Thursday, May 9, 2013

That Time I was In Jury Duty for 3 Weeks

Okay so it wasn't really three weeks straight, but I did have to show up to the courtroom for three weeks. It was for 10 days all together, 4 days the first week, 2 days the second week and 4 days the third week.

Most people think, ugh jury duty. But in all honesty I sort of liked it. I got to sleep in till 7am (when I normally wake up at 4:45am), we got an hour and half lunch and we were out of there by 4:30pm everyday. And work paid me my normal salary, is there such a thing as a professional juror? With the caveat that I still get paid the same as I do now...hehe.

The Case:

So now that the trial is over I can spill what the trial was about. So hard to say to people, can't talk about it until it's over. I'm such a rule follower. I'll leave the names out, just cause who cares what their names are.

It's some what complicated so I'll try to be precise. The Defendant, wanted to flip a house, so he got Realtor Lady to look at homes for him. She found a house and he passed initially, but she convinced him that she would help manage the property while it went through the renovations, since he lived so far away. She gave a glowing recommendation for a handyman who was NOT licensed, even though evidence showed that he put a license number down on the bid, but it was just a business license, not a contractors one, but didn't state that. Bottom line there was a ladder/stairs leading up to a loft area and it wasn't attached to the loft in any way.

So the plantiffs, Family X, was looking for a vacation home in the San Diego mountain area. They went to the above home to look at it. When the wife and daughter went up to the loft area to look around. On the way down the ladder/stairs fell and the wife pretty much fell off the loft and crushed her wrist, broke her pelvic bone, parts of her face, ribs and was diagnosed with a brain injury. It has impacted her ability to find common words, and has even impacted her job (she is a computer engineer).

We saw about 25 witnesses and watched several depositions in all. And I have to say I never nodded off in any of them. Most of the were interesting and had interesting things to say, luckily.

The Verdict:

This part was crazy, we got 21 pages of jury instructions on how to proceed over the case on how to come up with a decision. We also got a 5 page verdict form to fill out. We had to answer each question on the jury verdict form using the instructions. What was in the instructions? Mostly definitions of what things are in the eyes of the law. Those laws are tricky!

After 1.5 days of deliberating we came up with 2 negligent people (Realtor Lady and the Handyman) and 2 non negligent people (The Defendant and Realtor Lady's Boss Man). You might think wow, that's crazy, but we could ONLY use the evidence that was given to us, no speculation, so if they didn't prove something we had to assume it was NOT true.

We awarded the family close to $950,000. I think they should have gotten more, but that's a different story.

What I learned:

Some of the other jurors were brutal. I mean they blamed the lady for falling off the latter, so everyone was not negligent because they felt they lady was negligent. Some people just have no opinions of their own, they just constantly change their mind and have no thoughts of their own and form their opinions based off of everyone else. I'm fairly certain that one of the jurors was incapable of emotion. She felt that the brain injury was fake and despite having several expert witnesses tell us that her brain injury is permanent and that she will probably never get much better then she is right at this moment. The lady STILL thought it was fake and that she was totally fine.

Out of the 12 jurors, we only had to have 9 people vote in the same direction. Many times I was the odd man out, mostly because I thought she should get more money.

There was this guy that constantly talked and would literally summarize after each person spoke. Like person A would say, well I thought this, this and that. This guy would say, so person A thinks this, this and really?! That first day of deliberation was brutal! I wanted to stab my eye with a pen. Luckily we sort of set ground rules for the second day cause no one wanted to come back for a third day of deliberation. He was better, thankfully. We barely made it, we were sort of rushing towards the end of the day, trying to get 9 people to vote one way. So many times we would be at 8 to 4...arg, that was frustrating. But eventually we would get someone to change their vote.

One Last Lesson:

I don't think I could ever be a judge and be all impartial. I thought our judge did a great job explaining stuff to us and being impartial. And how he doesn't ever talk about his cases is beyond me! He says he can't in case people file other motions etc, he has to stay, I like to talk to much to keep anything a secret. I thought the 3 weeks was hard enough!

And that folks was how I spent 3 weeks in jury duty, in case you wanted to know that is.


  1. Wow how crazy! That sounds like such an interesting case to have seen!!

    xoxo Jamie

  2. Sounds so interesting! I think 21 pages of instructions would be so confusing! I actually just got my first summons for duty yesterday. I really want to do it but I don't have anyone to watch my son while I'm there :(

  3. I had to do federal jury duty once!! I was sort of traumatized by the whole thing. It was a big druggie guy drug dealing across state lines. There was a witness named Candy Bar that they wheeled in in a wheelchair the size of a Volkswagon. It was craayy.