As I read and hear the frustration of people with the Zimmerman verdict, as a trial lawyer I feel similar frustration. My frustration is with those of you who do everything to get off jury duty. There are trials every week in the United States very similar to the Trayvon Martin case heard in courtrooms without the media coverage and popularity of this case.
Those are the cases where you do everything to get off jury duty.
YES, YOU!!! The person who shows up and complains about any possible reason they cannot serve, the jurors who may be the best juror for a case but try to give answers to questions that will surely get them released from duty.
I have handled hundreds of criminal and civil cases, and when a case goes to trial, the jurors trying to get out of hearing the case are aggravating. They give answers to questions such as, “ I think all drugs should be legal and I won’t convict anyone for any reason at all,” or in an injury case they’ll say, “I want to give this lady $1 million regardless of what the evidence shows.”
There actions point to one motivation: they want to be eliminated from the jury.
In Mark O’Mara’s words, “REALLY? REALLY???”
This is the reality of jury trials when trial lawyers are working hard to bring justice. It may be a criminal client charged with an offense or someone seriously hurt in a car accident or nursing home staff being negligent, among other things.
Not only does your desire and work to get off jury duty aggravate the hell out of me, it makes me sad because I know that the jury pool will be against my client. I know the jurors who most likely relate to my client’s interests are trying their best to get out of hearing the case.
They want to get out of spending only a few days doing their civic duty to hear a trial, when it could easily be you wrongly accused, your son on trial, or a family member seriously injured and trying to get medical expenses paid.
The next time you get called for jury duty and want to avoid it, think about your aggravation for the six Seminole County jurors. They may not have voted the way you wanted them to in the Zimmerman case, but I am sure someone acted JUST LIKE YOU and avoided jury duty; he or she could’ve made a difference in this case.
There are many Trayvon cases out there.
Did you avoid jury duty and miss your chance to right a wrong? Probably so.
Eric L. Welch Guster is founder and managing attorney of Guster Law Firm in Birmingham, Ala., handling criminal and civil matters, catastrophic injuries, criminal defense, and civil rights litigation. Mr. Guster has become a go-to lawyer for the New York Times, NewsOne, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, Black America Web, and various radio programs about various court issues and high-profile cases.