April 29, 2005
What Kind of Professor Wouldn't Want to Be on a Jury?
Posted by Christine Hurt

Prof. D at Legal Ethics Forum links to a Houston Chronicle story about a social work professor at Texas Southern who skipped out of jury duty.  The judge ordered her to either spend 10 eight-hour days in the jury room (without reading material) or 10 days in jail.

I have always wanted to be on a jury.  I have been called to jury duty once, last June.  I would wait anxiously every time they called out jurors' names for a panel.  Finally, after two days, I was called.  We started voir dire, then we broke for the evening.  The next morning, the defendant pled.  I was disappointed.  Who wouldn't want an inside view into the legal system, especially if you are a law professor or a social work professor?

I still wonder if I would have been struck.  The case involved a man accused of various counts of sexual assault of his own daughter, ranging from exposure to having sex in front of the child.  The child was four.  The mother was the accuser, and the accusations came up in a custody dispute.  I was a mother of a four-year-old girl, but I also have a history of death penalty work and I wore birkenstocks.  You never know.

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