How are the citizens selected for the duty of the jury

Jury service: How US stars shirk “jury duty”

Two words on an envelope regularly put many Americans in a bad mood: "Jury summons", the summons to serve on a jury. This means: At least one day has to be spent in court, usually two, and whoever is selected for a jury can even expect weeks and months. According to the law, the whole thing is the top civic duty every few years for almost every American over the age of 18.

This court date can only be postponed with a particularly good excuse, cancellation is not possible - and even celebrity status does not help against the unpopular “jury duty”.

Whether Mariah Carey, Robert De Niro, Tom Wolfe, Woody Allen, Uma Thurman, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger or Calvin Klein - they all had to serve on the jury at their New York home. In Los Angeles, Charlie Sheen, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and Eva Longoria have been called to court.

Wait, wait, wait

The process is then exactly the same for them as for everyone else: They must appear in court and identify themselves on the day indicated on the summons. After that, you usually have to wait first. When a trial is pending and a jury jury is required, those waiting are randomly selected.

If not, it is said for eight hours, only interrupted by a short lunch break, to sit on the mostly uncomfortable chairs of the court waiting rooms and wait, wait and wait even more. "Nobody likes jury duty," lawyer Wendy Feldman recently told Fox News.

Depending on the type of process, six to 23 jurors are needed per jury. However, significantly more are initially included in the selection, which are then questioned in detail by the lawyers of both parties in order to rule out any kind of bias. Does the person know one of the process participants? Does he know someone who knows someone who knows one of the process participants? And so on, and so on - the questioning can take days or even weeks for the lawyers to assemble their jury.

Cheating out of duty

Anyone who ends up on a jury must then closely observe a process and possibly decide, for example, on the guilt or innocence of a murder suspect. Or whether a man who has been injured at work is entitled to compensation and, if so, how much.

In the end, very few of those summoned actually end up in a jury. This is due on the one hand to the fact that there are many more potential jurors than are needed, and on the other hand to the many possible biases. Or the imaginary biases, because in the USA it is considered a kind of national sport to somehow get out of the potentially long and tedious jury duty. A New York lawyer says he has heard everything from “I am indispensable at work” to “I always get sick in the courtroom” to “I basically have a problem with lawyers and don't believe in our judicial system”.

Woody Allen was too traumatized

The star director Woody Allen also wanted to talk his way out, told the recently retired supreme jury supervisor in New York, Norman Goodman, the "New York Times". He was so traumatized by his custody lawsuit with ex-partner Mia Farrow that under no circumstances could he appear for “jury duty”. Goodman wouldn't let this get away with, and Allen came with a lawyer and a bodyguard. "We finally let him go and were honestly glad to get rid of him again."