You got a robotic vacuum cleaner for Christmas. It is the cutest little thing—circling around the room, diligently picking up confetti from the New Years Eve party the night before. You just can’t let all that cuteness go to waste. So you record the whole cycle on your phone—the whole two hours and twenty minutes—and post it to your Youtube channel. You have 5 subscribers, all spam bots. Your video goes on to get a million views because the pet name you gave to the vacuum matches the name of an politician recently embroiled in scandal, making “
How much time to do you spend figuring out how you should vote? A few hours? A few minutes? Any time at all? I could not find a study that measured the average time that voters spend researching their candidates, but I did find that three quarters of Americans do not know how long a senator’s term is. Perhaps an average voter reads the blurbs in the local newspaper, listens to some soundbites on the news about each candidate, and watches a myriad of television ads. Does he read each candidate’s website? If not, this is like owning a bagel shop and hiring a manager without reading his resume. Imagine a bagel shop where all employees are hired with the same consideration that the average voter gives to political candidates. Such a shop would operate with the legendary efficiency and effectiveness of a DMV.
Here is a collection of short thoughts from my time as a juror.
Yesterday, I made a simple argument for handing the jurors the facts that are not in dispute at the beginning of the trial. I want to extend that argument a bit further to a more expansive idea that I have. Rather than just giving the undisputed facts to the jurors, why not boil the entire trial down to its text and give it to the jury as a kind of case study. All of the questions asked in the trial are already in multiple depositions. If a witness gives an answer that is different from the deposition, the deposition is brought out and read. Why not deliver all the evidence to the jury in writing? I can read faster than I can listen, and importantly, I can alter my pace as needed.
I just finished a seven-day trial as a juror on a civil suit. This was my first time called and serving on a jury. It was an enlightening experience. There are a number of observations that I have. I may make an omnibus post to share all the little things I found surprising, from the high quality of the jury video to the great facial expressions of the judge. For now, I am going to focus on one major observation: most of the court time was spent extracting from the witnesses facts that were not in dispute, and if these facts had been directly conveyed to us, it would have been far more efficient without sacrificing any fairness in the proceedings. I am going to change a few details of the case so that this article will not draw any unrequested attention to the participants in this case.