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The Electric Smack Shack

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.

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The only jury I've sat on was a 6-person jury for small claims court. We were deciding a $600 claim over a fender bender. One side even had a professional lawyer that almost certainly cost him more than $600.

When we, the jurors retired to our deliberations, our initial thought was that both parties should be fined $600 to be split amongst the jurors for wasting our time on this crap.

The judge said no. :(

Ultimately we felt that yeah, the injurer had been somewhat to blame, but that there was clearly something hinky going on and we weren't inclined to give him the full amount. Ultimately, we each voted on an amount and averaged it out to $300.

Afterwards, the plaintiff and the defendant and their families were chatting in the lobby like old friends, for whom a $600 matter was nothing to argue over.

I still like our original idea.

Hmm, I sympathize. I wonder if my account would have been different if I'd sat in a civil court instead of criminal court.

Thank you for sharing this, for providing such detail about your experience and opinions. I've yet to be on a jury (or even report for jury duty, for that matter).

I have to agree with you about the wasting of resources issue. It's easy to use the excuse that requesting trial by jury for a small offense, to contest a small fine, costs us too much. But we cannot put a price tag on the exercising of rights. (I've heard the same argument in favor or paying a premium for organic produce; it might be more expensive, but "we can't afford *not* to.")

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