Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.

Too much information

8 Comments

I don’t tend to follow the sensational trials very closely, so maybe I’ve just never noticed before, but the amount of information being made public about the jury for Dr. Conrad Murray’s murder trial disturbs me. It’s enough to make me think twice about jury duty.

What kind of information, you ask?

There’s a brief list here, but things like age, sex, race, occupation, marital status, number of children and grandchildren, family history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Yes, the names are absent, but still. In a million years it would never occur to me that my 39 pages of personal information, filled out for the purpose of jury selection, would be released to the media.

I may choose to disclose much of that information here, tied to a name and picture no less. But if I do, it’s by my choice. On my terms.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when the media starts poring over the juror’s personal details on the morning news. What do you think?

Photo credit: PRIVATE © Lance Bellers | Dreamstime.com

Author: Gwen Hernandez

Author of SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES & BLIND FURY. Manufacturing engineer turned romantic suspense writer. 2011 Golden Heart® finalist. Scrivener instructor, runner, reader, explorer, Kung Fu sifu, AF spouse, mom, vegan. www.gwenhernandez.com

8 thoughts on “Too much information

  1. Agreed. A jurors identify is none of my business. If I’m the juror it’s doubly true. Thats One of the reasons I have become a master at getting tossed during the jury selection process.

    If you make the initial cut and are sent to a judges court for the impaneling process a little creativity and initiative will have you on your way within the hour. So far I’m four for four.

  2. I’m on the fence on this one. On a personal level, I would not like to have that information in the paper. But the way our system works, all key phases of a trial (any trial, not just the sensationalized ones) are open to the public. That includes jury selection. If they did this verbally and you went to the courthouse, you would hear all the same information. I wouldn’t like having to say it all out loud in front of strangers, either, but that’s how it goes.

    • Maura: I totally understand the need for an open process. I don’t even have a huge problem with providing that information to those present in the courtroom, but I hate that the media turns it into news the whole world gets without any effort on their part besides flipping on the TV.

      One is necessary to get the job done. The other is just pure sensationalism, and making up news when there’s nothing relevant yet to report.

      • I guess it depends on how you look at it. If a trial is taking place in Los Angeles, and members of the public on the east coast want to attend but can’t afford it, then getting it through the news is the next best thing. And if it is a particularly sensational trial, the courthouse can’t accommodate the number of people who would like to attend, So they will look to the media for the information. However, I’m sure you are right in the assumption that the media is far more concerned about generating revenue by releasing that information than they are about providing a public service.

        • Yeah, I see your point, Maura, though I’m not sure who outside the legal team needs to know about the jury. It’s really only relevant in terms of appeals and such anyway, right? Anyone with a need to know can get the information.

          The average Joe or Jose on the couch does not fall into that category in my mind. But, I guess better an open society and media than the alternative!

  3. Curtis: I think jury duty would be interesting, but I have no desire to be involved in a high-profile case like this one. I did get called once, incidentally, to the same court-house in California where Michael Jackson’s molestation case took place (talk about a media circus, the town was a mess for a year!), but I was dismissed in the first round.

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