Welcome to the dog days of summer. It’s been a busy summer here at The Jury Expert as we’ve transitioned to being published by the ASTC Foundation and are busy (still) working on catching all our documentation up so it reflects that shift.
The world of litigation has been busy too with the Jerry Sandusky verdict and the recent release of voicemail he sent to the previously unidentified Victim #2. George Zimmerman is giving interviews. Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson’s final doctor) is inviting Katherine Jackson (Michael’s mom) to visit him in prison even as Michael Jackson’s children take to Twitter to denounce Michael’s siblings having “abducted” Katherine Jackson and refusing to let them speak to her. Drew Peterson has gone to trial (again) and the SJQ used to select his new jury has been released.
In other news, Anderson Cooper comes out while Sally Ride doesn’t—but that doesn’t stop the debate on whether she should have done so. A gunman (who will not be named here) dyes his hair red and kills many in a theater showing the movie Dark Knight Rises. A starlet made famous by a vampire story apologizes profusely and publicly for having an affair with a married film director and thus hurting her vampire story co-star (with whom she lived). Sometimes it’s tough to separate fact from fiction and we are pelted with media sound bytes of every twist and turn.
It’s no wonder jury-eligible folks are often wary and suspicious of our legal system. As we brought our last issue to press, I sat in voir dire in Travis County and watched as potential jurors were questioned (while I was studiously ignored). While it was apparent no one was gung-ho to serve, no one was dressed like a Star Wars character and there were no overt efforts to lie to get out of serving.
The judge did a good job of educating about serving. Perhaps I was summoned on an atypical day. I doubt it though. I think it was likely a typical day in the halls of justice. As you know, if you read our lead article, the ASTC Foundation is trying to learn more about what happens on YOUR typical day. We want to understand the attitudes and practices of those involved in litigation in order to better advise the legal community about these issues.
If you are an attorney or a judge, please do us a favor and fill out this survey for the Foundation. And then, read the rest of our hot summertime issue and let us know what else you’d like to hear about!
Rita R. Handrich, PhD
Editor, The Jury Expert