Friday, April 11, 2008

Potential Jurors Serve Even When Excused from Service

Seattle Times writer Scott Barry writes about his first jury duty:

"I love working with juries," said King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer. She was presiding over the case for which I was a potential juror and talked about the process a few days after I'd been eliminated from consideration.

* * *

What determines who winds up on a jury and who doesn't?

"It depends on the case. It depends on the prosecutor and the defense," Shaffer said, including their gut reaction to a juror.

"If you sense a juror doesn't like you, doesn't trust you, if you're not establishing a rapport with a juror — that's a lot of what's going on with jury selection."

So why wasn't I picked?

"I don't know," she said. "It could be any one of a number of reasons. But if you [meaning the populace in general] weren't here and weren't a part of this, it wouldn't work."

I'm looking forward to the next time I'm summoned — even if it takes another 40 years.

There's a nice warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with being part of this process. Participatory democracy is a pretty cool thing.
Scott Barry, Jury summons a chance at civic duty, Seattle Times, April 9, 2008.

Judge Shaffer is a UW Trial Ad instructor.

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