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January 06, 2008


D. McEwan

I was being questioned during jury duty in the Van Nuys court once, for a trial of a man arrested for exposng himself and masturbating in a men's room. A lawyer told each juror, "In this trial you will hear words like PENIS, ERECTION, and ORGASM." hitting each word hard, I guess to see if we flinched. They he would ask, "Will these words offend you?" When he asked me this, I replied, "No. Those are three of my favorite words." I paused for the large laugh that filled the courtroom, then added, "And they stand for three of my favorite things." BIG laugh, including from the judge. I then added that I was heartened to hear we had police staking out men's rooms for masturbators, as it must mean that all the robberies, rapes, and murders in Los Angeles must have solved if they could spare the man power to hang around public toilets to make sure no man in a men's room ever glimpses an erection.I was not selected to serve.

Michael Zand

Ken, It must be late. You didn't set up Alex Trebek. He came out of nowhere. I assume you meant to say the he was in your group of prospective jurors before the judge called you in. Just what you need. Notes on your blog.


Smart man, Ken. The folks who were trying to "play" (getting out of jury duty) the judge when we were being voir dired were assigned to civil court, which results in longer service than the typical criminal trial.


Ah, So I am seeing a trend here...I was at San Fernando Courthouse during the time that L.A. was waiting for the verdict in the Rodney King Civil Trial. The Civil Trial followed the Criminal Trial that had caused the Riots, so it was a bit tense in the courthouse. The judge says "This will be a murder trial, no excuses." I raise my hand anyway and say, "I work in Television". He immediately excuses me and the other potential jurors gave me dirty looks, as I walked out of the coutroom. I loved it!

Paul Duca

Isn't it reasonable to excuse someone like Alex Trebek because their presence would be a distraction?


Gang-related shooting trial in San Diego. The banger was one mean dude, but the DA did such a crappy job, we had to let the little shit go. Won't happen when I'm King.


A woman who was 8 1/2 months was not excused.Not even after she spit up on herself and soiled her diaper?


I'm with Ned, I read that and thought, "My God, the woman was 8 1/2 months old and still called for jury duty? Insanity!"I, too may have to serve Jury Duty here in L.A. this month. But mine is U.S. District Court so I would get $40 a day if called. Sadly, that's a good gig for me at the moment.


My one and only experience with jury duty was being a potential juror on a civil case over peet moss. Really.On the other hand, my girlfriend sat on a jury in a child abuse case. She had a hard time letting go of that.


I served in a civil case involving three parties; each with a team of lawyers trying to pass the blame along. A woman ran a red light, and hit a pickup truck with an aftermarket camper body. There was a young man (17ish) in the camper, who was thrown out and wound up a quadriplegic. The kid was suing the camper body mfg'r, who pointed out that nobody's supposed to be riding in the camper. Kid's lawyers pointed out that the sign was in English, which the kid didn't speak. And everybody was ganging up on the woman, but it was clearly the camper manufacturer who had the most money to sue for.In any event, I strongly recommend jury service. It sure isn't Law & Order, and will give you a new respect -- or contempt -- for the system.


Once I was in a jury pool with porn star Ron Jeremy. He was excused because he was a hung juror.


My one jury experience was both fascinating and sad. A young wife and mother was killed in a car accident, and several other family members were severely injured. The family sued the manufacturer, claiming the accident was caused by a substandard part. Unfortunately, they couldn't prove it, and there were plausible alternative causes. It was heartbreaking, but based on the evidence and the judge's instructions, we really didn't have enough to find the car company liable. I still think of that poor family, and even though I know we reached the only fair verdict, it hurts to know we contributed to their further devastation.Ironically, if they'd drawn a less conscientious and rational group of jurors, they might have won.


Breaking News...Golden Globes ceremoney cancelled

Buttermilk Sky

Eric could be right. I have a Canadian friend who was called for jury duty in NYC. In many states, you get excused if you mention that you watch MASH.


Holy moly, I was called for jury duty in 1982 and the pay back then was $15 a day! Guess the courts aren't keeping up with inflation. Anyway, I spent three boring weeks in a jury room doing jigsaw puzzles and reading 10 year old copies of Reader's Digest waiting to see if a case would be going to trial and a jury would be needed. Finally my group was called down for voir dire. It was a civil case, two accountants suing one another. I was asked if I'd be able to pay close attention to testimony that involved long columns of numbers. I admitted that I'd probably doze off, and was excused.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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