introduction and other
A person's attention span is very limited nowadays. With people designing websites (myself included) with the 15 second load time in effect, we place a pretty high value on getting people's attention - and keeping it. In case you need a refresher, the 15 second load time assumes that the full webpage will be downloaded within those 15 seconds - and the first 5 seconds will be spent giving the viewer something to do while the other 10 go by.
It would be a wonderful thing if we could introduce some sort of technology where, within those 15 seconds, everything you have to say and show is comprehended by the viewer. Although remotely simple with images - explaining a point with text can be difficult - you've got to treat everyone like a stupid idiot... otherwise some might get confused.
Comprehension in 15 seconds would require a totally new (innovative) medium - we'd probably have to wait until the X-Files turns into real life, and I can just THINK you smell bad... you'd get the hint and go for a shower.
As much as I try to impose a 15 second load time on Disobey's webpages, I also try to keep a 5 minute maximum on reading completely through Devil Shat. Most people can sacrifice 5 minutes, whether it be while brushing their teeth, waiting for their mail to download, or because they have a couple of minutes before they go to work. Because of this, you've got this short little intro by Morbus (that's me, speaking in the third person) and the following article.
how to avoid jury duty
by Brian Newman
As you are flipping through the mail, sorting out the bills from the advertisements, you see a strange envelope. You open it up and, surprise, surprise, you have been picked for Jury Duty. This happens to almost everyone and everyone has the same two feelings about it: dread at the time involved and a feeling that, somehow, this is their duty.
Living in modern society has its price, and jury duty is simply a part of that cost. Should you feel that cost is too high, should you wish to avoid this burden, the following tells you the best way to escape.
If you have just received the jury duty letter, DO NOT fill it out and DO NOT return it. The letter will, no doubt, inform you that not returning the form is a criminal offence, subject to various penalities. You can safely forgot about these penalities. Each batch of mailed out jury duty forms gets about an 80% return rate. The 20% not answering include those who have moved, who have not picked up their mail, or who do not, for whatever reason, want to get involved. Almost always, the 20% who do not answer are completely ignored and their names are removed from the process. Very rarely, a second request is sent out. The threatened privilege of criminal charges are so rare as to be virtually unheard of. In the extremely rare event of a "crack down" on people ignoring the call for jury duty, the people in the judicial process will have to prove that you received their noticed.
Normally this is done by sending a registered letter, something that has to be signed for. All adults should have two "signatures", one good for cheques, contracts and credit cards, and another illegible one for anything you are not certain about. If you do choose not to return the jury duty form, sign any future unexpected registered mail with a meaningless scrawl. The odds, however, of you receiving future mail from the judicial process are extremely slim.
Perhaps you are one of the 80% who does answer and perhaps you have already sent back a completed form. Returning that form enters your name in a future drawing process for possible future jury members. If your name is picked, you will receive another letter, demanding your presence at a location noted in that letter. A penalty for not doing so will be spelled out. Again, a certain percentage (usually less than 10%) do not show up and, generally, one of the three following things will happen: 1) They are ignored, 2) Their names are placed back in the lottery for future jury duty, or 3) They receive a registered letter or a police visit asking why they did not show up. The letter, if signed for with that illegible scrawl, can be ignored. A police visit means show up next time, exactly as told.
Various regions have assorted ways of running the jury duty lottery. With any luck, you will be passed up. Receiving the second letter, asking for your presence (generally at the court house, or at a hotel with the needed space) is your entry into a future lottery. In what can be a long and boring day, groups of people are picked for possible jury duty. Likely a Judge will speak, or a film shown, thanking you for being there, outlining what may be ahead for you and congratulating you on being a fine citizen.
Fine citizen you are, but you can still very easily get out of the process. If you are picked as a potential juror, the Judge and lawyers for the prosecution and the defense will ask you a number of questions. Both lawyers have a number of opportunities to remove people from the potential jury and it is rather easy to get them to give you your freedom. Each lawyer tries to pick people they think will agree with their side in the upcoming case. Both lawyers will approach all potential jurors as if they are long lost friends. This gives you a great chance to escape.
As soon as you see the lawyers for the prosecution and defense, pick one, or both as a potential "enemy". The stronger you can feel the emotion, the more powerful your body language is. Shake your head, glare, make faces. The lawyers and any staff are carefully noting all reactions by the potential jurors. They are trying to pick out any prejudice against them, against their client or even against their case. Showing a prejudice, even if you do not have one, gets you quickly out of the courtroom. Almost all lawyers will excuse any potential jurors who they cannot mentally see as a potential friend. Their questions will be delivered with as much fake charm and friendliness as they can muster.
The Judge may ask questions of his own. For example, in a case involving car theft, the Judge may ask all potential jurors if they have ever been a victim of that type of crime. Even if you give a positive answer to that type of question, the Judge will only ask if that experience would influence your decision in the case they want you to hear. No matter what your answer, the Judge makes his own decision on if you stay or go. Your answer to that second question may, however, cause either the prosecution or the defense to want you excused.
Almost sure to get you off, is a loud "What?" after any question, from anyone, to anyone. You will quickly be asked if you have a hearing problem. You yell out "What?", make them repeat the question and then loudly say that you do not have a hearing problem. No lawyer wants to yell throughout the case and a fake hearing problem does wonders to get you out.
Normally, financial concerns will not get you out from jury duty. Check with your employer to see if you will continue to get a pay check (a surprising number of companies do pay you while on jury duty). If not, this knowledge will aid your skill in acting the part of a juror whom neither side wants.
Health matters are more of a concern. If you are receiving any type of medical treatment, or if you will in the near future, a Doctor's letter will allow you to escape. Many have claimed non-existent health problems, often on the original letter form asking them to report for jury duty. As a firm rule, the judicial system does not check on any claim of health concerns. Most Doctor's will supply a letter to excuse their patient, because of "stress", "headache" or even "inability to comprehend".
However, a loud "What?"to your Doctor will only result in an unnecessary hearing test.
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I just got the goddam summons for jury duty. Your article gave me several chuckles and also bolstered up my courage to ignore it. A neighbor got called to jury a year ago and put on a suit, caught the bus downtown every day of the trial, walked in like a puppy dog wagging his tail, then almost got his vacation messed up. Not for me.I wouldn't have minded when I worked, but now I'm not working , I don't want to waste my time!
Seriously-- I'm a depressive type and have been bopping into a psychopharmacologist every 3 months for the past 5 years for psychoactive meds. If I lived in England, this would disqualify me from jury. Not here, I guess? I also hate the jury system and see it as an attempt of the "strong" (Jeffery Feiger type lawyers) to try to find the l2 "weakest" jurors whom they can bully.
The one and only other time I was called, while employed, I actually got on a case and that was a total turn off. One woman was just praying "I don't care if you find him guilty or not, just make a decision, so I can get my supper."
First time reader. Thought the tips on avoiding jury duty were hilarious although not very civic minded. The jury pool is already in enough trouble without the smart people bailing out of it. Of course I guesss you don't call yourselves "disobey" for nothing, right? Sorry about my stupidly stating the obvious, first-time reader, whaddaya goin' to do? - S.K. Oakland, CA
Once again, a doozy of a newsletter!
Very pertinent to me because I will be attending jury duty this upcoming Monday. Oh well! My employer pays for it, so I say I should spend as much time there as I can!!