Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And. . . I'm back!

Here I am, in the flesh, back from vacation. Two weeks of crime-free wonder, no thought of good guys, bad guys, or those (like most of us) stuck somewhere in between.

But now it's back into the fray. Three pages of emails, some of which I'd love to share but can't, most of which got binned immediately. None titled "You Screwed Up," which was a relief.

I thought I'd ease myself back in here with a couple of replies to comments left while I was away.

First, and several people have asked this, someone asked how to find out about trials other than the bare details I post. The truth is, "With difficulty." If the media cover the case, you can get info there. If it's more than idle curiosity, you could always try calling the defense lawyer or the prosecutor to see if they will answer your question(s). We're pretty good about being open and accessible, though you'll have to understand that there are some things we can't answer or provide. But we're friendly folks, so no harm in asking if you need to.

Second, this comment after my guest blogger Mackie's post about being on a jury:

I have also served several times on a jury, with similar sentiments afterward. Important duty, and interesting to be involved. Financial impact for others, though, is extreme and a six or seven month trial would destroy, or at least completely rearrange, anyone's life. Would be interested in DAC's opinions on this.

Well, my opinion is that I agree. It can be a huge imposition on people. Which is why we see people bucking to get out of it, and rolling their eyes when picked. But I think it's important to point out that most trials (certainly criminal ones) last less than one week. And you get a whole $60 a day!!I've wondered about having professional jurors who travel around hearing cases. But there's something wonderful (not to mention Constitutional) about having twelve people from the very community in which the crime was committed as the judges of the facts in a case.

I'm also trying to remember one single juror who has said they regret serving, and I can't come up with one. Yes, it's an inconvenience and, sometimes, pretty boring. But (not to sound like a Communist) when we live in a society we sometimes have to sacrifice our immediate best interests for those in our community. Like helping an old lady across the street when you weren't planning to cross. Okay, so it's a very large street and takes a few days to cross. (Hmmm, I wonder if that chicken could do it -- help the old lady, not be a juror -- you know, the one that's always crossing the road.)

So, bottom line, I agree it's an imposition. But it's almost always a brief one and one that is so important to our society I wouldn't advocate changing it. I might increase the remuneration a little but that might mean a tax increase, and we sure as heck know how people feel about that!
Third of all, some pics from where I was recently.

Now, just because it's my blog and I can: first, my parents' house, where we spent the first week.Next, the second house we stayed at, and its view:And no trip to France is complete without seeing the most wonderful city in the world, Paris:
And I just love this picture, the curious look on his face, the fact that he's covering up my triple chins... (yes, he's the lad in the picture at the top of the blog, growing up, isn't he?!)


  1. Speaking of jury service, I was wondering why "theft"-related convictions are the only misdemeanor that will permanently bar a person from serving on a jury in Texas.

    Why, for example, would a person who wrote a hot check under $200 in his youth (Class C misdemeanor) be considered so bad that they could never serve on a jury while a person who was dealing pot or had a couple of DWIs or assaulted some people, committed public lewdness or indecent exposure, engaged in prostitution or beat up his wife is free to serve?

  2. Great question. I'm not exactly sure what the rules are, as far as disallowing people from jury service. In the law, though (and as I understand it), theft-related offenses are supposed to indicate a certain level of untrustability (a word now).
    I suppose the idea is that someone can get in a fight and be charged with assault without great premeditation, likewise DWI, whereas theft often reflects a calculated desire to profit illegally at someone's expense. I'd bet money there's a law review article out there about that. Somewhere.

  3. DAC:

    You are not nearly as ugly as I was expecting you to be. But don't take that as a compliment. :)

  4. Lol. When you put it like that, how could I? Cheeky bugger.

  5. DAC, that was my comment you answered -- and I appreciate the reply. The one week trials are not the ones I have a problem with -- my experience was a 1 week child custody hearing and it was a wonderful experience and necessary (for the kids). The multiple month trials are what I have a problem with. being "forced" to serve on an "OJ" type trial, or worse, a 7 month Federal "accounting" trial would be the life changer. I'll take a short civil or criminal trial anytime as I see that as my duty. Completely rearranging my life for a trial is extreme.


Comments posted to this blog are NOT the opinion of the Travis County D.A.'s office, under any circumstances. They are only the personal, non-representative opinion of D.A. Confidential if posted under his name.
I welcome all comments, as long as they are expressed with politeness and respect. I will delete all comments that I deem to be personal attacks, or that are posted merely to antagonize or insult.