeeBoy

    I sat through voir dire once in NY Federal Court on some drug case thing. As soon as they found out that I worked at Lehman Bros I was summarily dismissed by both attorneys and the judge. I could only surmise that the trading desk at Lehman was one of the dealer’s biggest clients.

  • Oh’behr

    When I was younger, I’d done daytime jury duty several times (6 or 7) without any problem. Now, I’m not a always, awake daytime person as my sleeping schedule is erratic. I’m awake mostly at night. A few years ago, the last time I got a jury duty notice, one county allowed me to be dismissed with a doctor’s note as I’d have to drive 25 miles one way and I feared that I might kill someone if I didn’t sleep well the night previously and had to get up at 7 A.M. for a 8:30 A.M. jury duty appearance. I hate shirking my civic duty, yet there are times when it is wise to pick someone else from the pool when they don’t have a night court in my county. I’d gladly be there if they had a night court from 10/11 P.M. to 6/7 A.M. as I could be lucid at midnight, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. A.M. to serve on a jury.

  • infmom

    The wifi at the downtown Los Angeles courthouses is good. I’ve had several opportunities to test it.

  • Chris Lion

    Not sure how it is in NY, but my dad was on the Grand Jury in California a number of years back. It was 1 year and I’m not sure how often they met, but it didn’t effect my dad’s career as a banker at all. I got the impression they met in the evenings so everyone could work.

  • A buddy / coworkers was called to Federal Grand Jury here in Seattle and they sat every other Thursday for 18 months. There were no exemptions. One of the guys called lived on the other side of the state and was self-employed. He had to drive 8 hours from eastern Washington to Seattle and get a hotel room every other Wednesday. All day in court on Thursday and then drive 8 hours back. He explained what a hardship this would be on his livelihood but the court said nope, no exceptions.
    They heard primarily drug cases and my buddy said the defendants were some of the stupidest people he’d ever encountered. He actually felt sorry for them. It was a parade of societies most disadvantaged. At the end of the 18 months they said they were going to extend it for 18 more months but they had the option of turning it down. He turned it down despite really enjoying it because he was worried he’d be fired.

  • UiscePreston

    They used to have the preliminary questionnaire here and so with my last experience with that thing, I filled it out like a mental patient. I wrote with the wrong hand. I misspelled everything. I ranted against the government – in other words, I did my best impersonation of a Faux News watcher. I got asked to leave about an hour after I turned in that work of art. Didn’t hear from them for ten years.

    Now, when you get the summons you have to go and sit all week at $20 a day until you are randomly selected for voir dire. I got called for the week before Labor Day. About 150 of us sat in a room on Monday doing nothing because no judges were hearing any new case. We all came in on Tuesday, sat until about 3pm and got told that maybe one judge wanted to squeeze in a quick trial before the holiday. They draw ten names out of a hat. Sent the rest of us home with a letter that said we couldn’t be called for two years, and told us the check was in the mail and that we had to claim the forty bucks on our taxes.

    I actually was kinda upset because I wanted the hundred bucks for the whole week, or to get put on a jury and either exonerate or execute someone depending what they wore over the course of their trial. Fashion has its own judicial system – me.

  • B Snow

    +1000 points for the Liz Lemon video.

  • Helen Damnation βœ“α΅›α΅‰Κ³αΆ¦αΆ αΆ¦α΅‰α΅ˆ

    Financial burden would seem to me a reasonable cause to not be able to serve on any jury. I’m sure most of us would serve if there was no impact on our incomes.

  • Rob Hustad

    You never know what may get you out of being on a jury – here’s the reason I was dismissed for a wrongful death suit against a hospital in Mpls: A year earlier, an ER EKG operator was taking my bf’s heart vitals when she bragged about how she never thought she’d work in a hospital as she was only trained to do animal EKGs. I was dismissed.

  • David

    I was stuck in the courthouse by city hall downtown for a couple of days and I can attest that the wifi s pretty good…

  • One of the many interesting things that happened when I was on a jury was how the defendant was found not guilty (being a stupid kid in the approximate vicinity of marijuana doesn’t make you a criminal) but the arresting officer got in trouble when it came out that he’d conducted an illegal strip search. If it paid more I’d probably be on juries more often.

  • gfunkdave

    It’s really not a big deal. I did regular jury duty in NYC and my hubby did grand jury. We both found the process fascinating. He was in court about 4-5 hrs a day for a little less than two weeks. My case lasted just a week. And the courthouse downtown had decent wifi.

  • Say “Hi” to Jack McCoy for me! πŸ˜‰

  • Charlie 2001

    The handling of Grand Juries varies from place to place. I sat on one
    about 5 years ago. We served 28 days with two possible call back days.
    So this was 9-5 M-F for almost six weeks. If I am ever called for one
    of these again I will try for a medical exemption. I have had a stroke
    in the past and when I do not get proper rest it can have consequences.
    And it is hard to sleep when you have looked at pictures of children
    being beaten by there parents until they are bleeding. But I don’t
    regret doing grand jury at least once because it was very interesting. In the jurisdiction I served in they had two types of Grand Juries, ones that handled Rapid Indictment Program cases where a policeman was usually the only witness and juries that considered more involved cases with lots of witnesses. I could recuse myself from any case that I felt I might not be able to give an objective opinion about and I did so on a case where a gay kid was threatened with a gun (or something that looked like a gun) right in front of my townhouse.
    I wrote a lot of stuff about my service but decided it was too long and deleted it (I had a lot more to write too). I will say that the panel I served on was rebelling about they fact that they could not take their smart phones into the building. They had to be checked with the guards upon entering the building. There is a good reason for this. Grand Jury testimony is secret and yet people were posting pictures and tweeting about what was being said while it was happening. There was an incredible amount of bitching about not having their phones. So people should not be expecting to have many updates to JMG for the next few weeks. I suppose you could post the DA’s email address and have your readers ask to have you released from service. But you will find that this experience is very enlightening particularly the hate crimes.

  • Ron

    I have a Prince Albert piercing! The last time I was called for JD I awoke about ten time the night before fearing that I would mistakenly wear it and get caught going through the metal detector!

  • If Joe’s info about this jury set-up is accurate, he WILL be on this jury.

    A wonderful thing for justice.

    Sign me,

    Proud of Joe

  • yetanotherLaura

    Grand jury service isn’t like regular jury service. I was called to be on a federal grand jury when I lived in Austin, but unfortunately was moving so couldn’t do it. But I was told it only met half-days (although in Austin I’m sure they aren’t as busy as in New York), and not every day by any means.

    The grand jury’s sole purpose is to listen to prosecutors detailing evidence they have against someone and then deciding whether or not an indictment should be issued. There is NO defense testimony permitted; it’s totally one-sided, simply to get indictments. And there’s no judge. There’s no sitting in a room waiting to be called and getting to go home if you’re not. It’s a totally different animal.

    So it’s your decision, Joe, whether you want to rubber-stamp the prosecutors, as so many grand juries seem to do, or whether you want to stand up to them. Having no idea of just how complete the evidence they offer actually is and what legal process you’re required to follow, I have no idea how easy or difficult the latter would be. But knowing that grand juries in high-profile cases sometimes refuse to indict suggests that it’s entirely possible to stand up to them when the evidence warrants it.

    Good luck, Joe, and I have no worries about whether you’ll follow the dictates of your conscience no matter what everyone else does! And if you can’t post here as often, perhaps you can just open a thread on an occasional break to give us a chance to chat about what we’re seeing elsewhere. That way we won’t end up with 2000+ post threads on the ones you do manage to get up!

  • Asphyxia 8

    I actually rather enjoyed grand jury duty! Not nearly as boring as a single trial, as you get a whirlwind of different cases each day. Granted, I was paid by my employer for the time, so I totally understand your apprehensiveness. I hope you’re able to make the most of it. Good luck!

  • Billy N.

    Joe…my boyfriend did Grand Jury about 4 years ago in downtown Manhattan. It was a month long – and he had to appear Monday to Thursday, but only for half a day (I think it was 9 to 1). He could not get out of it, although he tried. His experience was that most of the cases were rape/assault related. Good luck.

  • andrew

    My sister was on a Federal Grand Jury in Pa and she had to serve one day a week for a year.

  • anne marie in philly

    I sat on a civil jury for 1.5 days; we the jury denied the plaintiff extra compensation for an auto accident. she had already received $15K from the defendant, her lawyer was an idiot, and she didn’t help her case by the clothing she wore.

  • glass

    Hmmm… grand jury duty? [tears off a sheet of aluminum foil, wraps around head] Or is it a right wing plot to have you off the internet for 2 weeks while they try and steal all your readers over to the white jesus sites?
    I just knew if Obamacare became legal, shit like this would start happening.
    Thanks Obama!!!!!

  • Good Luck then

  • StraightGrandmother

    I don’t think I would be a very good juror as I tend to believe everybody. I could never ever be a Jury Foreman, I am not that good at “reading” people. I most likely would be influenced highly by the other jurors.

  • JCF

    “I will do my best to keep things flowing
    on this here website thingy, but obviously posting will be sporadic and I
    won’t be able to react immediately to breaking stories.”

    Ack! Jonesing already! :-O

    God- FSMspeed, Joe…

  • e jerry powell

    Do some JUSTICE!

  • Maggie 4NoH8

    Please let it be a case against Drumpf University…

  • Ray

    Deaf. Exempt.

  • Jolenebcampbell4

    <<hp. β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…βœ«β˜…β˜…::::::!ir182m:….,……