Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Would I Make a Good Juror?

I'm still here! Sorry for the extended silence there. Just craziness all's that time of year. I'm working on Bouchercon prep, and I'm engrossed in Chris Holm's Collector Series. Have you read his books? I always say I'm typically not a paranormal fan, but this concept is so fascinating and Chris' perspective and his wit is fresh. I think he could totally convince me that this is happening around us and we don't know it. More on this later!

Sending out congrats to the Gregg Hurwitz contest winner: Mike from Virginia. I've contacted Mike and his prize will be going out soon. Thanks to everyone who entered. My review of Tell No Lies was in Shelf Awareness but I'll have an "extended version" here in the near future. And my friend Larry reminded me about mentioning Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. I posted on Facebook about the announcement but I need to mention here that I will be interviewing Gregg this year at M&M. So I hope you can come out and enjoy the festivities. I think it's going to be a pretty spectacular year.

Ever since finishing up the audiobook of Marcia Clark's Killer Ambition I've been thinking about what kind of juror I would make in murder trial. I was actually called to jury duty for a capital murder case a few years ago, but the defendant ended up taking a deal before a jury could even be picked. I made it as far as the jury room for half a day. I probably would have been excused pretty quickly since I had to fill out a form that included questions like: what kinds of books do you read, what do you watch on television and what do you do in your free time.

I've heard the stories about how television shows like CSI have been a nightmare for prosecutors because jurors think there should be a lot of incontrovertible forensic evidence. But as Marcia Clark spelled out things both the prosecution and defense would look for in jurists, I realized I had a lot of those qualities too. So would the lawyers automatically dismiss me because I could be tainted by my reading choices? Or would my education, political views, marital and socio-economic status trump that? Who knows.

Then there's the legal tricks and maneuvers that come into a trial. Would I be swayed by a defense attorney saying, "is there a chance--any chance--that [fill in the blank] could happen"? Or would a defendant's appearance taint my perspective? It seems so clear cut when you're not in the jury box, but what would happen on the other side.

Have any of you ever served on a jury for a capital case? Did you find the view a lot different from the seat in that box?

I still ponder...happy reading!


Evelyn September 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM  

Hi Jen, I've been summoned for jury duty 6 times including a term on a grand jury! Now that was interesting! All 5 of my other times I was dismissed during the initial questioning--not only do the defense attorneys hate smart people like avid readers, they positively loathe relatives of the police.

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