Chronicle poll results: Jury service
PollOur readers share their views

Chronicle poll results: Jury service

We asked our readers if they have ever served on a jury. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Have you ever served on a jury?” Of the 244 people who responded, 59% said “no” and 41% said “yes.” Comments were submitted by 58 people. A few follow.

As a lawyer, I have wanted to be chosen to see how it all works from the other side, as it might make me a better advocate. So far this litigator has only been able to serve on high school mock trial competition juries.

It was a difficult experience because of the nature of the crime discussed — child sexual abuse — but worthwhile because I learned a lot about the jury system. As a result, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the system! I did feel that, in the end, my jury’s decision fit the crime.

Wanted to. Called two times but not selected.

It’s my civic duty; I never try to get out of it.

I was called for jury duty six times over more than 30 years (in Howard County, Maryland). I served on three juries, one time as foreman. I’m proud that I was able to perform an important civic duty.

In 1990, I was a member of a jury which convicted a man of horrific sex crimes against a minor girl. The case had an interesting twist: The defendant had suffered severe burns inflicted by someone who was enraged over what he had done. He was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison. I was proud of my role as a responsible citizen.

I have lived in Allegheny County for 40 years as an adult and have never been called.

I was part of a hung jury, which seems to have disqualified me from ever serving again, since I’ve been eliminated by either the defense or the prosecution ever since. Not a pleasant experience. We went from a jolly group to snarling finger-pointers as the division grew among us.

Too often, the first person who offers an opinion on the jury persuades others, even if they are incorrect. It is difficult to stand your ground against a majority, even if you believe the majority is wrong.

It was for a murder case and was one of the most challenging parts of my life. It really made me see that a murder case can have so many gray areas that aren’t known to the general public.

Serving on a jury is a privilege and an experience that every adult should have if called upon and accepted as a juror. I served on a criminal trial for a murder in Westmoreland County and it was a most enlightening experience. I would do it again.

The number of stupid people serving on my jury was frightening. Comments like “if they weren’t guilty, they wouldn’t have been arrested.” PJC

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