Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fix the Jury Selection Process

My one experience with jury duty, was very negative. I was in a pool of 60+, and we were there all day for a selection of 13 or so. The really shocking part to me was how downright stupid some of the people in the pool were. So I started an Idiot List just to pass the time. And at the end of the day, wait for it...half the 15 or so names on my list made the jury.

That's 60 people, away from their jobs, or their kids, or whatever obligation they have, all day long. That was one courtroom of many in that courthouse. But that was just one courthouse of many in the city. And that's just one of the thousands of cities in this country. I would love to see someone with access to the data estimate the economic cost in terms of lost economic productivity of our jury selection process. My rough estimate has it in the billions (60 people X 8 hours X $15/hr X 10 courtrooms X 5 courthouses X 50 such big cities X 260 workdays a year = $4,680,000,000). That's insane for a system that seems to produce juries arguably WORSE than just taking the first 12 (OJ anyone? The $3 USFL verdict?)

I say give each lawyer 2 strikes for any reason, they can use them when the defendants brother turns up in the pool, and then (the four words that came to my mind most while wasting my day) GET ON WITH IT!!! Paid for with the savings from that, juries ought to be given the royal treatment. Give them their own parking lot, and pay them the average hourly wage (a good way to remind those of us with white collars just how low that is). Make it seem like a priviledge rather than a burdon, something to take seriously and do well, not just something to suffer through.

Troublesome Frog is right, when doing one's taxes seems fun by comparison, something is wrong with the process.

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