Jury Duty is something many of us face.
March 1, 2003 7:47 AM   Subscribe

We all must do our civic duty. But how many of us can fill in President of the United States on the questionnaire when it asks for former jobs held? A bit of mirth for today. NY Times req. required.
posted by Plunge (20 comments total)
The answer is 5.
posted by psmealey at 7:58 AM on March 1, 2003 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry, but we all know that the real answer is 42.
posted by bradth27 at 8:00 AM on March 1, 2003

despite his "unusual experience with the O.I.C.,"

I've never been a fan of the man, really. but "unusual experience" is very funny, and smart
posted by matteo at 8:12 AM on March 1, 2003

The answer is 5.

Err, I think it wouldn't be too hard for Reagan to be disqualified for other reasons.

Nobody mentioned the smoking gun in this particular case: Clinton was ultimately responsible for getting the trial judge appointed to the bench. That's an obvious conflict of interest, and the lawyers shouldn't even have had the opportunity to discuss it.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2003 [1 favorite]

Kinda silly though... lawyers can't serve on juries, and Clinton is a lawyer.
posted by clevershark at 9:12 AM on March 1, 2003

lawyers can't serve on juries?
posted by Vidiot at 9:16 AM on March 1, 2003

Is he a current member of the New York Bar? If not, there should be nothing, besides the obvious, that prevents him from serving on a jury.
posted by Plunge at 9:17 AM on March 1, 2003

Lawyers can't serve on juries.

I think this might have been the case years ago, but is definitely not true today, at least in New York City. I have had several lawyer friends (and one parent) in the past 3-4 years that have served on juries here all the way through to verdict and setencing.

I can't tell you if this varies from state to state or by federal district, perhaps someone with more familiarity than I do could shed some light on this.
posted by psmealey at 9:24 AM on March 1, 2003

Clinton was ultimately responsible for getting the trial judge appointed to the bench. That's an obvious conflict of interest

How so?
posted by boltman at 9:27 AM on March 1, 2003

In general lawyers can serve on juries. I don't know how common it is in federal court, but I certainly remember that Giuliani, a former prosecutor and, at the time, the sitting mayor of New York, served as foreman of a civil jury.
posted by NormieP at 9:28 AM on March 1, 2003

I recall there was a move underway some time ago to have Clinton disbarred, though I don't recall whether it was successful or not. Are disbarred lawyers still eligible for jury duty? And if not, was Clinton disbarred?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2003

Clinton wasn't disbarred, his license to practice law was suspended for 5 years. In any case, I don't think that disbarment would consitute being disqualified from serving a a jury. The bar association is a professional standards body, and not part of the state or federal legal apparatus.
posted by psmealey at 9:55 AM on March 1, 2003

Of course, the irony is, that if lawyers were barred from serving on juries, a disbarred lawyer would probably not be... um... barred. Whatever.
posted by wendell at 10:10 AM on March 1, 2003 [1 favorite]

He may have been disbarred in Arkansas, but then he doesn't live there.

Guess I was wrong about the lawyers not being able to serve on juries bit... oh well.
posted by clevershark at 10:13 AM on March 1, 2003

"142" seemed to have a great respect for the law and has lots of experience in the courtroom. If the Bloods pay Hugh Rodham, I'm sure their guy will walk. [/sarcastic diatribe]
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:19 AM on March 1, 2003

Lawyers are an 'automatic exemption' category for jurors in some jurisdictions, which basically means that if you're a lawyer you can have yourself excused from the jury duty. Some other categories are persons aged 65 or older, nursing mothers, serving members of armed forces, etc.

Many automatic exemptions (and this definitely applies to lawyers) are given because the juror will be objected to, so requiring the person to show up is a waste of time for all involved. Which is pretty clearly the case with Clinton or any other high-profile former elected official or celebrity. The point of jury selection isn't to make the jurors do their civic duty (even if they weren't inclined to), it is to ensure a fair trial.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:04 PM on March 1, 2003

in California at least, lawyers can and do serve on juries.
posted by Sr_Cluba at 12:15 AM on March 2, 2003

(An aside: In the UK you can be excused from jury duty if you're self-employed.)

Other than that though, I think having lawyers on the jury is a good idea. I think most juries are flawed in that they contain people who don't mentally or emotionally have the capacity to make good decisions.

I think passing a logic or an LSAT style test before serving on a jury would be a great idea. You want people who can make sound decisions.. not just automatically think 'guilty' from day one because it's a pedophile/rape case or something.

Keep the dim at the front of the court, not to the side of it.
posted by wackybrit at 7:31 AM on March 2, 2003

Jury selection is a weird thing.... they're always searching for the dumbest people. One of my professors was saying she got the notice for jury duty and they asked "What do you do?" "I'm a professor at Grand Valley" and it was almost immediately like "k... bye."
posted by dagnyscott at 4:29 PM on March 2, 2003

I've heard the same thing about journalists. Any working journalists out there been excused from jury duty because of your occupation?

(I've heard that you should go in and tell the judge that you're PERFECT for jury duty because you can spot a guilty person "just like that.")
posted by Vidiot at 6:08 PM on March 2, 2003

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