"Sitting downtown, in air-conditioning, judging people all day, with your lunches paid for? That's the life..."
Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: A given episode or story arc that involves one of the characters facing jury duty.
He may either look for ways to wriggle out of it, or do the civic thing and attend the trial. Or both, of course. If, in the course of the deliberation, he actually goes against consensus opinion on what the verdict should be, he may become a Rogue Juror
. If played for comedy, the character may learn about jury sequestration and try to milk as much out of it by prolonging the jury deliberations. (In reality, jurors are rarely sequestered in hotels and when they are, they're usually the cheapest around. Government money and all that.)
open/close all folders
- One of the American Splendor stories is about Harvey getting called in to jury duty. He gets out by just explaining his views about the criminal justice system, and how it would make him a terrible juror.
- One time Bruce Wayne tried to get out of jury duty by claiming he was Batman. The judge didn't buy it for a second.
- One story in The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist sees the Escapist (or rather his civilian identity Tom Mayflower) happily go in for jury duty because he sees it as another aspect of "crime fighting." He had a conflict of interest (having discovered the crime scene and turned the defendant into the police), but couldn't raise a complaint to that effect without giving his identity away. He tried to give the worst possible answers during the selection process only to be approved anyway. He ended up uncovering a conspiracy, perpetrated by the evil Iron Chain organization, to get the actually-innocent defendant put away.
- An old one in the US: "In America you have the right to be tried by twelve people who couldn't get out of jury duty."
- The children's book Trial by Journal. Thanks to a new state law, the twelve-year-old protagonist ends up serving on a jury for a murder trial. It turns out that the supposed murder victim isn't dead, the defendant was framed, and one of the jurors is colluding with the real villain.
Live Action TV
- Dilbert had a brief arc with him on Jury Duty, the more memorable strip has a man excused because his religion forbids judging other people.
Oh, I think I'm that religion too! Religious person:
] What an idiot!
- Dilbert's creator, Scott Adams, once wrote about his own experience on a jury. He was the only juror who thought there was even a chance (though a very small one) that the guy was innocent of the many crimes he was accused of, but decided not to speak up because he was hungry and didn't want to drag the deliberation out. He ends the segment by apologizing to the defendant: "I'm sorry I basically sent you to jail for the rest of your life so I could get a Snickers."
- Another Dilbert strip had a co-worker asking him what excuse he was planning to use to get out of jury duty. When he says that he intends to serve, the co-worker says, "Insanity. That's a good one."
- In The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy gets called for jury duty and eagerly anticipates the easy money, but his roommates warn him that potential jurors are sometimes dismissed based on their looks - so he slicks down his hair and puts on a suit to look super-straight...and the freak defense attorney dismisses him over his looks.
- Clive gets jury duty in an arc in the Alex strip and ends up teaching his fellow juror how to fiddle their expense claims.
- The Ellery Queen radio show had an episode where Ellery and his secretary Nikki both ended up on the same jury, and Ellery ended up solving the case and revealing the true killer who was also in the courtroom (similar to the Murder, She Wrote example but predating it by decades).
- Ironically enough, the people who made Murder She Wrote, worked on the Ellery Queen TV show.
- An Adventures in Odyssey episode has Eugene and Bernard get called up for this. The episode involves Eugene being very thorough asking for a transcript of the trial and going through the details meticulously, much to the annoyance of the other jurors. Since everyone else is all set to give a guilty verdict, this turns him into a Rogue Juror by default.
- The twist of the episode is that, naturally, Eugene is right, the defendant isn't guilty. Through examination of the evidence and testimony, he manages to also convince 10 of the other 11 jurors of this fact, and the jury is disqualified when the last advocate of a guilty verdict is discovered to have a pre-existing grudge against the defendant.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer in "The Boy Who Knew Too Much." He stalls the verdict in order to keep staying in the hotel where the jurors are sequestered, unknowingly giving Bart time to agonize over whether or not he should admit he skipped school and saw the alleged "crime".
- When Apu becomes an American citizen, one thing in his mail is a jury duty summons. He says that now he is truly an American, and tosses it in the trash (ironically, he was on the jury with Homer in the earlier episode).
- Homer gave tips to Bart on how to avoid jury duty. "Just say you're prejudiced against all races."
- Fat Tony (the one who used to be Fit Tony) was once a juror and had an accountant head his "legitimate business" for him.
- An episode of Harvey Birdman has him get selected for the jury of a trial he is also the defense lawyer for. Judge Mentok solves this dilemma by using Elliott the Deadly Duplicator's ray to make a copy of Birdman, so one can sit on the jury. He learns that the other jurors don't think very much of his defense style.
- This is clearly a case of the Rule of Funny, because in a real court of law, being a lawyer already involved in a court case is a perfectly valid excuse to get out of jury duty.
- There's also the issue of Birdman's duplicate still technically being him, in a sense, and can't really be called an impartial juror. But again, Rule of Funny.
- Family Guy:
- Peter in "April in Quahog" during the first plot. He was excited at being selected for the first time thinking he was special before realizing that everyone does jury duty at some point. He attempts to get kicked out of jury.
- In a season 4 episode, Peter had jury duty in a cutaway gag pretending to be racist by stating (to the all white jury) "Awful lot of Honkies in here."
- "12 and a Half Angry Men" is a straightforward 12 Angry Men parody, with Brian taking the Henry Fonda role and making the jury reenact an orgy.
- Pepper Ann had one where the mom had jury duty, and it quickly became a parody of 12 Angry Men.
- The Keeper of the Reaper episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy was about a trial to decide who got to keep Grim due to Billy's family moving, but a lot of time was given to one of the jurors, an eccentric demon named Fred Fredburger.
- Stan Smith in the American Dad! episode "The People vs. Martin Sugar". He is always eager to attend jury duty every year as he sees it as one of the duties of a true American, even renting out a hotel room during the trial to make sure he stays impartial. It turns out the defendant is one of Roger's personas who attempts to charm the entire courtroom, with no effect on Stan.
- Phineas and Ferb: In "Norm Unleashed", Doofenshmirtz was called to be a juror. He expected to be let out of it by admitting he's an Evil Scientist ("Evil", not "Mad") but the judge decided having one as a juror would be useful as the defendant was another one. Dr. Diminutive was to be put on trial for the damages he caused by using the Schmaltz-inator he "borrowed" (read: stole) from Doofenshmirtz. Doof, despite wanting out of jury duty, denied being acquainted to Diminutive. Both of them started arguing and ended up in prison.
- In that same episode, another juror, when asked to state his occupation, claimed to be "between jobs". Doof thought he said that to get out of jury duty and that it wouldn't work. He did get out of it but he ironically wanted to be a juror so he could add that to his resume.
- In another episode, Major Monogram got jury duty. When he was about to state the verdict, he was hit by an inator that makes people say double negatives, causing the defendant to be declared "not not guilty" instead of "not guilty".
- Batman Beyond: When Mad Stan blew up the City Hall (in a virtual reality simulator owned by Spellbinder) one of the things he expected from this was "no more jury duty".
- In his latest Evening With DVD, Kevin Smith tells a hilarious story about serving jury duty while suffering from a rather painful anal lesion.
- Jeremy Clarkson relates an anecdote about serving on a jury where he remembers two notable characters: The first was a snobbish Stepford Suburbia type who said "He's clearly guilty - he has a beard and everything." The second was a black woman who said she couldn't find a fellow black person guilty of anything (she was the only one to vote "not guilty"). These instances have given him a notable hatred of the jury system, saying that if he ever commits a crime, he doesn't want to be judged by "a bunch of idiots from McDonald's and Kwik-Fit."
- In Virginia, a seldom noticed part of the law makes it trivially easy to get out of jury duty. § 8.01-339 of the Code of Virginia says "No person shall be eligible to serve on any jury when he, or any person for him, solicits or requests a jury commissioner to place his name in a jury box or in any way designate such person as a juror." So all it takes in the Commonwealth of Virginia to get removed from the jury pool is to write a letter to your county's Jury Commissioner requesting to be put on the list, which then means, by law, they would have to strike your name and remove it from consideration.