Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How 'bout a little rehab?

If a juror cannot set aside his biases and decide a case based upon the merits of that case, an attorney has grounds to strike him for cause. Once a juror admits he can't set those biases aside, that juror cannot be rehabilitated.

In this blog post, Steph from Brooklyn recounts her experience on jury duty and being accosted by a judge when she was noncommittal about her ability to set her biases aside.
He let fly once the door was closed. "Are you going to tell me that you are a Northwestern-educated young woman and that you cannot put your biases aside to be impartial in a court of law?!?" He took out on me all the rage that had been building up inside him for years as busy, educated people figured ways to get out of their civic duty.

I felt bad, but...I had a job that did not look kindly on my taking off work, I was strapped even without the distraction of jury duty. I did not want to serve. I shrugged sheepishly. "I was just answering the lawyers' questions honestly..." I had said. He had stumped away, back into the court room. I was not picked.

Damn that judge. His words rung in my ears today as the lawyers asked virtually the same questions. I was forced to say when asked if I could be impartial despite various and sundry things that I have seen or done, people I knew, that indeed, "Yes, I would try..."
Is that anyway to commend citizens for doing their civic duty?

A special shout out to Dr. Dennis C. Elias, Ph.D., for this find.

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