Howdy, Jury Duty

Jon Mandle of Crooked Timber fame mentions that he has been selected for (Grand) jury duty. I, too, have recently been selected for jury duty, and the selection raised some interesting moral and legal questions.

To begin with, I don't approve of forced jury duty for the same reason I disapprove of a mandatory draft, or mandatory voting, as is practiced in many other countries. If a jury pool is needed, jurors should be selected voluntarily and paid for their time according to an agreed upon wage commensurate with their opportunity costs. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that we, as citizens, owe some kind of "debt" to society that must be repaid through various kinds of forced labor.

That being said, I wouldn't mind serving on a jury. (Except for the fact that my current date conflicts with my school schedule). To satisfy my curiosity, I actually look forward to it. I just don't like being told what to do.

Regardless, I'm not sure how likely it is that I will make it through all of the various challenges and dismissals. I'm young and in college, but even more importantly, I have fairly radical political views on a number of issues, especially related to the sale and use of drugs. If it is a drug case, and they ask me questions about my views on drug laws, I will not lie, even though doing so would give me a better chance of saving a non-violent drug offender from imprisonment.

But if by some stroke of luck, I actually make it through the jury selection process, and the case in question involves a law with which I fundamentally disagree, boy oh boy what fun will I have.

Georgia, as some of you may know, is one of the few states whose Constitution specifically authorizes jury nullification. In Article I, Section 1, paragraph 11, subsection A, the Georgia Constitution states:

    "In criminal cases, the defendant shall have a public and speedy trial by an impartial jury; and the jury shall be the judges of the law and the facts."

In other words, if the jury disagrees with the law, so much worse for the law.

I am the last person a prosecuting attorney wants on a jury.

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I would lie to get on a jury

I would lie to get on a jury trying a non-violent drug "offender". Firstly, I have zero compunction about lying to any officer of the State, as all my dealings with the State are under duress, but even if I did, I'd consider years of an individual's life, even a stranger's, to be worth more than my nebulous feelings about honesty.

Indiana Supreme Court judge

Indiana Supreme Court judge Rucker writes about
"The Right to Ignore the Law" 33 Valparaiso L. Rev. 444 (1999), exploring a similar Indiana provision. Any good cases in Georgia?

'Not lying' is a good policy as is "never volunteer'. As a student, you most likely won't be called. If dismissed, inform the rest of the pool of their right to decide the law.
They still owe me my $15 for showing up, although i wasn't called.

I just received a Summons

I just received a Summons for jury duty, again. I, too, would find it interesting to serve on a jury if I wasn't forced to lose my income to do it. My employer does not pay one cent if I miss work for jury duty and the $15 - $40 per day they pay you for jury duty is a joke. $40 works out to $5 an hour! I'm a single parent, and I fail to see the "privilege" in losing a potentially significant amount of income (depending on the trial length) so I can "serve" my duty. I would imagine the utility company will still see it as my "civic duty" to pay my bill. If I were the defendant, I wouldn't want several people involuntarily being robbed of their income to be deciding my fate!