jury duty and atheists
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19-06-2013, 11:28 AM
RE: jury duty and atheists
Juries are restricted by the pre-trial questionnaire. I've never seen one that asked about their religious beliefs -- but my scope is limited to Northern California and never involved in a trial where religion could be considered relevant.


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19-06-2013, 11:31 AM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:24 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:12 AM)mec Wrote:  But don't they say you promise to tell the truth and the whole truth so help you god?

"Promise" is for minors, "swear" is for adults.
That's when we're talking witnesses though.

Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.


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19-06-2013, 11:36 AM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:31 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:24 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  "Promise" is for minors, "swear" is for adults.
That's when we're talking witnesses though.

Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.

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19-06-2013, 11:38 AM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:36 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:31 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.

TV lied! Ohmy

Almost constantly. Smile

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19-06-2013, 11:54 AM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:23 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:14 AM)mec Wrote:  But don't they ask you to tell the truth and the whole truth so help you god?

The jury arent witnesses giving testimony. It's up to the individual,attorney's to challenge if they don't want an atheist on the jury or the judge to summarily dismiss them. The jury is given careful instructions by the judge what to consider.

To my knowledge the jury doesn't collectively take an oath, per se, they promise they have no preformed ideas about guilt or innocence and to remain impartial to the evidence presented.
I had been on a jury a couple of times but no one ever openly stated they were atheists. Nor have I ever seen a witness state they were atheists as well. It would be an interesting scenario if they did though.

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19-06-2013, 12:08 PM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:31 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:24 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  "Promise" is for minors, "swear" is for adults.
That's when we're talking witnesses though.

Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.

I swore a lot as a minor. Weeping

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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19-06-2013, 12:16 PM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 12:08 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:31 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.

I swore a lot as a minor. Weeping

Actually the legal term was infant, minor was only considered more polite. Big Grin Nothing worse than calling a 17 year old a baby in open court.


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19-06-2013, 12:35 PM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 11:54 AM)mec Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:23 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  The jury arent witnesses giving testimony. It's up to the individual,attorney's to challenge if they don't want an atheist on the jury or the judge to summarily dismiss them. The jury is given careful instructions by the judge what to consider.

To my knowledge the jury doesn't collectively take an oath, per se, they promise they have no preformed ideas about guilt or innocence and to remain impartial to the evidence presented.
I had been on a jury a couple of times but no one ever openly stated they were atheists. Nor have I ever seen a witness state they were atheists as well. It would be an interesting scenario if they did though.

Now, this was a long time ago, but the attorney's I worked for would strongly advise potential witnesses not to say they were atheists (we did come across a few) -- since most people are heavily closeted. Some expert testimony sometimes offered by scientists that were atheist, they would opt to simply swear. It's a wild card how a jury will react. So much of law is don't ask. At that time I never saw an attorney try to impeach expert testimony based only on that.

But a lot of that also depends on the judge. Some would blanket swear in all the witnesses at once before the trial. While others preferred to do them as they came up. One judge I saw did it outside the presence of the jury. I don't know why or e jury felt it was odd or not (it wasn't part of the after trial questions).


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19-06-2013, 04:26 PM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 12:08 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 11:31 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Actually in the area I worked, minors would could swear did so. Small children were never asked to at all. They were led to determine if they understood the difference between the truth and lie -- it's then left to the jury to decide if the child witness is credible.

I swore a lot as a minor. Weeping

Did you forget how? Tongue

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19-06-2013, 05:06 PM
RE: jury duty and atheists
(19-06-2013 04:26 PM)Anjele Wrote:  
(19-06-2013 12:08 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I swore a lot as a minor. Weeping

Did you forget how? Tongue

Umm no. I swear WAY too much now. Big Grin

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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