Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Duty as Potential Juror

Micah Brown's post, My Civic Duty, is a little different from my experience when I was called up some months ago for jury duty. Then again, it varies from locality to locality and state to state.

When I got the summons, I checked to see if it was a legal requirement, and it was. A little under two weeks before I was to show up, I called them to say I would need an interpreter. Unfortunately, they weren't able to get one in time, so they gave me an extension. Then they called me and said I had two interpreters.

I arrive on time that day at 7:45am as requested. I made the mistake of not calling the hotline the night before to see if my group was to show up. As it turns out, my group wasn't needed that day, but the front desk people told me I had to be there since I had interpreters and they were on the way.

I sat down with laptop and connected to the wireless access point. Not long afterwards, both interpreters arrived. Then about 8:30am, one of the people start a video telling about the jury selection process.

Within the time of 3 hours, they called two groups. A little later, a bailiff comes out to thank us for coming and that we are excused from jury duty for 3 years.

One of the interpreters mentions that they don't want to pay twice, that is, for me to come in, then return the next day, as it's so expensive. As it turns out, I was to be there for two mornings, but they excused us.

Has anyone had this kind of experience?


Anonymous said...

ADA law stated that state must provide service and can not cut it off because of the expensive costs, therefore it is illegal of courthouse to excuse you and get rid of interpreters. Interpreters failed to defend it so i do not know why.

Anonymous said...

I cant tell you the number of times I have been called to jury duty and I do what ANY sane person would do.

I check the box that im deaf and would need an interpreter and as such wouldnt be a good juror and to please dismiss me from the entire mess.

Anonymous said...

You got excused for 3 years? Wish I had that luxury.


RSGeo-007 said...

The state did not cut it off. The county didn't want to have to pay for interpreters a second day. The interpreters would have defended me if more legal issues came up. If I were picked for jury duty, then they'd have to keep the interpreters for the duration of the court case.

This is in the state of Virginia, so their summons and questionnaires have no mention of deafness, just if you have a disability. The questionnaire I did was web-based and I mentioned my hearing loss.

It's a state law that lets you be excused for 3 years even if you weren't picked. Pretty much gives you a chance to get back to your job, finish up school, etc.

RLM said...


I recently got the similar questionaire from the Arlington County Circuit Court clerk via mail.

I was pretty offended and puzzled why the Circuit Court clerk send out such questionaire to weed out the undesired jurors. That was considered some kind of illegal and discriminatory practice on the part of the Arlington County and the state of Virginia doing questionaires to potential jurors.

I got unfairly dismissed as a likely juror before the jury selection begun. The courthouse interpreter coordinator, Francis X. Burton, got sick on that day or purposefully skipped on that day as some way of finding good excuses to avoid providing ASL interpreter. I went to Burton's office, but he was not there.

I found out that I was not only the deaf potential juror candidate facing similar circumstances. Other deaf people did show up for the jury selection and found out that there was no ASL interpreter available at that time. *stratch head*

Was the DC courthouse cahooted with the interpreting office to deny potential deaf juror candidate to be possibly selected as one of the jurors?

Moreover, the DC courthouse is run by the federal government, not the state itself. That was during the Clinton years. :(

I want to experience to be a juror in my lifetime serving my own community. How sad!

Hearing court adminstration people made the decisions for deaf people like us to be denied serving on the jury pool.

Robert L. Mason (RLM)