33 Comment

  • ahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • A few observations:

    1. Before filing a complaint, understand to whom you send your complaint.
    2. When filing a complaint, have the common sense to provide a return address.
    3. Don’t mess with the Chief Judge!

  • this just proves what i’ve always believed about PoP contributors: they are all whiny and should live somewhere else other than DC to get a reality check.

    • Wait, so all along the jurors’ beef was with the _Federal_ court (United States District Court for the District of Columbia), and they never realized that it was separate from D.C. Superior Court??

      • Oops; I meant this to be a post unto itself and not a reply.

      • The US Attorney for DC also serves as the local-level prosecutors in DC, including bringing investigations before grand juries for local crimes. One of those goofy things resulting from being a federal district.

  • What do folks think about reducing the grand jury commitment from 5 weeks to 2 or 3 weeks? Or 2 days a week for 6 weeks? Seems a bit more managable for the jurors, but also preserves the process. I can’t imagine my employer’s reaction if I told them I’d be out for 5 weeks for jury duty…and I don’t think I’d get paid.

    • or, perhaps, just can the whole grand jury rigamarole. Is it really worth it?

    • Agree completely that 5 weeks is unreasonable. Jury duty has not kept pace with changes in work schedules and family structure. The current system is outdated. It needs to be updated.

      • Are you serious that 5 weeks is too long because it interefers with your personal life? In Federal District Court, grand jury duty can last a year or longer. It’s called doing your civic duty. It’s the point in the criminal justice process where the U.S. Attorney’s office decides whether or not to indict. If you want to help reduce crime in the community, you need to be part of the process. Or take your name off the voting rolls. Or stop whining. Or both.

  • Very reasonable, respectful response, especially considering they were publicly called out when they never received the letter. Well done.

  • Brilliant response! Seriously, this is a commendable example of responsiveness. They didn’t get the letter, only heard about it on PoP and still answered. Despite the failings of the original inquiry, they gave a thorough explanation of the issue and what they’re doing to resolve it.

    And I loved the slight, plausibly deniable passive-aggressiveness. Others may (quite reasonably) disagree, but I thought it was appropriate given the original letter, its mistakes, and their public campaign for attention.

    Props to the judge.

    • this was brilliant PR and I agree skillfully written to include plenty of condescending passive aggressiveness without being overtly rude.

      i guess it’s not too surprising given that a big chunk of a judge’s time is spent writing decisions.

  • Funny how different things can look when you get the other side of the story.

    • I’m curious to know how bike headlight lady would respond to the PoP community. Seriously. We might learn some more details about the encounter.

      Now that I think about it, though, I’d like to see how she would have written the judge’s letter. I propose a new weekly feature: Letters from POPville (Bike Headlight Lady Remix).

  • I don’t know. I think that the Chief Judge is passing the buck. Not our building, not our problem? Fine. But my sense is that this is a problem for all involved in this matter.

    • I don’t think he was passing the back at all. He sympathized with the jurors and then did the only thing he could, request that the US Attorney’s policy be returned to something more sensible. What else is he supposed to do?

  • I’m very impressed by Judge Satterfield’s response. Well done there.

  • Good to hear the other side on this, but I’d really like to hear from the lady who confronted the POP poster about her bike light and then wrote her the crazy letter.

  • This is awesome. Judges are truly masters of the English language. You can read this response at many levels, the most basic and direct being “You’re an idiot.”

  • greenroofgoddess

    Great response from Judge Satterfield, and shameful lack of response from the US Dist Attorney’s office. Seriously, the Clerk of the Court writes you in October, and you still haven’t responded 8 months later. So much for professional courtesy…

  • I commend the Judge for his thoughtful and thorough response. But these two letters seem to be talking past each other. The original complaint is about not being allowed to bring certain electronic devices into the D.C. Superior Court building. The Judge is talking about the policy prohibiting electronic devices in the US Attorney’s Office, which is a block away. Is the problem that grand jurors get notified of their service by D.C. Superior Court, which permits some electronic devices but they have to meet in the US Attorney’s Office, which permits no electronic devices? So you show up thinking one set of rules apply when in fact it does not?

  • sounds like a good way to convert your jury duty into jail time

  • Sparta

    The confusion here in the original letter and in some of the comments reflects the tangled nature of DC as fiefdom rather than independent entity. I also just finished my 5 week tour of Grand Jury duty for DC Superior Court. But while felony cases are “state” cases that normally would be prosecuted on the state “Superior Court” level, that’s not the case in DC.

    There are 350 Assistant US attorneys general assigned to prosecute cases for the “state” –or rather, non state. The Grand Jury meets in the US Attorney’s building. But we originally reported to the DC Superior Court.

    We decide to indict or not based on evidence provided by Assistant US Attorneys general (federal) for state (DC) cases. We reported to the Assistant Attorneys General daily, not to the Superior Court, so it is understandable the Grand Jurors sent their letter to the Attorney General building. That said, Satterfield is a master and very sharp and I, too, applaud his reply.

  • FYI- I’m currently serving on the Grand Jury for 3 days a week x almost 8 weeks! Current policy is no electronic devices but they can be checked at the door and retrieved at the end of the day only, not at lunch. There was no prior notification but I guess it’s OK since they allow you to check it and don’t send you home.

  • Great response from the judge. And unless I misremember, the name of the representative from the US Attorney’s office (Cummings) is familiar from when I did a turn at Grand Jury service 7 years ago? If it’s the same guy, I thought he did a really good job of working with the Grand Jury AND the witnesses he brought in to testify for youth- and gang-related crimes. Seriously, the justice system might not be highly functional, but there are talented people working very hard within that system.

    As to the merits of the original post: I am sure the courts would like to make it easier for jurors. Concierge treatment for your personal electronic device would be nice. But they don’t have the staff, the policy requirements are there for a reason, and I hope you have understanding bosses. If you don’t, the problem isn’t with the courts.

  • I understand the confusion since the court sends out the jury summons, but the proceedings are conducted at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Regardless, a policy that mandates the checking of all devices at the door or completely banning them isn’t unreasonable since grand jury proceedings are SECRET. Keeping electronic devices out of the building will help grand jurors remain focused on the proceedings and reduce their ability (especially those who are addicted) to tweet about or photograph what is happening in the room. Granted, they could reveal information after they are excused (but would do so at their own peril), but I agree with the U.S. Attorney on this one.

Comments are closed.