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Duty Calls

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How many of you love jury duty?

Scene in courtroom, Morrison Will case at Richmond, Indiana, in 1895. The longest jury trial in the U.S. up to that time. Began Jan. 2, ended May 10

I got to perform my civic duty last week.  When you live in D.C. you get called up for jury duty every two years, which people tell me is quite frequent.  The D.C. Superior Court uses a “one day or one trial” system.  The previous times I’ve gone, I’ve taken a book and then read on my iPhone until the battery died.  This time I was finally selected for a trial!  Despite my conversation with the judge that I and my immediate family are in the legal profession, I was picked.  Why is that a voir dire question?  Does knowledge of the law make you potentially biased as a juror?  Or would you try to analyze the law rather than follow the directions?

I sat through an interesting tort trial that lasted two days.  It was the most time I’ve spent in a court room since graduating from law school.  After the jury was selected, the judge advised us not to tweet or post to Facebook anything about our jury service (so I immediately deleted my Sunday evening “off to jury duty” post – what, they can’t tell you that ahead of time?).

Had I got called a week earlier, I might have been selected for the Chandra Levy murder trial, where there was an issue with a potential juror’s tweet.  Instead, I just walked around all the news cameras.

Despite the reputation jury duty has, it was very interesting, and I’m actually glad I was selected.


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