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Friday, June 15, 2012

Daydreams of a Jury Foreperson

The past 3 months I have served as Jury Foreperson for the local Grand Jury panel. To put it mildly, I dreaded every Thursday. My 3 months is officially over!

On Grand Jury, the 18 people there are to determine if there is enough evidence (presented by the District Attorney) for the cases to go to trial as a felony. Thats it. Its not a mini trial.

Grand Jury was painstaking, because it seems that many jurors didn't understand this and thought that grand jury was mini-law school, or CSI Kodiak. This was quite unfortunate, as it costs the District Attorneys time, our time as well as the witnesses time. From what I hear, this happens in nearly every grand jury group of people--some groups are worse than others. I believe ours may have been an extreme case.

Any question of witnesses that starts with "I'm just curious" or "what did you think" just shouldn't be asked by a juror.  It wastes time. Two of the sessions in the past 3 months led us into a full second day to get through all the cases.When this happened, I had to cancel all my physical therapy clients the next day and was very disappointed. Disappointed because it could have been avoided if people were more thoughtful about their questions.

I hate to sound snooty about the whole thing, but after several weeks, it seems like there should be some EJECTION process for jurors who exceed their quote of bad questions. Really. Truly. It costs taxpayers dollars.

My Grand Jury Daydream:  having a big red button I could press and after someone has exceeded 3 bad questions, I can press it, which causes a bell to ring and they drop into the floor and disappear from our small grand jury room. Of course that would never work, because people would just ask bad questions on purpose to get off of grand jury. Oh well. A Nice daydream anyhow.

I'm just glad its over with.


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