Alex Blaze

Being Gay Gets You Out of Jury Duty

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 06, 2011 7:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: jonathan lovitz, New York

"Just had an intense day at jury duty. During voir dire we were asked who would not be impartial. I raised my hand and said, 'Since I can't get married or adopt a child in the state of New York, I can't possibly be an impartial judge of a citizen when I am considered a second class one in the eyes of this justice system.' You wouldn't believe how people in the room reacted."

--Jonathan D Lovitz, a gay man in New York City


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Vicki Jones | March 6, 2011 12:08 PM

Well...how did they react?

Really! ... Why tell only half the story?

Tony Soprano | March 6, 2011 5:25 PM

I admire Mr. Lovitz to speak out, and even out himself in open court. But, I disagree with him.

What if that case had involved a gay man, arrested for [whatever], and facing a potential lifelong sentence of 'sex-offender'?

Attention Dr. Jillian T. Weiss: Are you reading?

It would have been better for Mr. Lovitz to be on the jury, HANG THE JURY (vote "NOT GUILTY"), and acquit the defendant. That trial would have established CASE LAW which could be cited by future wrongfully accused LGBTQQIAAP!

Throw a monkey-wrench into the INjustice System. Become a FULLY informed juror: www.fija.org.
"... FIJA is a non-profit organization to inform all Americans about their rights, powers and responsibilties when serving as a juror ..."

[The preceding is not intended to be legal advice]

It's a good thing you noted that your post is not legal advice, because you apparently know little about the law.

A hung jury is not an acquittal. The judge will declare a mistrial, and the defendant can be retried.

Jury decisions are not in any way "case law." What a jury does in one case cannot be used in any other case. In fact, trial judges' opinions are not precedent either. Other judges might cite them, but they are perfectly free to ignore them.

Tony Soprano | March 7, 2011 7:33 PM

Caprice -

Thank you for helping expand my knowledge base.

BUT: How many Judges are going to re-try such cases? And, which level are you referring to? How about the Appellate level, where local/lower level verdicts have been cited as "case law"?

BTW, YOU did not disqualify YOUR comments.

Are YOU an Attorney-At-Law? And, are YOU inferring that YOUR comments ARE legal advice?

It is not up to the judges to decide if a case is retried after a hung jury. That decision rests with the prosecutors. In my experience, most of the time they will retry a case. (I recently read of a case where a case went through two retrials before a jury reached a unanimous verdict.) What frequently happens, though, is that both sides are more likely to agree on a plea bargain after seeing what happened at the first trial.

You seem to have the idea of "case law," or legal precedents, upside down. Courts are obligated to follow the rulings of the courts above them, not below.

Describing how the courts work is not legal advice, and no disclaimer is necessary. However, it happens that I am an attorney-at-law (and I have been one quite possibly since before you were born). Jill isn't the only trans attorney around Bilerico.

Marc Capitano | March 7, 2011 1:56 PM

YES, WE'RE ALL EARS, HOW DID THEY REACT??
I IMAGINE NOT FAVORABLY --THEY ALWAYS WANT OUR SERVICES BUT WITH DOUBLE-STANDARD, REFUSE TO GIVE US OUR DUE.

If folks clicked on the name "Jonathan D Lovitz," there you would see that he was dismissed from jury because he said that he couldn't be impartial. Personally I don't think the forum he chose to make a political statement is appropriate, but that's just me.