Saturday, March 24, 2018

American Jury Duty Has Major Zero-Day Flaws

In America, everyone with a civil law or criminal law dispute has the right to a trial by jury. The U.S. Constitution guarantees this right. For this to work, American citizens have to serve as jurors. Most Americans likely don’t want to deal with jury duty, but eventually, they understand the situation - I have to do this because I would want a jury trial option for myself - and they proceed. American jurors might not catch the fact that they definitely have rights to minimum wage and fair mileage compensation for their service, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Existing jury duty pay and mileage levels have become zero-day flaws in the American justice system, and government must reform jury duty immediately.

In 2017, the Los Angeles County Juror Services Office sent me a jury duty summons. I never volunteered or applied for jury duty - and I had no choice. I did exactly what they told me. As instructed, I first called the Los Angeles County Superior Court (LACSC) phone number to register. Later on, I watched an online jury duty training vid. Then, I took a test to qualify as a juror. I studied hard, and as I read the jury duty paperwork and watched the vid, I learned that starting day two, I would receive $15.00 a day - taxable - for my service. This definitely looked wrong. Based on the way the jury duty paperwork and training vid described jury duty, I saw it as a job, even at that early stage. As a job, jury duty entitled me to minimum wage for ALL hours that I worked as a juror. This would cover day one, and the personal time I used for the required jury duty training and test. I also learned that Los Angeles County would pay me seventeen cents a mile - taxable - for my jury duty commuting expenses, also starting on day two. That mileage price also looked wrong. Gasoline in the Los Angeles area costs much more than $3.00 a gallon. Seventeen cents a mile would never cover my fuel expenses, wear and tear on my car, or wear and tear on me.

I did some research and I learned that California jury duty laws set the current jury duty pay and mileage levels sometime around the turn of the century. For whatever reason, those amounts did not rise with federal / state minimum wage level increases or inflation. The basic IRS definition of a job clearly covers jury duty. It still amazes me that a federal judge defined jury duty as a job, to explain what he expects from jurors, but somehow, he never mentioned that jurors therefore earn minimum wage as jury duty employees. Los Angeles County government obviously agrees with him, because they embedded this vid at the official Los Angeles County government jury duty website. California government alone has increased minimum wage rates many times since 1999, but those increases don’t cover jury duty. California has increased direct and indirect gas taxes many times, including a new twelve cent per gallon gas tax this past November. I have no idea why California legislators never increased the jury duty mileage payment to compensate for those increased taxes. However, as a California taxpayer, I pay all California legislators a $104,000 annual taxable salary. In addition, I pay each of them a $183 tax-free daily per diem, plus a tax-free 53 cents a mile rate for their own commuting expenses. Based on these facts, California legislators will eagerly write laws to require tax-free minimum wage for all hours that eligible Californians work as jurors. Those legislators will also write laws to pay 53 cents a mile - tax-free - for all miles California jurors drive to and from the courthouses where those jurors work. Those legislators will just need a little motivation to get going.

Soon enough, LACSC told me to get to the L.A. County Airport courthouse on May 24, 2017 at 9:30 AM PST. I did exactly that, and except for the lunch hour, I spent my whole time there in the jury duty ready room. I never landed in a trial, and the jury duty staff released me at about 3:30 PM PST. When I got home, I read the U.S. Constitution because I remembered that it would guarantee my rights, even as a juror. I just needed to find the exact amendment. Yup - Amendment 13, Involuntary Servitude Clause, U.S. Constitution covered me. After all, my full-time jury duty employers, at least one major federal judge, Los Angeles County government, and myself all agree that jury duty is a job, I had to show up for that job against my will, and I received no pay and no mileage compensation at all for that job. As a non-lawyer American, my cynicism about jury duty grew and I researched all these issues. To learn more about how eligible Americans deal with jury duty, I investigated the jury duty history of both Thomas Steyer and Barbra Streisand. I ended up with many questions and no answers about them because I hit massive government secrecy walls. I taught myself jury duty law, and when I wrote and published Common Sense - Third Millennium, I became the best jury duty law expert in the United States of America.

If I paid political campaign contribution money, government employees might well reform jury duty, if I explained - with my payment - that jury duty reform needs to happen. I have never touched political campaign contribution money, and I never will. I now see jury duty service as a political campaign contribution. This makes perfect sense, because government employees can supply something I want - jury duty reform. Eventually, I will again have something government employees want - jury duty service. If government employees, including legislators, don’t reform jury duty, then during my next jury duty
 voir dire temp job interview, I will have to explain these issues to the hiring judge. If that judge does not reform these problems and / or arrange to reform them, I will hand that judge my jury duty job resignation. I will have to do this to protect my Constitutional rights and economic survival. I have the right to do this. My resignation will help motivate government employees to reform jury duty. This means that jury duty will begin to formally operate just like political campaign contribution money. Ideally, full-time government employees will reform jury duty before any of this happens.

Earlier, this piece explained that existing jury duty laws have become major zero-day flaws in the American justice system. That looks like quite a claim, but it has total accuracy. As presently structured, American jury duty obviously violates the Constitutional rights of jurors. In addition, anyone who lost an American jury duty business model trial can very easily say

. . . None of my peers would serve on a jury for these mileage and pay rates. That proves that I never got a fair trial!

and then demand a mistrial to throw away the verdict. To solve all this, full-time government employees need to pay highest possible minimum wage and highest possible mileage rates to jurors, for all hours worked and all miles driven, with zero tax and zero tax paperwork. In California, the legislator mileage rate of tax-free 53 cents a mile becomes the logical jury duty mileage rate. Government employees must also pay back jury duty wages and mileage. I also expect public disclosure of government jury duty history information for everyone who paid political campaign contribution money. This disclosure will help show whether or not jury duty service operates in a fair way. Lastly, I expect prosecution and punishment for everyone
 - both inside and outside of government - involved in any type of jury duty service corruption. Government employees will not successfully hire me for a jury duty temp job until they choose to make these fair, reasonable jury duty reforms, to fix the zero-day flaws of jury duty. In addition, government employees will have an increasingly hard time hiring other Americans as jury duty temp employees. If they drag their feet, it will become impossible soon enough. Americans have every incentive, and plenty of Constitutional rights, to resign from and avoid the present structure of American jury duty. That will destroy the American jury duty trial business model.

It might look like I want the jury duty trial system to completely implode. No way. Since we opened for business in 1789, American civilization has relied on citizen jury duty. I would never volunteer for jury duty, but I would accept my role and responsibility as a juror, and I would do more than my best work in that role. In return, I have some expectations. I expect government to see me as an employee, working in a job that I did not apply to get. I expect government - as my jury duty employer - to pay me highest possible minimum wage and fair mileage compensation, with zero tax and zero tax paperwork. To help verify that jury duty service operates fairly, I expect full jury duty history information disclosure for everyone who ever touched political campaign contribution money. Government, lawyers, and law schools all should have known better. They should have noticed and fixed these problems years ago. They certainly all had - and have - the means, motive, and opportunity to do this, and I expect them to proceed with it. If they decide that they don’t feel like it, they can expect nonviolent jury duty strikes, in California and across the nation. My government employees, the lawyer industry, and the law school industry all completely and exclusively own these problems. Working together, they can easily solve these problems. The choice to do so is theirs alone.

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