Jury duty started bright and early at 8am. We all crowded in and waited as pools were selected and sent off to courts. I was prospective juror number 24 out of 54 (all that could be seated in the courtroom). I do not mind participating in our system of justice, but you would have to be a moron to pick me for a jury. The matter was a felony evading arrest with previous conviction. The judge assured everyone that the trial would not take more than a few days and asked who had travel plans. Perfect opportunity for an early strike for cause.
“Your honor, I am flying to #LegalWeek New York Tuesday morning to help conduct a CLE on #eDiscovery and privacy.”
“Juror 24, are you an attorney?”
“No your honor, I am a court certified expert witness in forensics, discovery and legal technology. I am a nightmare on a jury.”
“I can see that.”
Prosecutor and defense counsel write emphatic notes after brief eye contact. I settle back to let the selection process play out before they cut me loose. Instead of culling the pool with early strikes for cause, the selection process dragged out for a solid eight hours. It has been a long time since I last supported jury selection, so I enjoyed the juror questions and analyzing the case strategies based on them. They hit an interesting question that made me watch the responses closely. Something like this:
I generally believe a police officers honesty as a witness more than a normal citizen. Rate your agreement with this statement between one and ten.
One by one the 54 prospective jurors answered. At first, I was shocked as 60-75% declared that they would not believe a police officer over a normal citizen. Then I saw the racial, gender and economic traits that corresponded to the two extremes. Our country and our system of justice has a big credibility problem. I try to stay away from politics in my perspectives, but the implications of this effective spot poll troubled this recovering analyst. The next question asked prospects to rate their experience with the police between one and ten. Again the majority answered with negative ratings and experiences. I answered, “One. And ten. If you want details I can approach the bench. I do not want to poison your jury.”
Everyone deserves an unbiased jury or judge. This experience made me realize that my prior roles and experiences made me unsuitable to sit on a jury. I am betting that many of you have also been struck for cause when called for jury duty. I just hope that the steady implementation of body cams, mobile device forensics and other sources of hard digital evidence will break down the blue wall. It could free LEO’s to tell the truth and regain the public trust so vital to a just and equitable society. Enough of that soapbox for now. Time to finish packing and hit the road to New York!
Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients.
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