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December 27, 2006

"Get out of jury duty free" card

I'm not a trial lawyer, so my one experience with "voir dire" -- which means, roughly translated, "I'd rather be having a root canal" -- came when I was called for "one day/one trial" jury service in Rockville nearly 14 years ago. At the end of the day, I had dodged the bullet. All they promised me was I wouldn't be called for another 8 years, so now you know the real reason I post anonymously.

I remember being asked a boatload of questions, but no one ever asked me if I had a bumper sticker on my car not related to a political candidate. It turns out that those of you in New Jersey will have to answer that question starting very soon, according to a blog called The NJ Blog. (Thanks to Miriam for the link.)

The post at The NJ Blog cites the local legal rag for the theory behind the question -- that "there's a difference between 'Question Authority' and 'Have You Hugged a Cop Today?'" I suppose. I can imagine, can't you, that if you're a lawyer defending a major oil company, that you might be reluctant to empanel a juror whose car is plastered with "Imagine World Peace" and "I'd Rather Be Fighting Global Warming" stickers.

But what if you're a prospective juror? Do you remove your stickers before appearing in court? Or do you follow the advice of The NJ Blog and display a sticker that reads "Fry them all"?

It's called a "Get out of jury duty free" card. Someone in New Jersey will make a good buck selling them.