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Effing jury duty


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I don't mind serving.  Hell, I did a 3 week civil trial 3 years ago.  It was awesome.

That being said, I'm to show on Oct 7th this year.  Not only is this Fall Break for my school district, but I'm flying in my daughter from Florida that very morning.  According to the Dallas County website, I can only bow out of this initial appearance per a few excuses that don't apply to me.  I don't want to eschew serving.  I just want to appear at a later date.  

I'm assuming a "no-show" is not a good idea.  Anyone?

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In most cases if you just say reschedule me they will do just that as long as you do it in advance.  Looks like for Dallas County you just need to fill out online questionnaire and likely might have choice there to postpone?  

 

They seem pretty ok with it, from their site:

You can postpone online it says as well at: https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/juryservices/#

Dallas County is fairly lenient regarding postponements of jury service, as long as you serve within 2 months from your original report date.  You may mail a letter to the address on your summons requesting postponement.  If you do not receive a response before your original appearance date, you do not need to appear or call.  A jury summons with a new appearance date will be mailed to you when you have been rescheduled.  Jury Services receives a large volume of mail which frequently cannot be answered before appearance dates.  Do not worry.  You will not be arrested.

 

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21 minutes ago, MonkeyDoughnut said:

In most cases if you just say reschedule me they will do just that as long as you do it in advance.  Looks like for Dallas County you just need to fill out online questionnaire and likely might have choice there to postpone?  

 

They seem pretty ok with it, from their site:

You can postpone online it says as well at: https://www.dallascounty.org/departments/juryservices/#

Dallas County is fairly lenient regarding postponements of jury service, as long as you serve within 2 months from your original report date.  You may mail a letter to the address on your summons requesting postponement.  If you do not receive a response before your original appearance date, you do not need to appear or call.  A jury summons with a new appearance date will be mailed to you when you have been rescheduled.  Jury Services receives a large volume of mail which frequently cannot be answered before appearance dates.  Do not worry.  You will not be arrested.

 

All the way down at the bottom, yes, I see it.

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1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

I could have sworn the last time I got summoned that there was a "one-time" free out that would reschedule you like a month later.  Maybe they only tell you that at the cattle call.  I see no mention of it on the Dallas County Jurors website.

The last time I was summoned was during my honeymoon.  It may have improved since then, but it was not a straightforward process to defer.  So I no-showed in lieu of forfeiting a lot of money.  I’ve been pulled over since and was not sent to PMITA prison.

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Thanks for all the advice.  I recall the last time I went, the first question the judge asked potential jurors was if they had any reason they couldn't serve.  Several had planned vacations and whatnot.  I'm trying to avoid having to show up for the "cattle call" as cited above.

I'm having the same problem I had a couple of days ago with the link posted by @MonkeyDoughnut.  When I click on the link titled, "Jury service postponement request form" it just refreshes the same page.  I don't see anywhere online I can complete said form.  I guess I'll try the mail option.   

And yes, @Paco.  I teach in a year-round school district which has 2 weeks in the fall.  One week is an optional "summer school" that I work for extra $; the other is a week off.

Edit: On the FAQ page, there is a link to fill out a postponement, but the link returns are "503" error message.

Edited by Knoxtnhorn
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I had Tarrant County last month, they gave me a one-time deferral just by emailing saying I wouldn’t be in town on the original date. New date was badass, report straight to the new Civil Courts building, no cattle-call room, all 24 of us dismissed by 10:40 am because the car wreck cases settled. Only inconvenience was I had to wait outside Flying Saucer for a few minutes until they officially opened for lunch. 

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I got called for jury duty in Travis County Justice Court a couple years ago. I thought, fuck it, I can spare a day or less sitting for a JP trial. I registered electronically, picked my preferred date, got a couple reminders as the trial was approaching, and then a couple weeks before got notice that the case was resolved and I wouldn’t be needed. I figured I’m off the wheel for a while.

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My last call was 3 years ago.  President of Park Place (autos) was suing a former employ for fraud - millions.  Clay Cooley testified.  It took 3 weeks and was really interesting.  I kind of like it.  Plus, I think it came out to $750 in pay.  Which would suck in sales or as a waiter, but kind of cool on top of my normal pay for something I actually enjoyed.

Edited by Knoxtnhorn
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I was on Jury Duty a few years ago.  

One of the judges comes out to give the usual talk to the prospective jurors.   After discussing the noble service of being on a jury, he warns that it can get warm in the courthouse because the AC sucks.  He says "when I was a young lawyer for the county, I sued the contractor that built this building because of the bad AC system...I lost the case and the AC still sucks". 

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I had summons about 6-8 weeks ago and I went online and registered/ or called in( I forget shit) but put my name in there.  Friday before the duty day, i get a text that I was excused and did not have to show.  Then they texted me 2 more times to make sure I got it.  LOL.

I like that system.  CMIIAW, but it assigns you to a respective court and if their cases settle/ get dismissed, you don't even have to go in for the cattle call.  Easy peasy.   I know when courts started doing that, people thought if you called in that you were basically guaranteed to serve, as in "put me to the top of the list."  

 

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4 minutes ago, BearSchlong said:

I'd just no-show, and I've served on several juries and believe in civic duty.

My wife did this by accident.  I called ~1 month later (after I found the summons) and apologized.  The person said, "No problem.  Happens all the time." And she received another summons around 1 month later.

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I always go when summoned because I would want at least some semi-intelligent and reasonable members of a jury if I was ever involved in a trial.  Most of the time I'm excluded because the attorneys don't want semi-intelligent or reasonable people on the jury.  However in my many years of eligibility I've actually served on two juries.

The first was a Houston rape case where we found the defendant guilty.  The prosecutor told us later that he had turned down a plea bargain for substantially less than we gave him.

The second was a DUI case in Montgomery County.  The defendant was clearly guilty.  Falling down and slurring on the video, and even admitting on the video he was drunk.  His truck was also filled with empty beer cans.  It was a six member jury and five absolutely refused to vote for guilty.  One said she had heard about the cop from someone else who had received a DUI from him and didn't like him.  The other four basically said everyone drives drunk and so nobody should ever get a DUI.  I argued for a couple of hours and then said fuck it.

Edited by NeverMarryAStripper
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3 hours ago, NeverMarryAStripper said:

I always go when summoned because I would want at least some semi-intelligent and reasonable members of a jury if I was ever involved in a trial.  Most of the time I'm excluded because the attorneys don't want semi-intelligent or reasonable people on the jury.  However in my many years of eligibility I've actually served on two juries.

The first was a Houston rape case where we found the defendant guilty.  The prosecutor told us later that he had turned down a plea bargain for substantially less than we gave him.

The second was a DUI case in Montgomery County.  The defendant was clearly guilty.  Falling down and slurring on the video, and even admitting on the video he was drunk.  His truck was also filled with empty beer cans.  It was a six member jury and five absolutely refused to vote for guilty.  One said she had heard about the cop from someone else who had received a DUI from him and didn't like him.  The other four basically said everyone drives drunk and so nobody should ever get a DUI.  I argued for a couple of hours and then said fuck it.

DUI’s go to trial? Lol

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5 hours ago, BearSchlong said:

I'd just no-show, and I've served on several juries and believe in civic duty.

They'll come around again.

Can anyone point to an actual situation where someone got contacted for not reporting?

My uncle  told me 10 years ago to write doesn't live here on the outside of the envelope and leave it in the mailbox. I think that was the only time I've ever gotten one 

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10 minutes ago, Surly Bevo said:

I've served on two juries since I got out of UT.   Botched drive by on the first and cap murder on the second.  Really "good
 experiences but I think I'm good from here.

Only criminal case I served on was an open and shut cap murder case 20 years ago.  Victim was a child.  I didn’t sleep well for a while.  No desire to serve on a murder jury ever again.

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10 minutes ago, conVINCEd said:

Only criminal case I served on was an open and shut cap murder case 20 years ago.  Victim was a child.  I didn’t sleep well for a while.  No desire to serve on a murder jury ever again.

Yea when I say "good" I mean the courtesy, professionalism and genuine respect for the process and each other that I observed amongst all the major players (judge, attorneys, the jury). Sitting in that room and seeing all the lives ruined and signing a piece of paper that sent a guy away for life with no parole (prosecution was not seeking death penalty and I ended up the foreman) fucking sucked.

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20 minutes ago, Surly Bevo said:

Yea when I say "good" I mean the courtesy, professionalism and genuine respect for the process and each other that I observed amongst all the major players (judge, attorneys, the jury). Sitting in that room and seeing all the lives ruined and signing a piece of paper that sent a guy away for life with no parole (prosecution was not seeking death penalty and I ended up the foreman) fucking sucked.

Feel mostly the same way, but it sounds like you had better fellow jurors than I did.

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True Story: I was a low numbered potential juror in a jury pool for a criminal case where the defendant was a cop charged with falsifying government documents. I spoke freely during the voir dire. I was not selected for the jury. According to the newspaper the next day, the cop got off on a technicality, although a few of his co-conspirators were convicted in separate cases.

Bernard

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59 minutes ago, Bernard said:

True Story: I was a low numbered potential juror in a jury pool for a criminal case where the defendant was a cop charged with falsifying government documents. I spoke freely during the voir dire. I was not selected for the jury. According to the newspaper the next day, the cop got off on a technicality, although a few of his co-conspirators were convicted in separate cases.

Bernard

This is shocking. 

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I'm a lawdog and I've been a dozen times.

Been on three actual voir dire panels, one civil, one criminal, one civil/jp.  The criminal case apparently pled out before selection started in earnest.  The civil case settled.  And the JP court case got six before getting to me.

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I was also a juror on a DUI trial.  Decently hot former college gymnast (weighed 90-95 pounds) probably 22 or 23 yo went to happy hour for a friend's birthday, had a single margarita and then pulled out in front of someone on the way out of the parking lot. No significant damage but police were called. Performed well on field sobriety but failed breathalyzer and blood test.  Not sure why she bothered to to go to trial. 

 

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Been through voir dire probably a dozen times.  Served on 4 juries; 2 criminal, 2 civil.  I've always found it fascinating.  But now I cringe when I watch a movie/TV Courtroom scene. 

One of the civil trials was just ridiculous.  Woman owned a horse, and want that horse to be trained.  Found a trainer who agree to take that horse's foal as payment.  So Trainer starts training.  Owner gets mad at Trainer and fires her.  Sooooo, did the trainer do enough to have earned the foal.  Jury members all agreed that she had. But the instructions were silent on ownership of the foal.  wtf, right?  Testimony had shown the foal was worth $7000.  Turns out attorney's fees, court and other costs were $19,000.  So the foal was sold to pay.

Also, once I was called into voir dire on a trial on whether a county jail inmate who had attacked a jailer was competent to stand trail.  The inmate had a look about him that I can only describe as "evil".  Thank God, I wasn't picked for that one.

 

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I was in voir dire on a drug case.  There were probably 30 of us and everyone was giving such stupid responses that I thought for sure I'll be chosen.  They ended up dismissing everyone and started over at square 1.  Not sure how common that is.  God help me if I need any help from a jury.

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1 hour ago, Gene Parmesan said:

They ended up dismissing everyone and started over at square 1.  Not sure how common that is.

That isn't very common.  I suspect that someone on the prospective jury panel said something that "poisoned the panel."  It would have to be pretty egregious, but that does happen.  For example, a prospective juror saying something about the defendant would have insurance coverage to cover the judgment or something along those lines.  Judge would rather start from scratch then have the whole trial overturned on appeal from something that happened in voir dire.

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8 minutes ago, Jerry Callo said:

That isn't very common.  I suspect that someone on the prospective jury panel said something that "poisoned the panel."  It would have to be pretty egregious, but that does happen.  For example, a prospective juror saying something about the defendant would have insurance coverage to cover the judgment or something along those lines.  Judge would rather start from scratch then have the whole trial overturned on appeal from something that happened in voir dire.

If that's the case, then I think I know what it was.  The defense attorney worded a question strangely regarding drugs and sentencing, and the first guy he asked was a decriminalize it and about 90% of the answers by the rest were the same.  It was something on the lines of being able to pull the trigger on sentencing a guy if this was a third strike?  Most interpreted the question whether they felt that was a good law or not.  The attorney then had to clarify his question, and everyone pretty much switched.

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I work for a state court of appeals and never will be picked based on that fact alone.  Until recently, I have had kids under 12 and have just checked that box.  I've only ended up in one pool and pretty quickly get dismissed once they find out what I do for a living.

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On 9/15/2021 at 4:19 PM, NeverMarryAStripper said:

   It was a six member jury and five absolutely refused to vote for guilty.  One said she had heard about the cop from someone else who had received a DUI from him and didn't like him.  The other four basically said everyone drives drunk and so nobody should ever get a DUI.  I argued for a couple of hours and then said fuck it.

I was pretty much over the trial I served by the time deliberations started (week 3).  The guy was obviously, 100% guilty, but one "B" decided she was not going to vote guilty on any of the 10 or so charges.  Her reasoning?  The accountants at the car dealership should have caught him (embezzling).  A couple of other women on the panel tried to convince her that, yes, perhaps something should have caught someone's eyes at some point over the span of a few years, but it didn't excuse the fact that he committed the damn crime.  She then decided to pout the remaining 2 days because nobody would listen to her.

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On 9/17/2021 at 11:42 AM, Gene Parmesan said:

I was in voir dire on a drug case.  There were probably 30 of us and everyone was giving such stupid responses that I thought for sure I'll be chosen.  They ended up dismissing everyone and started over at square 1.  Not sure how common that is.  God help me if I need any help from a jury.

Busted panels happen from time to time.  On a felony there needs to be 32 people left after challenges for cause have been made.  Each side gets 10 peremptory strikes.  If there are less than 32 and no double strikes the panel is busted.  This can lead to a plea or bringing in another panel.  
 

Sometimes panels are just goofy and cannot follow the law for whatever reason.  Thank all of ya’ll for showing up and taking jury duty seriously.

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My dad was on a jury for a home invasion/kidnapping. Pretty brutal crime, normal Beaumont west end couple, the perp stuffed the wife in a hot car trunk in a garage and then robbed the husband at gunpoint, pistol whipped him bad, made him drive to an ATM for as much cash as he could get.

Dad knew the victims. The guilty convict demanded a jury sentencing and he got it, the max.

When the victim saw my dad on the panel his eyes got real wide and he mouthed "thank you." Dad winked and mouthed "don't worry we got this."

Not sure if all that was kosher but its a good and true story.



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I was on a criminal jury panel in Travis County around 15 years ago.  Once we all got there, I noticed that the panel that actually showed up lacked chromatic diversity -- heavily on the light-skinned side.  One after another, criminal defendants and their attorney's appeared to begin their voir dior.  It was obvious that the attorney's were counting heads of the very few folks that looked like the defendants.  One defendant after another announced that they would accept a plea deal.  The judge ultimately came out right before lunch to thank us for our service -- our panel had cleared out their entire criminal docket scheduled for that week!   

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