Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Another Research Opportunity

When I opened the mail yesterday, my first thought was, “Oh, crap.” Oh, crap is the knee-jerk reaction of most people who open a jury summons. But then I immediately thought of it as another opportunity for research, so I changed to: “Oh. Okay.”

I think I’ll duck my head when they elect a foreman, though. I was foreman on the last jury I was on. Not that I’m a bad foreman. I’m just too democratic. I let everyone have their say. And say and say and say. We went on forever. They probably have my name starred with a “Do not let her be foreman” note.

So far, I’ve not served on a “big” trial. I’ve just done small things. Not sure I’d want a big trial, like drugs or murder. Those would definitely be better experiences as far as research for a future book, though. In the past I’ve just shown up on my scheduled date, sat through a couple of trials and gone home. Being on one that runs multiple days and involves someone’s long-term fate seems intimidating. And, I admit, I’m rather a softie.

And I’ve watched far too many legal shows like Law and Order. The main things you learn from those shows is that lawyers and the police lie to get their way and the first thing you should say if you’re arrested or talk to the police, whether you’re a suspect or a witness, innocent or guilty, is “I want a lawyer.” Those shows have done such a disservice to the police, in my opinion.

So, whatever happens as far as jury duty, I’ll go with the flow and take notes, if not during the trial, then afterwards. Every experience is research.


  1. I served on a federal grand jury a year of so ago, and learned that almost every case deals with drugs!

    Now, I'd love to get a local summons. Never have been on a jury!

  2. My sister did a federal grand jury stint -- for 18 months! That ought to exempt you from ever having to serve again.

  3. I've never been on any kind of jury. Somebody (usually the defense) always excludes me when my answers to their questions reveal I've been a victim of crime, my husband was in law enforcement, I've been sued, and I've sued someone else. They don't want to know any more - they automatically assume I will be biased.

  4. Well, Lillie, it seems you've gathered lots of experiences to draw on for writing. There were a couple of questions on their survey that I could have answered yes or no to, but there was no way to ask questions online and no one answered their phone number. So I answered no to a relative in law enforcement and victim of a crime.

  5. This is a really good attitude. I'm always surprised by those writers who don't have anything to write about.

    You're right, everything is a potential subject. Everything is something that you could possibly write about.

  6. The more attention you pay to your surroundings and the events in your life, the richer your books will be.


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