PoP-Ed. Disrespecting the Jury

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nivad

Dear PoPville,

We recently had grand jury service in Washington D.C., under which we were required to serve five days a week for five weeks.

We expected grand jury service to be hard on our personal and professional lives. But we didn’t anticipate being disrespected and ignored by the D.C. Superior Court and our elected official when we raised a concern.

It wasn’t until we were sworn in that we learned we would be prohibited from bringing electronic devices such as laptop computers, iPads, Kindles or iPods into the courthouse. We wrote a letter to Grand Jury Coordinator Cynthia Walicki, D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton asking for the prohibition to be lifted. We never received a response.

We were confused when we learned about the prohibition on all electronic devices. We knew grand jurors weren’t allowed to have phones with cameras in the jury room. That was stated on the District of Columbia Courts website. But the website and handouts we were given said we could bring other electronic devices into the courthouse, such as laptops, which could be used during breaks.

The prohibition on all electronic devices was put in place several months ago apparently because some jurors used their devices while in session. (The language on the website was only recently updated to state the prohibition, after we complained.)

We respectfully wrote our letter asking for the prohibition to be lifted. We knew it was a long shot. But it is insulting we weren’t even given the courtesy of a response. Having access to our laptops would lessen the hardship of jury duty, enabling us to keep up with work when we weren’t in session.

The court also wasn’t forthcoming in letting us know that we could get special permission to access our phones during breaks. We eventually learned that we could request a letter granting permission to our phones, which were kept with security at the entrance to the courthouse. (Apparently, the court has also recently started restricting access to phones.)

We don’t think it’s fair to punish all grand jurors for the actions of a few bad apples. As citizens of D.C. we are obligated to serve grand jury duty. We’re happy to carry out our civic responsibility. But the D.C. Superior Court is making grand jury service much more of a hardship than it needs to be. Giving grand jurors access to laptops and phones during downtime would be a simple and important move. It’s too late for us as our service is over. But maybe new jurors will be able to change the court.

Chris Strohm
Frances Vollmer
Nikkia Saddler
Carolyn Dudley
Stephanie Morclecai
Richelle King
Jackie Proctor
Evonne Edmonds
Andi Davis
Warren Johnson Jr.
Angela Clark
Keily Levy
Courtney Siegel

79 Comment

  • Could not agree with you more. These rules are unnecessarily burdensome.

    The jury duty experience in DC is horrendous and it is disheartening how little the judges and court employees care about jurors.

    • “The jury duty experience in DC is horrendous and it is disheartening how little the judges and court employees care about jurors.”

      Maybe, but it’s not like the process is much different elsewhere. I know for a fact that VA does not allow electronic devices of any kind, and basically treats anyone that walks into their courthouses like a criminal (police officers excluded of course).

      • Nor Ohio.

        I file this under “well duh, of course you aren’t”.

        DC certainly isn’t alone in this prohibition and for good cause.

      • not true virginia treats officers outside VA like criminals , patted down and took my service weapon , even though i was their to testify for their goverment.

    • I was serving grand jury duty a few months back, & this rule came into effect on the second day of my service due to a serious security breach involving a witness. We were told that the plan is for them to redo the lobby to add the lockers, but you must keep in mind it takes time to get the money, space & design together to add lockers, especially for a courthouse. Yes it is inconvenient for jurors, but I do not think there is a viable alternative in the meantime; a camera slipped in when the ban was only on devices with cameras, & the security personnel simply do not have the resources or ability to ensure that it won’t happen again without a blanket ban. For the safety of witnesses & jurors alike I understand & respect the need for the ban, even if it is inconvenient. It is not impossible to get out of gj duty if it will truly hinder your life.

    • I’m on the fence about this… I did jury duty just a few months ago and being on a Grand Jury was an option they presented to us. I chose to be on a regular jury early on in the selection process.

      Though work is important, you could be committing a person to a trial that will dramatically change their lives. Being able to look up details about charges and other things while you’re on a jury can bias decisions easily. Also having these devices around can create a distraction from important facts being discussed in a jury room.

  • So, the court says you can’t have constant access your phone, email, laptop, blackberrys, etc? Please sign me up for grand jury duty.

  • “It’s too late for us as our service is over.”

    Haha, so melodramatic!

  • The role of jurors are crucial to our legal system and you have someones fate in your hands. They deserve your undivided attention for a few days. Additionally, its to easy to ruin a case by sending an email or tweeting something you think does not matter but does.

    • Anon-
      You missed the point about this being a grand jury. It isn’t a few days, it is every working day for 5 weeks. That has a tremendous impact on anyone’s job. These people aren’t trying to bring their phones into the courtroom. They want to have access to their email on their breaks.

      • Yes, because no grand juries ever existed before smartphones and laptops were invented. Immediate access to e-mail creates a false sense of urgency. You’re not that important.

        • The fact that the technology exists creates an expectation by employers that you will have constant access to the technology, come hell or high water.

          • So you can always be working! Yay! So many salaried employees at my office respond to e-mails at 10pm, weekends, vacation days, etc. It’s ridiculous. And it’s not entirely because employers set this level of expectation, although I will grant that is part of it. But even so, they can grow a backbone and not set that precedent. Most choose not to, and it’s primarily because they want to feel important, like they matter and are essential.

        • It was like this once upon a time, therefore that’s the way it should be. We should not try and use a ubiquitous enabling technology to make things easier for grand jurors during their breaks. In my day, blah blah..please.

          • You want to be beholden to your employer even when they are not paying you, that’s no skin off my back. Enjoy.

  • I appreciate you posting about this. It is clearly a case of making a rule because it’s easier with no thought about those serving. How hard would it be to provide lock boxes for jurors to store these items outside of the room where deliberations take place? Few hundred bucks? Seems a minimal cost when compared to the cost to grand jurors of being out of touch from the time they leave home in the AM to the time they return home in the PM. Ive got $1 to bet that the Grand Jury Coordinator and the Judge don’t have to leave their phones, laptops, etc at home all day.

    Who has the power to do something about this? Only the judge? Can my council member help?

  • Why do people get picked for jury duty in DC so much more frequently than in other jurisdictions? Is there really so much more crime per capita here than anywhere else?

    • The reason is ex-cons are ineligible to serve as jurors, and a disproportionate share of the DC adult population has a criminal record.

    • In the 2.5 years I’ve been a DC resident, I’ve never been contacted about jury duty. When I lived in CA, I got a jury duty notice about once a year (over a period of close to 5 years). I probably just jinxed myself, didn’t I?

      • Don’t worry. They’ll get you.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I’ve been here 5 years and have never been contacted. I want to serve on a jury! DC contact me!!

        • Are you registered to vote? If not, you’ll never be called. That’s the list they use to select jurors. Watch out what you ask for though. Once they’ve called you once, they’ll call you back every two years, clockwork. And that’s for the local Superior Court. The Federal Court is in addition.

    • Also, because of the (i) number of people who just don’t show up for jury duty, and (ii) the complete lack of enforcement (at least for DC Superior Court) when people don’t show.

      Count your blessings, by the way – once you go, you’re on their radar, and will get called like clockwork every 2 years, to the month.

    • PDleftMtP

      It’s gotten a lot better in the last few years. When I first moved here I started keeping my summonses because I couldn’t believe it had been long enough – and it had, but they’d call me every two years within a week. Now I’ve been called once in the last five or six years, and when I deferred they never called me back. (Yes, I’ve just guaranteed that another summons will show up tomorrow, but at this point fair enough.)

  • too much temptation to look up your case online. Let your people know where you are. You won’t need your phone. Remember 1990? Yeah. Work with that.

    • Yeah, I have no problem going back to 1990 as long as the rest of my office does too. You’re not only asking the juror to adjust, you’re also asking his or her co-workers to stop communicating to that person by email. We live in a different time – there are different expectations now. Sorry for stating the obvious.

      • Apparently you have to state the obvious on here. Some jobs simply require you to be accessible at all times. It’s a fact. So while it would be great to tell my office and clients that I’m unavailable during business hours for the next 5 weeks, it’s simply not acceptable. Jury duty should not hurt my career, directly or indirectly.

        • “Some jobs simply require you to be accessible at all times. It’s a fact.”

          Yes, and if that honestly is true you can be excused from jury duty. I know business owners that have had no trouble getting out of it. On the other hand, if you’re absence is simply an inconvenience your coworkers/clients should understand how jury duty works and not hold it against you. Unless, perhaps, you work with international clients.

          • PDleftMtP

            American clients get annoyed too. There’s no law making them be reasonable, and while you can say “Get over yourselves! No one was constantly connected in 1970!”, that doesn’t make them come back.

            It’s just a bit simplistic to say we’re all masters of our own fate and feeling pressure to respond to clients (or employers) who expect you to is a sign of moral weakness.

        • by law, your company has to comply. they are not saying no one can email you.. you just can’t check it during the day. either forgo jury duty for another time, or check that sh*t when you get home… regardless that your job expects you to be “logged in” at every moment of every day, i’m going to go ahead and say you’re just not that important. you’re just not. employers are well aware of grand jury duty rules. the world will not collapse without you. i know you’d like to believe it will, but it won’t.

          • When i was on GJ a few years ago i had to go into work after GJ each day and make sure everything was finished by my co-workers, and if not, finish the work. That was 5 days a week for 5 weeks. The underlying issue is the length of service. Depending on which area of grand jury you are chose for, you can go in 5 days a week for 5 weeks (and be recalled additional days if needed) or 3 days a week for 8 weeks.

        • That is patently false. People just want to be connected all the time so they feel more important and valued. DC is the worst city I’ve been in for this mentality. There is a 99% chance your job does not require you to be connected all the time. Are you president of acountry? Are you a surgeon specializing in some type of risky procedure? Are you running a military? If the answer to these questions is no, then there is probably going to be no situation where your input is essential 24/7/365.

          • “That is patently false.”

            “There is a 99% chance your job does not require you to be connected all the time.”

            Well, which one is it?

          • Believe me…I would welcome the opportunity of tuning out all day, but that’s just not how it works. In my experience, clients with important needs will take their business elsewhere if I can’t give them full support over a five week period. It’s not that I feel I, myself, am all that important. It’s that I don’t want to lose clients. I work for a small shop and it’s not simple for somebody to take over.

            And the whole salaried employee argument is ridiculous as well. Yes I respond to email at night, whether from my boss or from my clients. If it’s from the former, I’m showing that I’m highly invested and I will be compensated in bonus and responsibility. If it’s from the latter, I’m showing that I care about the client and he or she is likely to come back again. So what if I’m salaried.

            If you don’t want to advance your career, that’s fine. But don’t try to tell me that it’s ridiculous for me to want to advance mine.

      • no one is asking your office to stop communicating with you. you’ll just have to communicate after work hours… people do this all the time

  • Have all of you ever had Jury duty?

    You don’t get paid (or you get like $30 a day), and your work doesn’t have to pay you (mine does not). These people could basically be missing out on six weeks of income.

    It’s basically a $10,000 (or whatever) tax that is assigned by lot. They need laptops so they can make ends meet.

    I honestly don’t know what I would do if I were ever forced to be on a grand jury. Especially if I couldn’t work at least a few hours a day during down time. If you are an electrician or something I guess you are totally screwed.

    It’s broken and sounds like DC made it more broken.

    These jurors have my sympathy.

    • claire

      Yeah, even though I think the tone in the original post is a bit overdramatic, I agree with you here.

    • it’s called being an AMERICAN. it’s your duty.

    • You can file for a hardship excuse, which the judge has the option of granting or not granting at his or her sole discretion. I know of self-employed people who have successfully petitioned for a hardship excuse on the basis of the income that they would lose while serving for several weeks. I suspect that most (not all, but still most) judges would be willing to accommodate you in a case like that.

      I once received a summons for a specific trial (not a grand jury) that was expected to take at least 12 weeks. I filed for a hardship excuse, on the grounds that my missing 12+ weeks of work would cause hardship for my employer (a non-profit organization with five employees), and the judge granted it.

      Finally, I find it ironic that people who are too important to be without their smartphone for the purpose of performing jury duty without risking a serious security breach are reading and posting on blogs in the middle of the day. I call your bluff. If you are posting on PoP in the middle of the day, sorry, you just ain’t that important.

  • wow, this is terrible. I own my own business where I have to be available during business hours (mostly email) and I couldn’t begin to imagine what would happen to my business if I was summoned for grand jury. I imagine I could defer or get excused due to the circumstances? I could lose my business if I have to go 5 weeks w/o client interaction… They need to lift this restriction.

    • You should have no problem getting an exemption.

      • I don’t know about grand jury, but for superior court jury duty there are no excuses. I served for SIX weeks on a criminal trial, though we did have a few of the Fridays off. On my jury we had an architect who owned his own business, a nursing mother who had to pump in the bathroom during breaks, two lawyers, and myself who at the time was working full time and going to grad school part time. Some judges are cracking down on excuses.

        Two of the people I served with got called for grand jury duty within a year after our 6 week trial. They wrote detailed letters about having recently done their civic duty for an extended time and were excused, but I don’t think having to work is an excuse.

        • Having to work is not an excuse a priori; however, you can do your best to explain your specific circumstances and the nature of your hardship, and hope that the judges chooses to grant your excuse anyway, even though there is clearly no obligation to do so.

  • I find this thread extremely interesting as I am about to serve a Grand Jury summons (starting 16 July). What can I do to get the cell phone/laptop ban lifted? My day job will deal, but I am a blogger, and that business will suffer greatly over 5 weeks with no 9-5 internet access.

  • It is pretty easy to get out of Grand Jury duty if you need to… My boss wrote a letter that it would be a hardship for the company for me to be out 5 days a week for 5 weeks and requested I be move to Petit Duty (where, last time I was there we could have access to all electronics) so as to still fufill my civic duty. I was reassigned that day with no questions asked.

  • I found GRAND jury to be a particularly annoying experience overall. I too did not realize what I was getting into until it was too late. And, writing the judge (as the employees of the court said I had to do) to request a wavier was useless. I really felt as though the employees there treated me like the criminal. They were rude, nasty, lazy, always provided wrong information, etc. There were many hours of just sitting and waiting and one could have used their laptops and phones. Even at lunch, we were told we could NOT get our phones until we left for the day. I eventually learned to just call in “sick” several times a week so I could take care of my real job, which oddly enough did NOT seem to matter or require any prove. But even that included nasty “you have to call this other number” responses even though the form said to call the number I called. It just really put a BAD taste in my mouth and I saw first hand all the examples of the lazy and nasty DC employees people speak about. At one point, what seemed to have been a mail clerk was taking a nap in the hallway!

  • I was on a 4+ month federal petit jury in the past year and we were (thankfully) allowed to use our devices during breaks and lunch. Surely if we could exercise self control over that period of time grand jurors would be able to over their few weeks of service.

  • On the flip side, how would you feel if you or a member of your panel leaked information that got a witness killed? Or allowed an associate of somebody you were empaneled to convict to track down your family? Those are not hypotheticals, these things *happen*. Sure, not as bad as in the Old West drug wars of the 80s/90s, but jury/witness tampering and outright intimidation is not a problem in the abstract.

    Jury DUTY is a civic burden, to be sure, and the modern trappings of business make it seem more so. But I give the system a little leeway here in enforcing the rules for everybody’s safety and the health of the judicial process. Like it’s been said, if you are that vital to the day-to-day workings of your job there are ways out, or ways into the petit jury pool for shorter commitments. And I am in now way linked to the courts or even hold a law degree.

  • yes, the original post is a little dramatic, but quite frankly, jury service in the district can be a real hardship. my first “4 or 5 day trial” lasted 4 weeks and my board was furious that i couldn’t get out of it. my second trial lasted just 2 weeks, and while the judge was less of an asshole, the superior court staff was absolutely rude and unhelpful at every turn. once when i inquired at the jury help desk the surly broad behind the counter raised her voice at me. i asked her not to take that tone and she asked me who i was talking to before just abruptly walking away as her coworkers just rolled their eyes. the whole experience was miserable both times and they treated us like school children. worse, it took me weeks to get things back on track at work and we clearly lost business because of it. the $4 a day i got wasn’t even enough to cover my metro fare.

    • I agree totally. It’s not that I don’t want to do Jury duty, it’s simply that I can’t afford to. $4 a day for six weeks? What working age human being could afford to do this? If the country is serious about justice they need to compensate jurors properly. It’s really outrageous.

      • if your employer does not pay you, you also get 30 dollars per day… not that you can live on that either. Luckily, my employer pays us our regular salary during jury duty.
        For grand jury duty, they give you over a month notice so you can make arrangements with your employer which for many, is more than enough notice. I know this doesn’t help those who are self employed, but it should give you time to request a financial hardship.
        This is my second time for grand jury duty in 10 years…. I know people who have never been called and have lived here forever!

  • I’ve only served on a petite jury at DC Superior court. It was my first and only time serving on a jury. Compared to others’ experiences shared here, I had a relatively positive experience serving. I served at the beginning of May and we were allowed to use our electronic devices in the jury room while the court was in recess. We could even bring our phones with us into the court room but they had to be off. Everything was done on the honor system. We were treated like adults and were told repeatedly how essential we were to the judicial process. I was surprised by just how well we were treated – I don’t know how many times the judge personally thanked us. Both he and his clerk were incredibly nice. I didn’t have any issues with the rest of the jury office staff either. If I remember correctly the petite and grand jurors are processed through the same office at DC Superior Court. It’s really disheartening to hear all of the bad experiences including the OP. I don’t doubt that any of this happened, and I don’t think it’s over dramatic. If I had had a similar experience, I would’ve taken it to PoP as well.

  • Oh no, no electronic devices? How will you let the world know your Angry Birds score, or that your baby rolled over in its crib or that you went out for lunch today. Get over yourselves. It’s such a depressing thought that our society is nearing total dependence on constantly being “connected.”

  • So much whining in both that letter, and the comments.

    Grand Jury is a secretive process, so it makes sense to not allow electronic devices into the room. Nothing like having phones go off during someones testimony – or someone texting away during testimony. It’s amazing how a fair number of jurors don’t even pay attention during testimony to begin with. Regular jury duty is a public forum, so that’s why you have access there (i.e. leave them in the juror’s room).

    That being said – the electronic collection/storage process at the grand jury location is horrendous. It’s manilla envelopes and a filing cabinet. Strip clubs have a better phone check-in/check-out system. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have access to your phone at lunch, but definitely not during down time/the 15 minute breaks. You never know when the next case is coming up, and you don’t need 23 people trekking up and down the stairs everytime there is 5 minutes between cases. If you need to call people, there are phones there to do it by the scheduling office. If you have a huge issue with the whole judicial/grand jury process, move the fuck out of the district. Or pick up a felony, and then you can be excused from grand jury duty forever!!!!!

  • Wow, overdramatic much? When you are on a jury, the rights of the defendant are totally in your hands. You owe the defendant the dignity of being totally focused on the case and not worrying about your boss’ email. I’m also not sure why you expected some sort of immediate response from your letter-its not like the employees are running the justice system or anything like that.

    It’s definitely fair to prevent people from using their gadgets at breaks if its been proven that some witnesses used them in improper ways. If you can’t see how its better for you to be inconvenienced than a criminal defendant losing his liberty based on bias etc. then you probably should say that to the judge at the outset.

    • I can see not allowing them at break times for Grand Jury – but it should be allowed at lunch. If someone is going to use their phone like an idiot – and blog/tweet about a Grand Jury case – it could easily happen after they leave for the day.

  • I think what some of the frustration voiced in the letter and the comments arises from the fact that a person (namely, a judge) had the temerity to call them out on their first-world attitude. If you can present reasonable evidence that your service on a jury will create hardship and/or negate your ability to provide shelter and food for you and your family and/or you have a vitally important job (like in, you’re an emergency room doctor in an understaffed department, or you hold the codes to our nuclear defense system) a judge will, very reasonably, allow you not to serve.

    The fact that you’re annoyed that you can’t answer all of your emails within minutes of receiving them, or you can’t keep up with your BLOG (really, seriously?) is not a justifiable reason for keeping your electronic devices during a CONFIDENTIAL HEARINGand/or not serving on a jury.

  • You go into the jury room. The clerk hands you a plastic bag. “Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your phones and all electronic devices, put them in the bag and put it under your chair. You may have nothing in your lap during the session except for the notepads provided. You may take your devices with you and use them when you leave the courtroom for breaks or lunch.”

    How hard is that? How does that endanger anyone or breech security? People who want to violate the rules will simply post after hours anyway.

    • Have you served on grand jury? Constantly having to remind people to turn their phones off between every break (scheduled and waiting for cases) would get old after a day. Unfortunately you can’t even get 23 people to care enough to stay awake and pay attention all day.

  • burritosinstereo

    Wait, you’re complaining because you don’t have access to your email for five weeks, meanwhile you’re deciding somebody’s fate?? Somebody call the whaambulance. Guilty or innocent, I’m sure the person who is being indicted would be more than happy to trade places with you. If not having access to your kindle for a few weeks is your biggest problem, then I really don’t think you should be complaining.

  • I served Grand Jury duty last August/September (when the initial ban was implemented in Week #2 of my service). The ban on electronics can be frustrating, especially at the lunch hour and when they tell you you won’t have another case for 1.5 hours and to report back at 3pm, etc…and this could be addressed by having lockers in the lobby for jurors to access only during longer established breaks. But, at the end of the day the security of the witnesses definitely must be protected. The word traveled quickly even among the different jury rooms when the device incident occurred that brought about the ban. The building isn’t called The Snitch Box for nothing.

    However, I can wholeheartedly attest that the current electronic device collection process is troublesome. Here’s these security guards protecting a courthouse that streams through a lot of unsavory people and they get put in charge overseeing the manilla folder electronic device collection process every morning. I’m glad to read they’re installing some small lockers for jurors in the lobby…put your stuff in there before heading through the mags so that the security guards can concentrate on the important matter at hand. For example, each morning I would have coffee in a paper cup with me when I came through the mags….the guys would tell me to put it down on the table and walk through the mags without the cup and then I’d collect if from table on the other side once I was cleared. They never checked the coffee cup….there could have easily been a knife or something else problematic placed inside in my “coffee cup” and they’re telling me to skip the scanning procedure for said cup. I finally mentioned this troubling scenario to them, and you could see the light blub go off in their heads. Cups seemed to be checked after that….I hope that’s still the case. It was sad that this is what passes for courthouse protection.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    From Congresswoman Norton’s spokesman:

    “We’ve checked our files and have no record of receiving this letter from the grand jurors. We’re grateful to Prince of Petworth for bringing the issue to our attention. We’re now making some inquiries about the policy.”

  • While I would absolutely adore the option of turning off my phone consistently for a few weeks, the bottom line is that my employer is simply not OK with that. You can go ahead and call me whiny, but it actually has a fairly large impact on my career and the company. Given that our entity is foreign-owned, it winds up being 3X worse because it’ll somehow wind up being my “fault.” Don’t be so naive as to think they won’t subtly retaliate.

    • So, then you provide the judge with that information and if you can prove that your inability to be connected to your and/or clients for extended periods will harm your position and/or employment and then she or he can decide if your argument has enough merit to dismiss you from the jury pool.

      Everyone who responds with “well, IT REALLY WOULD IMPACT MY JOB” seem to be forgetting that you do have the ability to present that information to the court. I mean, if you can communicate that to the readers of a blog, you can present that information to a judge.

      Start being adults and use your words to communicate.

    • Suggestion: start looking for another job. I’m not suggesting you quit immediately–I realize now is not the ideal time to get another job anywhere–but if your employer penalizes people, formally or informally, for complying with the law, that sounds like an undesirable place to work long-term for lots of reasons beyond the scope of the present discussion of jury duty.

      • Unfortunately, I’ve BEEN looking. But, you know that economy thing? Not that many people hiring for what I do.

        And I can use my words just fine, but I would have an awfully hard time proving that I would be subtly retaliated against professionally if I were to be unavailable for that time period. It wouldn’t be blatant enough to get my employer in trouble, but it would be just enough to make them unhappy with me. And once they’re unhappy, they’re unhappy.

        Yep, it sucks. But it isn’t provable.

  • I was a grand juror at about the same time as the writer of this post and I agree that it’s a bit dramatic. I frankly understand why the ban is in place and while some flexibility might be warranted (like having a specific room where folks can use phones, laptops, etc. during breaks), the building IS planning on having lockers in place to allow some access to phones as such. The grand juries hear a variety of cases from homicides to drug cases, and if I were someone being asked to testify, I’d damn well want to know that I was being protected and some dumb juror wasn’t taking pictures or video of me. I understand work issues as I, like many others, have a job that typically expects regular Internet access, but you might be surprised at how effective drawing some boundaries based on the necessity of jury duty is. And if your employer won’t budge, you had the option of trying to get excused due to hardship. I certainly do wish the rules were more flexible in terms of bringing in a kindle (which has no camera or true browser) and some access to phones during breaks, but I’m frankly fine with not being tethered to all my electronic devices if it means not running the risk of some dipshit juror emailing out witness names, pics, etc. I think the larger issue is that certain grand juries are 5 days a week for an entire month. Why not make them all shorter number of days per week and extend the timeframe you’re required to report to get a better balance with work?

    At the end of the day it was a rewarding experience for me. You’d be shocked at what goes on in your neighborhood. I’d frankly want all lawmakers to be on a some type of jury to get a taste of how the policies they implement from their lofty perch actually effect real people (poverty, lack of education, drug policy, etc.).

  • I too served on a grand jury and did not have access to my device(s). No offence, but the letter makes everyone sound like a big baby. You’re on a grand jury – take it seriously. We were so busy that we wouldn’t have had time to use our devices most days….and when we weren’t, they typically let us go. Accept your fate and take this responsibility seriously.

  • If you’re called for Petit Court duty (as it sounds like Gray was), you have ALOOOOOOT of time in the juror room before getting called into a courtroom, if you get called at all. That juror pool is allowed to use devices while sitting in the juror room.

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