In some US states, you’re at risk if you go to the opera

In some US states, you’re at risk if you go to the opera


norman lebrecht

January 24, 2018


  • David Leibowitz says:

    are you sure in this case the word “struck” doesn’t mean the prosecutor struck him off the jury in the jury selection process? not struck him physically?

  • The Voice from America says:

    Happens all the time. A few years back I was struck from a jury pool because of my last name. The case involved a rape charge against a migrant worker and I was told I might be biased because of my “ethnicity.”

    Actually it worked out well, as I later found out that the trial lasted an entire week. That’s one week of my life I’d never have gotten back …

  • Dan P. says:

    Yes – to “strike” a prospective juror means to eliminate him or her from the jury during jury selection. No one gets physically abused in any way. Both the prosecution and defense attorneys get to question jurors to discover anything about them that might suggest they could be biased or predisposed in one way or another. If they feel that there is (and it’s often just a feeling or supposition) they are struck and return to the jury pool to wait to be called for another case – or if there is none, to get a certificate stating you fulfilled your obligation and go home or back to work.

  • Ben says:

    Must be a slow news day. Jurors can be struck for any reason, truly with no reason, with a peremptory challenge

  • Bruce says:

    See first comment. “Strike” in this context means to eliminate someone during jury selection, on the grounds that they will likely show bias one way or another during a trial. The defense may want to strike jurors who are members of abstemious religious denominations (such as Mormon or 7th Day Adventist) on the grounds that they are likely to be biased against marijuana legalization.

  • Jon H says:

    That’s right, anyone interested in opera is likely to be just a pot-smoking liberal…

    • Doug says:

      These days, if you want to find a conservative, you’ll have to go to the latest production of Hair or Oh! Calcutta!

      • Sharon says:

        That’s right! And with good reason too! Nowadays both would be considered anti feminist, especially Oh Calcutta which I believe satirizes rape and Hair which, if I recall correctly, assumed that women were just background players in the hippie movement

      • Petros Linardos says:

        What makes you think so? Even here at Slipped Disc you can find some apparently genuine classical music lovers who support Trump or, at least, defend him.

  • Jury duty is to be avoided says:

    In the US, most employers cover such paltry compensation for Jury Duty, the best outcome is being stuck. Indeed, giving nonsense answers to lawyer questions during the screening process is something of an art form.

    • Dan P. says:

      Being on a jury is a civic duty – regardless of compensation. It’s something we owe to one another for living in a civilized society. On the juries that I participated in, everyone worked hard together to come to what we thought was the proper decision, despite, in some cases, the involvement of an ill-prepared attorney. I would assume that if anyone reading this blog or any of their loved ones were a defendant in some action, you would want 12 serious and thoughtful people making up the jury as well. Both sides get to strike potential jurors for any reason, but the goal is that you end up with jurors that are acceptable to both sides in the hope that they can come to a fair and impartial verdict based on solid reasoning.

      • Sharon says:

        I agree,

      • Arturo says:

        To Dan P. – what you’re saying makes sense except that the US is an extraordinarily litigious country. Granted, many cases are valid and worthwhile and deserve the civic duty of conscientious citizens. But, frankly, the courts are clogged up with so many unecessary cases brought on by ambulance chasers, attorneys trying to make a name for themselves, or people trying to make a buck that the important cases get lost in the shuffle. These cases are a waste of ordinary citizens’ time. To use a jury, to ask 12 people to put their lives on hold, should be a privilege reserved for only cases of the utmost importance, IMHO.


        • Dan P. says:

          Well, first of all, I was thinking primarily of criminal cases, but you were thinking only of civil cases where, for instance, one party sues another to receive damages as the result of defendant having broken a statue. And actually, you’re referring only to one subset of civil cases – those involving personal injury law. A lot of criminal cases plead out – that is, the prosecution offers a sentence lower if the defendant pleads guilty. Similarly, most civil cases are settled out of court – usually because the parties both find it in their best financial interest to do so. As for personal injury law, such attorneys hardly make a name for themselves in any positive way – and I think most of these cases are settled out of court as well. The cases that actually go to court may not matter to you or me, but they matter to someone. But the way an attorney really makes a name for him or herself is to be part of a significant legal decision that sets a precedent or, like a college acquaintance of mine who argued a case involving art confiscated by the Nazis and then acquired by the Austrian Government. He argued the case all the way up to the Supreme Court and won. The art was returned to the heir of the original owners. Now he really made a name for himself and for good reason. If there is an attorney in the house, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • John Cheek says:

    My wife was struck from the jury pool by a defense attorney because he noted that her husband was an opera singer. It involved a local lawyer charged with DUI. He refused a breath test and said he was weaving while driving because he was listening to Pavarotti on the radio.

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    Twenty-some years ago, I served on a criminal jury in Los Angeles. After the case was decided and we were dismissed, the defense attorney came running after me as I walked away from the courtroom. He was on the board of LA Opera and had seen me out in the hall prior to jury selection studying a score of “Boris Godunov.” He wanted to know what I was doing (it was for an orchestration I was working on), and told me that he’d said to himself at the time, “I want that guy on my jury!”

  • Dave Fox says:

    No part of this headline is true.

  • Ben says:

    How may I download the photo for overlaying onto my dart board?

  • Edgar says:

    Never a dull moment in Fantasyland, is there?