Leonid

Jury Duty

41 posts in this topic

On July 19th 2010 Dr. L Peikoff has been asked during one of his podcast Q-A sessions: " Should jury duty be compulsory as it is in the USA today?" His answer: " I don't see any problem with it and that why..." (link) . My understanding of Dr. Peikoff's response is that he approves on the enforced servitude, a position which is incompatible with Objectivism.I'd be glad to be proved wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On July 19th 2010 Dr. L Peikoff has been asked during one of his podcast Q-A sessions: " Should jury duty be compulsory as it is in the USA today?" His answer: " I don't see any problem with it and that why..." (link) . My understanding of Dr. Peikoff's response is that he approves on the enforced servitude, a position which is incompatible with Objectivism.I'd be glad to be proved wrong.

Jury Duty is involuntary servitude and collides with the 13 th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On the other hand it is a way of getting more or less impartial juries to sit and hear cases. If Jury duty were voluntary then the volunteers would most likely have an interest in the cases which they volunteered to hear.

Can you think of a method of getting impartial juries which does not involve compulsory service?

ruveyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If Jury duty were voluntary then the volunteers would most likely have an interest in the cases which they volunteered to hear.

Alternatively, they might have an interest in hearing cases. Not the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A professional jury can be at least as impartial as the juries we get with today's system.

That would be the end of Jury Nullification, which is the best chance unarmed citizens have to thwart the State.

ruveyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A professional jury can be at least as impartial as the juries we get with today's system.

That would be the end of Jury Nullification, which is the best chance unarmed citizens have to thwart the State.

I don't accept that Jury Nullification is the best chance Americans have at pushing back government: we're free to speak up, organize, protest, vote, etc. Besides, as I'm sure you know, as part of the screening process jurors are asked if they have moral issues with applying the particular law in question. If this step is done correctly there's next to no chance that a jury will nullify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One method of assuring there are non-professional citizen juries is to make the right to vote conditional on being willing to serve. If a citizen declines service then he is unregistered to vote. No one is compelling anyone to do anything. It is a simple quid pro quo. You want to vote? Then be prepared to service if called.

ruveyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One method of assuring there are non-professional citizen juries is to make the right to vote conditional on being willing to serve. If a citizen declines service then he is unregistered to vote. No one is compelling anyone to do anything. It is a simple quid pro quo. You want to vote? Then be prepared to service if called.

Why would you want non-professional juries, though?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On July 19th 2010 Dr. L Peikoff has been asked during one of his podcast Q-A sessions: " Should jury duty be compulsory as it is in the USA today?" His answer: " I don't see any problem with it and that why..." (link) . My understanding of Dr. Peikoff's response is that he approves on the enforced servitude, a position which is incompatible with Objectivism.I'd be glad to be proved wrong.

Jury Duty is involuntary servitude and collides with the 13 th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On the other hand it is a way of getting more or less impartial juries to sit and hear cases. If Jury duty were voluntary then the volunteers would most likely have an interest in the cases which they volunteered to hear.

Can you think of a method of getting impartial juries which does not involve compulsory service?

ruveyn

You're making invalid assumptions. Volunteers need not have an interest in the case other than an interest in justice being served. Involuntary juries do not makes people impartial. The courts and lawyers would be able to find out how interested in justice a potential juror was by investigating his reputation from serving on past juries. The fact that someone volunteers does not mean that the court will automatically accept someone to sit on a jury, otherwise the criminals family and friends would be on the jury.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On July 19th 2010 Dr. L Peikoff has been asked during one of his podcast Q-A sessions: " Should jury duty be compulsory as it is in the USA today?" His answer: " I don't see any problem with it and that why..." (link) . My understanding of Dr. Peikoff's response is that he approves on the enforced servitude, a position which is incompatible with Objectivism.I'd be glad to be proved wrong.

I agree with you on this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On July 19th 2010 Dr. L Peikoff has been asked during one of his podcast Q-A sessions: " Should jury duty be compulsory as it is in the USA today?" His answer: " I don't see any problem with it and that why..." (link) . My understanding of Dr. Peikoff's response is that he approves on the enforced servitude, a position which is incompatible with Objectivism.I'd be glad to be proved wrong.

Jury Duty is involuntary servitude and collides with the 13 th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On the other hand it is a way of getting more or less impartial juries to sit and hear cases. If Jury duty were voluntary then the volunteers would most likely have an interest in the cases which they volunteered to hear.

Can you think of a method of getting impartial juries which does not involve compulsory service?

ruveyn

I can, but most Objectivists would probably think I'm just talking anarchism, which I'm not.

"Jury duty" should be handled as follows: Have the courts farm it out to private enterprise. Justice is certainly a marketable service, and - were the courts to do this, and thereby create a demand for it - the private sector would respond by establishing businesses whose sole function is to arbitrate justice. We see the beginnings of it now, with arbitration agencies - and we also see the beginnings, with those agencies, of what would occur in a free marketplace for justice adjudication: Competition rewarding those companies whose rulings are just and fair, while penalizing those whose aren't.

This would immediately solve the problem of involuntary compulsion for such duty, and soon solve the problem of "ignorance times twelve."

As a side note, I learned a trick many years ago that has gotten me out of jury duty EVERY TIME, which has been four times in four different counties/states over the last 10 years: Simply point out your support of jury nullification. The following letter, which I sent to the Clackamas County Jury Coordinator back in 2005 when summoned for such duty, did it quite nicely indeed:

********************

Dear Coordinator:

I am requesting to be excused from Jury Duty for the reason that it would impose an unacceptable economic hardship upon me and my family.

My wife, Barbie, and I, are co-owners of Liberty Computer Service in Milwaukie, Oregon. I am the only technician on duty. To be called in for Jury Duty on the week of August 22nd through the 26th will mean that no one will be available to fix computers for the entire week. My business will suffer greatly as a result.

Should you choose not to accept the above reason as an excuse for relieving me of Jury Duty, be advised that I am a staunch supporter of the right of Jury Nullification. Should you choose to place me on a Jury anyway, I can guarantee you that the presently-defined parameters of our legal structure will play absolutely no role in my decision of innocence or guilt. In the words of our 2nd president, John Adams, "It is not only his [the Juror’s] right but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."

It was normal procedure in the early days of our country to inform juries of their right to judge the law and the defendant - and if the judge didn't tell them, the defense attorney very often would. The nation's Founders understood that trials by Juries of ordinary citizens, fully informed of their powers as Jurors, would confine the government to its proper role as the servant, not the master, of the people. Or, as Thomas Jefferson, our 3rd president, put it, "I consider trial by Jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

So by all means let me know if I can be of further assistance.

********************

Now, you can argue that it was my mention of "unacceptable economic hardship" that got me off the hook - except such an argument failed to get me off the hook the two times previous to this particular response. As well, I've passed this method along to a number of friends over the years, and I'm here to tell you: It works EVERY TIME. You will get a letter in the mail shortly afterwards that says, "EXCUSED," because there's not a judge or lawyer in the land interested in having such an individual on their jury. <huge grin>

Brad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One method of assuring there are non-professional citizen juries is to make the right to vote conditional on being willing to serve. If a citizen declines service then he is unregistered to vote. No one is compelling anyone to do anything. It is a simple quid pro quo. You want to vote? Then be prepared to service if called.

Why would you want non-professional juries, though?

Because they are just plain people and not creatures of the State.

ruveyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-----------

********************

Now, you can argue that it was my mention of "unacceptable economic hardship" that got me off the hook - except such an argument failed to get me off the hook the two times previous to this particular response. As well, I've passed this method along to a number of friends over the years, and I'm here to tell you: It works EVERY TIME. You will get a letter in the mail shortly afterwards that says, "EXCUSED," because there's not a judge or lawyer in the land interested in having such an individual on their jury. <huge grin>

Brad

Seems like your position is self defeating. If you believe in jury nullification but use it as an excuse to NOT be on a jury, then when do you get to exercise your views?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-----------

********************

Now, you can argue that it was my mention of "unacceptable economic hardship" that got me off the hook - except such an argument failed to get me off the hook the two times previous to this particular response. As well, I've passed this method along to a number of friends over the years, and I'm here to tell you: It works EVERY TIME. You will get a letter in the mail shortly afterwards that says, "EXCUSED," because there's not a judge or lawyer in the land interested in having such an individual on their jury. <huge grin>

Brad

Seems like your position is self defeating. If you believe in jury nullification but use it as an excuse to NOT be on a jury, then when do you get to exercise your views?

On this issue, I'm not interested in exercising my views, I'm interested in staying off that jury. I've known several people who've done so, and it was always a long, drawn-out process, quite involved, that I simply do not have the time, inclination or patience for. Listening to a bunch of lawyers is not one of my strong suits.

Brad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On this issue, I'm not interested in exercising my views, I'm interested in staying off that jury. I've known several people who've done so, and it was always a long, drawn-out process, quite involved, that I simply do not have the time, inclination or patience for. Listening to a bunch of lawyers is not one of my strong suits.

Brad

If you were ever tried or involved in a tort case that went to court, would you not hope to have a fair minded jury judge the evidence?

I take the attitude that if I hope to get a proper jury to hear a case in which I am involved, it behooves me to do the service I hope to receive. Why? Fair trade. Service for service. That is why I record books for the blind and dyslexic. One of these days I might be blind. I would like to get the service, which is why I am willing to provide it. Fair trade. Service for service. It is a matter of pride and honor that I am willing to give in order to get what I need. Value for value. Service for service. Fair trade.

ruveyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On this issue, I'm not interested in exercising my views, I'm interested in staying off that jury. I've known several people who've done so, and it was always a long, drawn-out process, quite involved, that I simply do not have the time, inclination or patience for. Listening to a bunch of lawyers is not one of my strong suits.

Brad

If you were ever tried or involved in a tort case that went to court, would you not hope to have a fair minded jury judge the evidence?

I take the attitude that if I hope to get a proper jury to hear a case in which I am involved, it behooves me to do the service I hope to receive. Why? Fair trade. Service for service. That is why I record books for the blind and dyslexic. One of these days I might be blind. I would like to get the service, which is why I am willing to provide it. Fair trade. Service for service. It is a matter of pride and honor that I am willing to give in order to get what I need. Value for value. Service for service. Fair trade.

ruveyn

One day you may break a leg. Why don't you produce crutches? This is a principle of Kantian universalization , not a trade principle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take the attitude that if I hope to get a proper jury to hear a case in which I am involved, it behooves me to do the service I hope to receive. Why? Fair trade. Service for service. That is why I record books for the blind and dyslexic. One of these days I might be blind. I would like to get the service, which is why I am willing to provide it. Fair trade. Service for service. It is a matter of pride and honor that I am willing to give in order to get what I need. Value for value. Service for service. Fair trade.

One day you may break a leg. Why don't you produce crutches? This is a principle of Kantian universalization , not a trade principle.

It can be a principle of trade and, in this case, it seems to be. He is doing unto others as he would have them do unto him, the Golden Rule which long precedes Kant and which Ayn Rand endorsed as a "simple principle of justice."

"Universalization" is probably one of the few things that Kant got right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On this issue, I'm not interested in exercising my views, I'm interested in staying off that jury. I've known several people who've done so, and it was always a long, drawn-out process, quite involved, that I simply do not have the time, inclination or patience for. Listening to a bunch of lawyers is not one of my strong suits.

Brad

If you were ever tried or involved in a tort case that went to court, would you not hope to have a fair minded jury judge the evidence?

I take the attitude that if I hope to get a proper jury to hear a case in which I am involved, it behooves me to do the service I hope to receive. Why? Fair trade. Service for service. That is why I record books for the blind and dyslexic. One of these days I might be blind. I would like to get the service, which is why I am willing to provide it. Fair trade. Service for service. It is a matter of pride and honor that I am willing to give in order to get what I need. Value for value. Service for service. Fair trade.

ruveyn

Yet if you look at what MOST trade consists of, it is the exchange of DIFFERING products - i.e., instead of me making my own boots, for instance, I trade my eggs, for example, with someone else who specializes in boot manufacturing. Division of labor.

I'm astute enough to realize I have no interest or inclination in jury duty - but I'm certainly willing to trade some of my money, earned through completely different means, to others who happen to like it, just like I'm willing to part with cash to pay for a computer or a coat. So, to me, it doesn't follow at all that just because I'D like to have an impartial jury should I ever be put on trial, that I have to provide that particular service myself in order to be a valid recipient of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take the attitude that if I hope to get a proper jury to hear a case in which I am involved, it behooves me to do the service I hope to receive. Why? Fair trade. Service for service. That is why I record books for the blind and dyslexic. One of these days I might be blind. I would like to get the service, which is why I am willing to provide it. Fair trade. Service for service. It is a matter of pride and honor that I am willing to give in order to get what I need. Value for value. Service for service. Fair trade.

One day you may break a leg. Why don't you produce crutches? This is a principle of Kantian universalization , not a trade principle.

It can be a principle of trade and, in this case, it seems to be. He is doing unto others as he would have them do unto him, the Golden Rule which long precedes Kant and which Ayn Rand endorsed as a "simple principle of justice."

"Universalization" is probably one of the few things that Kant got right.

No, it doesn't involve actual trade. What if one never got blind or broke a leg? There is no such a thing as a trade between actual and potential goods which may never come around. The positive Golden Rule you refer to, is universalization of one's standards of value. What does "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself" mean? And what if if one would like to be treated as a martyr, a robber or sadomasochist? The same applies to the negative Golden rule-both based on the principle of universalization which, in fact, postulates that others are the standard of value. That is why Kantian ethics is essentially altruistic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it doesn't involve actual trade. What if one never got blind or broke a leg? There is no such a thing as a trade between actual and potential goods which may never come around.

There certainly is. It's called insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, it doesn't involve actual trade. What if one never got blind or broke a leg? There is no such a thing as a trade between actual and potential goods which may never come around.

There certainly is. It's called insurance.

But in the example in question, Ruveyn isn't providing anything to anyone who will provide services in return should the potential become actual, in the way an insurance company will provide payments in exchange for premiums paid. He's just putting his effort out there in the hope that someone will do the same for him should it become necessary. There's no contract the way there is in an actual trade. It's like betting on "karma" to "do its thing" in one's own lifetime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But in the example in question, Ruveyn isn't providing anything to anyone who will provide services in return should the potential become actual, in the way an insurance company will provide payments in exchange for premiums paid. He's just putting his effort out there in the hope that someone will do the same for him should it become necessary. There's no contract the way there is in an actual trade. It's like betting on "karma" to "do its thing" in one's own lifetime.

We humans survive best when we co-operate.It is to our mutual benefit; that is the trade. Unless one is prepared to turn down all assistance when one needs it, it is reasonable to give it when needed by others. We all need the justice system and should be prepared to contribute to it when it doesn't involve unreasonable personal cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But in the example in question, Ruveyn isn't providing anything to anyone who will provide services in return should the potential become actual, in the way an insurance company will provide payments in exchange for premiums paid. He's just putting his effort out there in the hope that someone will do the same for him should it become necessary. There's no contract the way there is in an actual trade. It's like betting on "karma" to "do its thing" in one's own lifetime.

We humans survive best when we co-operate.It is to our mutual benefit; that is the trade. Unless one is prepared to turn down all assistance when one needs it, it is reasonable to give it when needed by others. We all need the justice system and should be prepared to contribute to it when it doesn't involve unreasonable personal cost.

I agree. I was merely observing that Ruveyn's example is not similar to insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites