Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What does your bumper sticker say?

Starting January 22, 2007, New Jersey's courts will begin to ask a new voir dire question to potential jurors: "If you have a bumper sticker that does not pertain to a political candidate, what does it say?" From the New Jersey Lawyer (article not yet available online):
The theory [behind asking potential jurors about their bumper stickers] is that there's a difference between "Question Authority" and "Have You Hugged a Cop Today?"

Of course, a criminal defendant won't want a "Hug a Cop" juror deciding his of her fate and the prosecution sure as hell doesn't want a "Question Authority" juror just itching to screw it to "the man." But what about people who have something like "If You Can Read This, Then You're To Fucking Close" or "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student"? Do you want them on your jury?

In any event, if you want to get dismissed from jury duty in New Jersey, just slap a "Fry Them All" sticker on your car.

What ever happened to civic responsibility?
I am >50 years old. I have registered to vote, drive, pay taxes, and I carry a current passport.

I have never been called for jury duty.

I *guarantee* I would not be selected to sit on a jury for any serious crime (felony, etc).

Why? Because I am college educated, an engineer by degree, white, upper middle class, well read, and articulate.

The lawyers want someone who plays Wingo, reads a tabloid, watches Jerry Springer, and will take what they present at face value.

What we really need is a system of professional jurors, not a jury of our peers. If the shoe were on the other foot, I want a jury of bald, bearded, white guys with an average IQ of 135, but I won't get that, will I?
After we get professional juries we can start paying them based on their conviction rates. Then after a few years we can just skip the trials altogether.
I wonder what it says about me that I have no bumper stickers whatsoever on my car, because they are a bitch and a half to take off once one is sick of them.

In the seventeen years I've been registered to vote, I've sat on a civil suit jury once and had my every-two-years' appearance date cancelled ever since.
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