Friday, July 27, 2018

Lawyers, Judges, and Jury Duty - Q & A . . .

I recently asked randomly chosen lawyers some questions about jury duty and jury duty law. I primarily chose lawyers that I personally employ here in California, because I figured they would see their obligation to answer those questions. They have that obligation to me because as their employer, I directly pay them at least minimum wage for jobs they voluntarily accepted. Additionally, they would probably say that I have an obligation to serve on a jury. I emailed

1.    Los Angeles County Judge Daniel Buckley
I employ Judge Buckley in his job as Presiding Judge of Los Angeles County. Becoming a Different Kind of Professional explained that Judge Buckley " . . . manages the largest unified court in the country and likely in the world." He has worked in courtrooms as a litigation attorney and a judge, and because of this professional experience, I believed that he would have direct knowledge about jury duty, as a lawyer and a judge.
2.    California Supreme Court Justice Tani Gore Cantile-Sakauye
I employ Justice Gore Cantile-Sakauye in her job as California Supreme Court Chief Justice. She worked as a lawyer for more than twenty years in California courtrooms, so I believed that as a lawyer, she would have direct knowledge about jury duty.
3.    U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel
Jeremy Fogel began working as a private-practice attorney in 1974. I employed him as a California county-level judge for seventeen years, starting in 1981, and I first employed him as a federal judge in 1998. He clearly knows all about jury duty.
4.    UC Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Attorney Chemerinsky has handled law cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, but apparently works primarily in the law school industry, with additional work as an author. Because I employ him to lead an accredited University of California law school at UC Berkeley, I believed that he must have some knowledge about jury duty.
5.    Arizona attorney Stephanie McCoy Loquvam
I do not have an employer / employee relationship with Atty. McCoy Loquvam. Additionally, Atty. McCoy Loquvam practices law in Arizona and not in California. However, I contacted her because I learned that she chairs the Commission on the American Jury of the American Bar Association. Based on this ABA leadership role, I figured she would have a lot of background knowledge to answer questions about jury duty. Also based on her leadership role, I believed that she would want to answer questions about jury duty.
with questions about jury duty and jury duty law. In more than one of my roles as
  • United States citizen
  • American voter
  • United States federal taxpayer
  • California state taxpayer
  • Los Angeles County taxpayer
I directly employ, and personally pay, the first four of these lawyers. Therefore, I expected them to answer my questions. Additionally, I contacted Arizona Attorney Stephanie McCoy Loquvam because of her proven focus on jury duty as a central part of the American jury duty trial business model. I sent all of these lawyers these questions

and I waited. Note that I added the page footers later, when I wrote this article. Click here to open the questions in a new brower tab for download as a PDF. At first, I never got a reply from Judge Fogel, so I made some follow-ups. Soon enough

Dear Mr. Solomon,

Thank you for your voicemail following up on the email below from last Thursday.

Judge Fogel is not currently handling cases in our court and he will be leaving the bench in a few months. Furthermore, although he was a state court judge in the past, he has been a federal judge for 20 years. It is very unlikely that Judge Fogel will have opinions on the California jury-related topics that are the focus of your questions.

Best regards,

Staffer's Name
Staffer's Title
United States District Court
Northern District of California

a staffer for Judge Fogel wrote back. Judge Fogel starred in a video all about jury duty, and combined with his professional lawyer and judge employment experience, I thought he would have more than enough background knowledge and opinions to answer the questions. I definitely would have valued his answers. In the same way, I made some follow-ups with Judge Buckley. A staffer for Judge Buckley also wrote

Good Afternoon Mr. Solomon,

I am responding to your email on behalf of Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Daniel Buckley

From Judge Buckley:  

“Mr. Solomon, I am in receipt of your questions about various aspects of the jury system. As Presiding Judge, I am charged with applying laws regarding the administration of justice; it would be inappropriate for me to comment upon them.”

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Staffer's Name
Staffer's Title

Los Angeles Superior Court

back. Hmmm. Judge Buckley has more than fourteen years experience as a judge, and from all that time, I figured that he must have some opinions about jury duty. I don't understand his reluctance to answer those questions. Some years ago, I had an exchange with now retired Los Angeles County Judge Connor about jury duty. I sent her this letter

and in my younger days, my diplomacy skills sure needed some improvement. Still, I got my thinking across, and Judge Connor

definitely wanted to reply. Of course, I did not send the list of questions from this year to Judge Connor. However, Judge Connor obviously had no problem commenting on various aspects of the jury system. It looks like she pretty much agreed with what I wrote in that first letter. Additionally, she alerted other judges, and the head of the Los Angeles County jury duty system at the time, about the issue. I would have thought that more than one of the people - mostly lawyers - directly or indirectly made aware of these issues in this post office mail / email outreach would have contacted me, made some general comment(s) about jury duty, and / or maybe even tried to publicly reform jury duty itself. Focusing on Judge Buckley, maybe some new big post-July 2, 2002 policy forced him into silence. If so, I oppose that policy because Judge Buckley has an Amendment I, Freedom of Speech Clause, United States Constitution right alone to speak up and speak out about all this. Judge Buckley himself should know to oppose that kind of policy because like myself, he must have read the United States Constitution, cover to cover.

I never heard from California Supreme Court Justice Cantile‑Sakauye or UC Berkeley law school Dean Chemerinsky. I decided to avoid follow-up emails to them, to compare their responses with those of Judge Fogel and Judge Buckley. After about two and a half months, I figured I waited long enough. Additionally, I never heard from Atty. McCoy Loquvam and I did not follow up with her.

In my opinion, all of these lawyers have more than enough qualifications, education, knowledge, and experience to answer the questions. I directly employ most of them, and I don't like their nonanswers to my questions. After all, I have read that jury duty trial witnesses must answer every question a lawyer asks. If I land in a courtroom as a juror, all the lawyers can ask me a whole bunch of voir dire questions. If I don't answer the questions put to me in a jury duty trial, either as a witness or as a juror, bad things will happen to me. Amendment 1, Freedom of Speech Clause, United States Constitution alone guarantees that all of the lawyers listed above can freely answer the questions I asked them. This clause overrides all prior restraints that might silence them. I know this, and all of them should know this as well.

The taxpayer / government role I have with lawyers one through four above obviously obligates them to answer my questions. The lawyer / non-lawyer role I have with all of these lawyers obligates them to answer my questions because as a non-lawyer, I want to know about the internal mechanics of the judiciary system and the lawyer industry. These obligations operate the same way as the government laws and the United States Constitution that obligate me to serve as a juror. I perfectly understand my roles, rights, and responsibilities. It looks like these lawyers might not correctly understand their own roles, rights, and responsibilities.