Jury selection itself was interesting. I always pictured it being an individual grilling, but in this case, that’s not how it worked.
There were about 40 of us selected for this courtroom. Only 12 fit into the jury box, and they placed 6 more chairs in front of the box for a total of 18 people. The rest sat in the “audience” or the gallery, or whatever they call it. I presume one of them would have been called up in case one of us in the 18 seats had keeled over from a heart attack or something. But only the 18 of us were questioned. So it took me a day, maybe two, to realize that the intention was, all along, to pick the jury from we 18 people.
The plaintiff’s lawyer did most of the questioning, and he did so initially as a group question. He would say, How many of you have bumper stickers…raise your hand if the answer is yes. (One of my favorite questions.) Then he would refer to his diagram (they had a diagram! So they knew your name and where you were seated!) And he would address the potential jurors by name and ask, What does your bumper sticker say? My favorite answer was from a woman who said she had a bumper sticker that said USEF–which stands for United States Equestian Foundation. (I knew what that meant, but it’s no wonder she had to explain it.)
I don’t do bumper stickers, so I was safe from individual questioning on that one.
How many of you have ever been injured? Or had a family member injured? As Fakesister pointed out, it would be pretty hard to find an adult who couldn’t answer Yes to that. He did not ask whether you had been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence–but he didn’t have to. People were more than willing to share their opinions of whose fault it was. And none of those people were chosen for the jury. Again, my favorite answer was from USEF woman who said, Well, a horse fell on me…? But she said it in such a way that it implied, I was riding a horse. Shit happens 🙂 I thought she would have made a great juror, but she expressed some other opinions that I guess were not acceptable to one attorney or another.
Another of the questions was “Do you listen to talk radio?” Raise your hand, etc. I don’t I don’t even listen to talk TV. But some of the people who did raise their hands said they listened to NPR, so I reluctantly raised my hand after the fact and said that I do too…but I don’t consider NPR to be “talk radio” as I understand it, I think it’s news. That didn’t even cause a blink. Moving right along.
The guy who did cause a blink was the guy who said he listens to Hannity and Rush Limbaugh (Hannity has a radio show?) I forget what his bumper stickers were. But I remembered that answer. And somehow, he ended up on the jury. And decided he would be Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men.
To be continued.