Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Voir Dire

I went to the mailbox a few days ago and found a big green postcard from the district clerk. I checked the front and there was my full legal name, Ronald Wayne Rosseau. Jury Duty. I don't have time for jury duty...almost no one has time for jury duty. I thought about the disqualifications and the possible exemptions. My kids are all too big. There is no one invalid in my house. I'm still a ways from the exemption for being at least 70. I thought about the sound mind exemption. The judge might buy it. My alarm clock goes off at at time when the chickens would slap the silly thing off and tuck their head under the other wing. I finally dropped the idea and showed up. Surely, the lawyers wouldn't want someone like me for the jury. Hundreds of people were already in the jury assembly room when I got there. Hundreds more came in later. My chances for early dismissal looked pretty good, and after the clerk named a hundred or more people and directed them to different jury panels, she told the rest of us that we wouldn't be needed. The exhales of relief was audible and palpable. One of the biggest and loudest came from my chest. I came back to work, but the phone rang. There was a mistake and I had to come back for another jury panel. After sitting there and waiting for the wheels of justice to grind on our nerves, the judge invited all of us up to the fourth floor for the voir dire. I know just enough French to know that it shouldn't be pronounced "voy-dire," but that's how we say it here in West Texas. It means "to say truth." I had already raised my hand and promised to tell the truth. I would anyway. After the attorneys explained the importance of what the process for the defendant and for the Texas legal system, my thoughts began to change. I was secretly hoping that the lawyers would want me on the jury. I was number 25 of about 40. They needed twelve. The judge started calling out the names that the lawyers wanted for the case. The only took four or five from each of the first two rows. There was still a chance...but then they skipped me and called the last two-or three jurors seated down the line. The rest of us were free to go with the thanks and appreciation of the court. It was an interesting process. I don't know which attorney didn't want me. It really doesn't matter. I hope that the dread will be a little less the next time I open the mailbox and find one of those big green postcards with my full legal name on it.


  1. Apparently you did not listen. The attorneys do not pick who "they want on a jury". Rather, they strike the ones who they do not want. I am sure that the attorneys explained that to you. It is a process of elimination, not selection. No attorney has the right to select a person for the jury. The strikes are done independently so neither attorney can know who the other attorney strikes.

  2. Dear Anonymous. I listened intently. District Attorney James Eidson asked us as indivuals if we would be the kind of juror that he would want on the jury. We all responded affirmatively. If you will read my post, you will see that I explained that one of the attorneys chose not to include me. It may be done independantly, but those attorneys were both smart enough to count to two. I was not striken, "for cause." Thanks for reading. Ron

  3. Well when all is said and done, Justice did prevail. Oh, you're talking about your jury duty. I thought it was the fact that the Rangers had, after long last, finally won a Divisional Series. My mistake, I guess I was listening with my heart rather than my ears. GO RANGERS. Take up the slack for those ne'er do well Cowboys!