Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Federal Jury System Reform

Sent the following to Senators George Lemieux and Bill Nelson, Congressman Bill Young and President Barack Obama:

Is it me or does the Federal jury system just plain suck? It seems to me that working people should not be drafted to do the government's bidding whenever Uncle Sam feels like it. I've been summonsed THREE TIMES in the past TWO YEARS and it is too much! Imagine being sick and having to work security at night, then becoming so alarmingly subject to memory lapses due to poor sleep that this time, you FORGET TO CALL THE JURY POOL! (They call it "failure to appear." It's up to a 3 day jail term and a $1,000 fine. Nice, huh?)

I have a proposal. MAKE JURY SERVICE STRICTLY VOLUNTARY. We have 16 million people out of work and they could use the money. Speaking of which, they should get paid $100 A DAY, FLAT RATE TAX FREE. A nice way to tide them over, without eating into unemployment budgets while serving. And offer them FREE TRANSPORTATION or mileage. And ELIGIBILITY to volunteer again within a SHORTER PERIOD, to make sure jurors are available.

I believe if these changes are made, the Federal Court system will never lack jurors to fill the pools. If impartiality is a concern, keep in mind most defendants will be as poor and likely to be minorities as most of the jurors, and voir dire takes care of that anyway; while the present system results in jurors abusing voir dire to get out of serving because they need to get back to their own jobs. Yes, we know how to fake prejudice. Don't kid yourselves.

Please consider and enact this proposal soon. Thanks for your time.

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