What are your thoughts about being called for jury duty?
Welcome to our ExFeds News Wrap. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or good ole’ water and join us for a conversation about crime and justice issues we’ve dealt with in our careers—before we started writing High Velocity Suspense. As a special treat, we will visit the land of NCIS when we have news about the popular TV show. David, like Jethro Gibbs, served as a Special Agent with NIS, the predecessor of NCIS, and as we travel the country for book signings, we meet so many readers who instantly identify with Abbey, Gibbs, Tony, McGee and Ducky. Everyone asks David, “Is NCIS for real? Is it accurate?”
Our recurring blog is the place to find out the answers! The ninth season premiers on September 20, 2011 and we’ll have a few sneak peeks for you before then, so gather round our News Wrap.
For this debut blog, here is what we’d like to know: Have you ever been called for jury duty? If so, was your experience a positive one?
Here’s why we’re asking. David testified in many trials and Diane has tried many cases before juries, but you know what? As much as both of us would be honored to serve on a jury, neither of us has ever been summoned by the Clerk of the Court. It must be the result of living in an “undisclosed location.” The clerk doesn’t know how to find us.
Right about now you’re thinking, with both of your legal backgrounds, you’d be kicked off by one of the lawyers. True. Even if we were ever summoned, we probably would be excluded from a jury due to Diane being an attorney and former Federal Prosecutor and David being a thirty-one-year veteran law enforcement officer. I guess we’d like the chance.
Lately, many folks have shared how they would do anything to avoid having to serve, especially if they have to be sequestered, i.e., forced to stay away from home. Judges hear every kind of excuse, but many won’t work. But most of us would agree that when accused of a wrongdoing, we would value the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. We believe it is a bedrock foundation of our democracy. If responsible law abiding citizens avoid jury duty, we will end up with juries that do not reflect a cross section of society. Recently, many Americans were shocked when the Florida jury found the Florida mother guilty of giving false reports to the police, but not guilty for the death of her two-year-old daughter. And a jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty in the death of his former wife despite overwhelming evidence.
We think of it this way. When we take seriously our civic duties and serve on juries, thoughtful, responsible, and well-informed citizens keep our society from slipping into anarchy. Some of you may be asked to serve on a “Grand Jury.” Grand Juries do not consider the guilt of culpability of person, but instead they are a tool to assist prosecutors in gathering and evaluating evidence, and ultimately, Grand Jurors vote to indict persons, so they will face trial. To find out more about what this is, read our thriller, “Facing Justice” where one of the characters serves on a federal grand jury, learning a key fact that fuels the mystery after the federal agent’s twin sister was killed in the Pentagon on 9/11.
Blessings and we value your thoughts.
Diane and David Munson
Authors of High Velocity Suspense tm