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Jury duty October 6, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.

I think doing jury duty is a bit unnerving. At least it was for me and I didn’t even get selected to go onto the actual panel. As far as I can ascertain, the jurors selection process is roughly the same all over the country, whereby names are taken at random from the Register of Electors and a jury service order sent to the individual who is selected. Then you turn up in the courthouse on the selected day.

There normally will be up to a hundred ( yes 100 !) other potential jurors given notice at the same time depending on the amount of cases etc. that might be in court that day. It is likely that you and your fellow potential jurors will be called to assemble in a courtroom an hour or so before proceedings begin. A roll call will be taken and names are noted of people who are not present. Then a member of the court may or may not point out the various different areas of the room and explain what is going on. Down the back, of course there is the usual plethora of wannabe ould fellas who don’t particularly take the thing seriously and stand holding up the rear wall, arms folded talking in loud whispers about GAA or the weather … I also had a fleeting conversation with a jury selection veteran who told me, that if called, a good excuse was to say “Sorry, your Honour, I know the defendant to see !”. This was sure to get you off the hook …

Then it starts to get interesting … into a crowded room packed with potential jurors come the lawyers with robes and wigs and after them with Garda escort comes the defendant. Yes that’s right, the defendant is marched into the room with the 100 or so potential jurors right there and plonked in the middle of them. Our room was so crowded he didn’t even make it to the stand. So the alleged criminal is standing there and they begin to randomly select the jury in his presence and then calling out the names and addresses of selected members of the public. Imagine the face of the defendant when he hears “OK, no.35, Joe Bloggs, 5 Main Street, Ballygobackwards” and Joe has to stand up and face the defendant (who is noting all that is going on). You are right there with the alleged offender and he hears your details and so do his numerous cohorts who are by now bustling and pushing to get in the door of the room.

That unsettled me greatly – it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that a defendant or one of his supporters would note the names and addresses of the jurors as they were called out … this could lead to all sort of things.

If you get called, it is your duty to go along but I, for one, was thankful that I didn’t get selected because I didn’t want to become that involved with the people I would have been judging – it was too close for comfort …

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1. Phil (Jury Duty Sucks) Jones - May 2, 2008

Just came across this guy – http://www.offinia.com -listing valid ways to get out of jury duty. It might be “unconstitutional” but it can’t help to know!! đŸ˜‰

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