Letter to the editor: waste of time in jury call

inyocourthouseThis letter followed the summoning of a reported 100 or so citizens for jury duty in Inyo Superior Court on Monday, January 14th in Independence.  Sierra Wave heard from a number of those called who were distressed that they were called, re-arranged their days only to find out a half hour after arriving at the courthouse that the trial was changed to a bench trial instead of a jury trial.  This writer also pointed to the Grand Jury report that recommended against last minute changes in trial proceedings:

Dear Editor,
I had a jury summons for today.  I called last night and this morning to make sure it was still on.  I had to take the day off work.  I arrived in Independence at 8:30 a.m. went through the metal detector was told to sit down and wait.  Several people came in after me and went straight into the courtroom, so I decided to go in.  By 9:00 a.m. the courtroom was full, extra folding chairs were used, the jury box, the plaintiff and defendants chairs were full, the witness chair was occupied and they rolled chairs in from offices for people to sit in.
About 9:10 or so, the Bailiff told every one no hats or sunglasses and to turn cell phones off.  Then said someone would be in momentarily to give us our orientation.
After 20 minutes a lady came in and said it must be our lucky day, they decided to do a bench trial instead of a jury trial.
Over 100 people were there missing work, missing out on part of their day to have this decided the morning of jury selection!!  Ludicrous.  I thought the Grand Jury already addressed this with the District Attorney’s Office.  Is it arrogance or incompetence that they can show total disregard to the voting members of our County.
How much more money does the County of Inyo need to waste on this?
Just a little more fat to chew on.
Peggy Feigner

19 Responses to Letter to the editor: waste of time in jury call

  1. Seriously? January 23, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    No matter who’s fault the lack of orgnization belongs to or whose time is wasted, we need to get Judge Lamb out of office and off that bench. He is the biggest waste of time and resources there is in our local syste.

  2. Todd Vogel January 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    I was one of the hundred called. Jury duty is always something that makes me grumble, but I don’t mind doing my duty. In this case I was relieved to get to be released after only half a day’s commitment – and my jury duty clock reset for a year.

    • Jean January 23, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Did your jury duty clock reset? I’ve served for a day and been called again after less than six months. When I lived in Inyo County it seemed as though I got a jury summons at least once every three to six months.

      • Todd Vogel January 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

        Gail (__?) came in and told us “(explanation of why we were being released)…and you won’t get called for another year!”. I’ll make a note on my calendar.

  3. Dingo January 20, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Unfortunately its arrogance AND incompetence.
    Only until a government is flat ass broke, or real close to it, will they re-evaluate themselves and how they operate but this comes at the expense of the people.
    With money and power comes arrogance, ignorance and entitlement. A recipe for failure.

    • Jean January 23, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Fact is: It is the defendant’s Constitutional right to select a jury trial or a bench trial. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty. They have a right to select the type of trial until the trial starts. It has even gone through half a trial and the defendant has chosen to accept a plea bargain. It is the way the system works.

  4. BobK January 19, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Sierra Fan: Re-read Getreal’s post

  5. Roy January 19, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    The last 4 times I have been called for jury duty in San Berdo Co. about 150 people show up. Every group I was assigned to had to wait for lunch hour, told to return in the afternoon and within 10 minutes of showing up get dismissed…Not once in that 4 times has anyone been picked for a jury…I miss the days when I was a police officer and was exempt from jury duty.

  6. Sierra Fan January 19, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    It’s complete arrogance!! The only people negatively affected are those that had to lose out on income or inconvenienced! The folks working in the system are paid regardless and aren’t considerate of our time or money and act accordingly. There should be more consideration for “the people” when it comes to this sort of thing.

  7. getreal January 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    When you say “they decided to do a bench trial instead of a jury trial” please understand that this was the defendant’s choice. His or her right. Not the choice of the Judge, Bailiff or even the District Attorney’s Office.

    A lot of people’s time was wasted.

    • Tourbillon January 19, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      People’s time was wasted because the court allows last minute decisions. There is no reason for that. Simple court rule: you have a right to a jury trial, and if your trial starts Monday and you want to waive that right, do it the Friday before.

      Get real. We are not helpless here.

      • Wayne Deja January 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

        Tourbillion….But that’s not how the system works….I’ve seen it with trials to where a defendant can change his mind about anything he wants at the last minute..I’ve seen a trial where the defendant decided to plead out in the middle of it….everyone’s time wasted, and money wasted…but that’s the way it is.

        • Tourbillon January 21, 2013 at 8:44 am #

          You’re wrong on a number of levels. A defendant cannot “change his mind about anything he wants at the last minute.” He cannot change his mind at the last minute about venue, which jurors were challenged and which allowed on, defense strategies not adopted, etc. etc. He can indeed plead guilty any time – but that is not what happened in this case. What happened in this case and many others should have and could have been avoided by more effective court management.

          But on a positive note, you have managed to post a comment without excoriating Mammoth, so good job there.

          • Wayne Deja January 21, 2013 at 9:09 am #

            Tourbillion…..There is a trial on In Session right now,a murder case involving a girl (Jodi Arias ) charged with the murder of her ex-boyfriend….Happened in 2008,just going to trial now…First,she said she had nothing to do with it….then,said intruders killed him….now she’s claiming self-defense.The prosecution just rested their case.With all the evidence against her,I’m actually expecting her to just stand up and decide to plead guilty to avoid anymore of what is going on. With a high profile case such as this one,what a waste of $$$ it would be if she did….but if she wants to,she can.

          • Wayne Deja January 21, 2013 at 9:18 am #

            Opps !!!!…meant to say NOW she is claiming self defense…..

  8. Wayne Deja January 18, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I was called to be a juror on this day….Had to let them know I couldn’t make it due to having to get a ……colonoscopy…..glad I didn’t cancel it.

    • Trouble January 19, 2013 at 4:55 am #

      To much info Wayne.

      • Wayne Deja January 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

        Trouble….watch it,or I’ll tell you all about the experience……….

        • Trouble January 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

          That troubles me Wayne. I just ate.


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