PhD on a Jury?

I don’t have enough time for a full post this morning since I have to report for jury duty across town at an an undgodly hour, and the weather is crappy. Instead, I’ll just post this quick question: has anybody out there served on a jury? I’ve heard a rumor that PhDs don’t normally get chosen for juries. I hope to check in here while waiting, and I’m especially interested if anybody knows the trick for a quick release (ahem, without being found in contempt).


10 thoughts on “PhD on a Jury?

  1. I've also heard that Ph.D.'s are rarely selected for serving on a jury. I've been called up 3 times to serve, but have never been selected. However, a colleague of mine was selected to serve on a drug jury while she was a postdoc. Regardless, jury duty is a great time to finish thank you notes from a wedding (or other large event) or to catch up on your literature reading.

  2. Congrats on the dismissal. My PhD served on a B&E jury. He wasn't asked for his education level during the jury screen so it didn't come up, but frequently when they do ask, PhDs (and MDs) get dismissed.

    Interesting isn't it? “Too smart” to be on JD?

  3. Interesting isn't it? “Too smart” to be on JD?

    It is really crazy. I actually heard through a friend about a prof that believed we shouldn't serve as PhDs because we are no longer peers of most “other people”…kind of an elitist statement if you ask me. Anyhow, I think I'd want someone like me on a jury if my freedom were at stake.

    Ria – They had free wi-fi and coffee in the jury room (score!), and I got quite a bit of work done on my manuscript revision before getting dismissed. I almost never get that type of uninterrupted time here in the lab. Of course, I'm pretty thankful nobody nearby insisted on “chatting” to pass the time!

  4. I served on a criminal jury while a faculty member, and there were also two lawyers, a physician, and a medical student on the panel. And you should *never* try to play any “tricks” to get released, because judges have seen them *all*, and they *will* hold you in contempt and make your life a lot more miserable than just serving on the fucking jury.

  5. Wow, can they do that in the US? I did jury service last year in the UK and the only thing they asked any of us beforehand was whether we knew any of the people involved in the case – nothing whatsoever about background, education, occupation…

  6. PhysioProf: I've heard way too many stories of people getting in trouble with cranky judges to try anything stupid. I mainly wondered if anybody had found any specific phrase, etc, to put on a questionnaire.

    Choco: Lawyers in the US can dismiss somebody with a perceived bias either for or against the defendant. The judge that gave us an overview of the process yesterday assured us that, if any question felt too personal or prying, the judge/lawyers could talk to us in private. Otherwise, I know the lawyers generally try to do a pretty thorough job of obtaining relevant background info.

    Julie R: I think I would really enjoy (not sure if that's the best word) sitting on a jury. I just feel so swamped right now and didn't want to be away from work for too long. On the other hand, the only people I know that do have a lot of spare time are retired. And a jury packed with retired persons may not be the best set of “peers” for most people.

  7. I'm glad you didn't get picked. I have served on a jury- but I don't think they realized I was a PhD. They didn't ask, I didn't tell. I just said I was a scientist.

    I have other PhD-bearing friends who have served, too. It is definitely not a free pass.

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