Why do we often get called in for jury duty and wait around only to be sent home?
The judge empanels several ‘jury panels’ each term so that there are always two or three panels to pick from each week in the event of a jury trial. Jury trials are typically held on Tuesdays through Fridays. Mondays are our non-jury motion and plea days. The rule is that the defense attorneys are to notify our office and the appropriate clerk by 3:00 pm the day before their client’s scheduled jury trial to let us know whether their client intends to plead guilty in order to avoid a jury trial or whether they intend to have a trial. Oftentimes the defense attorney for tactical purpose or more often because their client will not make up his or her mind does not ‘call of the jury’. Therefore, the panels come in a wait around until the defendant arrives, sees the jury ready and waiting to decide the defendant’s fate – and at the last minute a guilty plea agreement is resolved. Thus, your presence as jurors often does some good whether you realize it or not.