Home » Alcohol » • Jurors Ok If Drunk In Tennessee!

• Jurors Ok If Drunk In Tennessee!

shes-fat-im-drunk-its-on.jpg

I want a jury summons right now! If being drunk is a qualification then I guess I’m in! How on Earth could someone on trial for say drinking and driving and having killed someone possibly NOT want someone who is on the jury drunk? During selection I would have my lawyer go around to each one with a tray full of Jello shots and shooters and those who turn it down will be labeled unacceptable.

A provision allowing an exemption for alcoholics or anyone who “is drunk, or has been drunk during the term of the court then sitting” also is up for elimination.

By Dan Strumpf
If a state judicial board has its way, Tennessee’s jury selection procedures soon will get an overhaul.

The Tennessee Judicial Council is weighing whether to replace a current state law requiring a blindfolded adult or a child under 10 to draw potential jurors’ names from a box with automated jury selection methods. The board also is considering throwing out rules that exempt jurors who are members of certain professions, including physicians, lawyers and clergy.

“What we’re trying to do is get a uniform practice across the state,” said Chairman Jeff Henry, who also is executive director of the Tennessee Public Defenders Conference.

A provision allowing an exemption for alcoholics or anyone who “is drunk, or has been drunk during the term of the court then sitting” also is up for elimination.

David Haines, general counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts, said the council came close to recommending the changes to the General Assembly at a meeting in Nashville on Tuesday, but sent the proposal back to a subcommittee because of disagreement over some portions including juror compensation.

The changes likely would not be felt much in Hamilton County, Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas said. The county long ago abandoned using a child or a blindfolded adult to pick potential jurors in favor of automated methods, he said. He said jury exemptions here rarely are awarded based solely on occupation.

“We don’t see that many exemptions claimed under the statute,” Mr. Thomas said.

Mr. Haines said the situation is the same across most of Tennessee. He cited a poll conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts that showed only one-third of Tennessee counties still used a blindfolded adult or a child under 10 to select jurors to be summoned.

“With technology, you’ve got the ability to automatically generate random lists of names, and we have a lot of counties doing that instead,” Mr. Haines said.

Still, he said, some counties cling to old ways.

“In Shelby County, they used a 5-year-old to draw names,” Mr. Haines said.

Paula Nicola, an ophthalmologist in Chattanooga, said she doesn’t expect many physicians to be impaneled despite the proposed changes to the law because they often are on call during off hours, making extended service on a jury difficult.

Dr. Nicola said she has been summoned only once to serve on a jury during the seven years she has lived in Tennessee and was given an exemption.

“I said, ‘I have to have my pager’ and they said ‘You’re excused,’ and that was the end of it,” Dr. Nicola said. “I would have been happy to have served. The problem was being unreachable during the process.”

Hat Tip EddieBear

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2 Comments

  1. eddiebear says:

    To quote Instalush:
    Heh

  2. TRM says:

    I’ll bet the ACLU could get you on the jury drunk…

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