“Well, you guys make different judgements.”

Rusty - June 30, 2006

I went in for jury duty yesterday. I was asked a bunch of questions and in the end, to my relief, wasn’t selected. Since then I’ve been trying to figure out what it was that I said that could have made them reject me. The case was some guy suing for damages sustained in a car accident. The information they got from me was more demographic than anything else. Is it because I was white (the accident happened in a black neighborhood)? Is it because of my job? My education? My marital status? Who knows.

Anyway, so I was talking to a co-worker about it this morning and she asked, “Did you tell them you were Mormon?” No, why would that matter? “Well, you guys make different judgements.”

What the hell is that? Because I’m a Mormon I will look at the evidence of a car accident differently than a non-Mormon? I don’t even know in what way a Mormon would see a car accident differently.

It’s funny, often when I’m reading in the bloggernacle about other people’s experiences I often think, “that’s to over-the-top to be true” or “ridiculous, nobody would actually say that, let alone think it.” But experiences like this really make me wonder what those around me are thinking. It’s amazing how judgemental the non-judgemental people are.

13 Comments »

  1. Rusty, I think many Mormons exhibit a “blame the victim” way of thinking, so most attorneys representing someone injured in an accident or accused of a crime would not see a Mormon on a jury as someone who could empathize with their client. As a rule, Mormons (and other conservatives) don’t empathize well. Not that they’d ask flat out if you’re LDS. They’d ask if you drink or smoke or generally go to ballgames on Sunday afternoon.

    Comment by Dave — June 30, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  2. Rusty, you’re funny man. Thanks for the laughs.

    I agree with Dave. Most see us as vindictive and self-absorbed.

    Comment by David J — June 30, 2006 @ 1:03 pm

  3. The one time I was called for jury duty the trial was postponed or the matter was settled — I simply received a notice in the mail stating I wouldn’t be needed after all.

    Comment by danithew — June 30, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  4. Mormons are different in lots of ways, and it’s completely plausible that, on average, they “make different judgements” about lots and lots of things.

    Still, I agree that it’s kind of an odd thing for your co-worker to say.

    Comment by ed johnson — June 30, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  5. Rusty, maybe it’s the way you were dressed and appeared. Your stubble probably threw them off when combined with your pressed shirt and nice slacks. Obviously you were not considered a “peer” and we are supposed to be judged by our peers. Oh yeah and you aren’t black either.

    Comment by Don — June 30, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  6. Except that I was shaved (for once, I know) but was certainly NOT wearing slacks. Jeans, flip-flops and a polo shirt.

    Comment by Rusty — June 30, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

  7. I think it’s dumb how juries are selected.. Essentially, the attorneys attempt to stack a jury so that they’ll decide in favor of their client. I think it should be more random, or that the selection shouldn’t be controlled by the attorneys attempting to win and get a fat check.

    An interesting movie about this is Runaway Jury for those that might be interested.

    Comment by Connor Boyack — June 30, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

  8. I can’t believe your co-worker accused Mormons of making judgments (much less “different ones”). That’s so inappropriate.

    She must have been a Jew. A Jew or an Asian.. those people always generalize.

    Comment by Ryan — June 30, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

  9. “Rusty, I think many Mormons exhibit a “blame the victim” way of thinking, so most attorneys representing someone injured in an accident or accused of a crime would not see a Mormon on a jury as someone who could empathize with their client. ”

    I’m not sure that’s true Dave. I do think though that few Mormons would be sympathetic to the “reward the victim regardless of responsibility but instead in terms of wealth.” That is I think Mormons (and perhaps conservatives) think responsibility is independent of feeling sorry.

    Comment by Clark Goble — June 30, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

  10. I totally agree with Ed and Clark on this.

    Rusty,
    What?! How did you get that far? I’ve been called for jury duty twice and never got passed the orienteering/call your group’s number stage.

    Comment by Bret — June 30, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

  11. If most of the potential jurers lacked college education, I’d be feraful that an educated person’s opinion might influence some others and the jury might not deliberate as they should. Isn’t it a fact that educated people are disproportionally excluded from juries?

    Comment by Steve EM — June 30, 2006 @ 6:30 pm

  12. As an American, I usually make judgments. I leave the making of judgements to my English or Canadian friends.

    Comment by Mark B. — June 30, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  13. My job has taken me to a fair number of trials in years past, and all I can say is that there often doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason in how lawyers exclude potential jurors. I’ve seen lawyers exclude what I would think would be a sympathetic juror, and (more commonly) I’ve seen lawyers pick people who would make lousy jurors, lousy but sympathetic. Usually, the reason for excluding (or attempting to exclude) a juror is obvious, but not always.

    Comment by Observer — July 1, 2006 @ 10:03 am

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