I've heard of problems picking a jury, but...
...but having to send police to round up jurors? 100 summonses were sent out, and not enough jurors showed up to hold a civil trial.
UPDATE: I'm very pleased with juries around here. The Ariz. Supreme Court, as a very successful experiment, allowed them to submit written questions that are reviewed by the judge and, if proper, asked by him. When the jurors are not passive spectators, they get more involved. And the questions are often quite good ones. In my experience, under 10% ask something inadmissible, and about an equal proportion leave one attorney or the other muttering "why didn't I think to ask that?"
"In Glenn County, potential jurors must be American citizens, reside in the county, speak English well enough to participate in a trial, and not be a convicted felon"
I suspect in some parts of the country the first might be a problem. Of course, I also oppose getting rid of intelligent people...say people who know a malfunctioning AR15 is NOT a machine gun, but I guess that's another story.
Posted by: Tom at January 30, 2008 06:04 PM
Reminds me of a situation I saw in London in the summer of 1966. I was a law student spending time observing barristers in criminal trials at the Old Bailey. The typical jury panel was 13. No voire dire or other questioning of jurors was allowed, each juror just read an oath individually and counsel had to challenge during the reading or forever hold their peace as to that juror.
In this case there were two women on the panel, and before starting both barristers suggested to the judge that the women be dismissed (it was a battery case involving two men with overtones which the judge and barristers considered inappropriate for women to hear at the time.) Anyway, the jury panel was now down to 11 so the judge ordered the bailiff to go get another one off the street. The bailiff came back in a couple of minutes with another man, the jury was sworn and trial began. It was over in under 4 hours (opening statement to verdict - typical of the trials I watched that summer) so it wasn't a big imposition on the new guy.
Posted by: wrangler5 at January 30, 2008 08:48 PM
When I was practicing law, I had a lot of trials in a small Missouri town. The town layout was typical of the region - a town square with the courthouse in the middle.
On the occasions when not enough prospective jurors showed up, the judge would send a couple of deputies across the street to the only restaurant on the square with instructions to bring all the patrons over to the courthouse. The judge usually knew many of the patrons and would ask a couple of qualification questions to those he didn't know. His theory was that anyone sitting in a restaurant at 10:00 in the morning didn't have anything better to do than serve on a jury.
Jury selection continued, utilizing these new additions to the jury pool, until we had enough jurors to proceed.
This practice continued until the restaurant owner complained to the judge that no one would come into his restaurant whenever the judge (who traveled a circuit) was in town. Thereafter, the clerk summoned twice the number of jurors as had previously been customary.
Posted by: dvan at January 31, 2008 02:51 PM
California used a similar system during at least some civil trials the last (and only) time I was actually on a jury; I used the priviledge to ask who had to actually approve the modification of the safety equipment that was partially at issue. While the plantiff's counsel who asked the question commented that he didn't see the point of it, at least one other juror (and I) thought that the answer pretty well destroyed his arguement that the defendant was responsible for the modifications in question (and hence is client's injuries). I've always wondered what he was thinking.
Posted by: Mark at January 31, 2008 10:46 PM
When I was called for county petit jury (happened to be unemployed at the time, so no imposition - an open and shut case); the cat-herder-in-chief made a point to tell the pool to pass the word that the county made a practice of sending the sheriffs after people who ignored the summons...
Posted by: Ian Argent at February 1, 2008 06:05 PM