How do you say “Jury” in Spanish?

Jury%20Header.JPG

So I’ve been called to do my civic duty: in about one month I must report to the Criminal Justice Center for jury selection. Last time I did so, I was empanelled on a jury and was told that my service would exempt me from further notifications for three years.

And three years (almost to the precise DAY!) after I reported in summer 2004, my shiny new jury notice has arrived. And, as I filled out the official “jury eligibility questionnaire” that is a required part of the process, I noticed something that amused me a tiny bit.

(More after the jump)

First, here’s a scan of the questionnaire:

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Do you see the first question where you are asked to certify your proficiency with reading and writing the English language? And the way that same question has been translated into Spanish? Does anyone else detect a possible logical fallacy in that?

Now, I think providing translations of key government publications is a wonderful courtesy to citizens and residents for whom English is a second (or third or fourth or fifth) language. But it this particular circumstance it just makes me giggle a teensy bit.

After all: if you have the required language proficiency to be eligible as a juror, wouldn’t that also mean you have the language proficiency to read and answer the question without a courtesy translation?

Or is logic perhaps more than I should expect from the modern jury selection process?

5 Comments so far

  1. Marisa (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

    I’ve been called for jury duty three times in the 5 1/2 years I’ve lived here and the process has gotten dumbed down more and more just in that short period of time. Nothing they do surprises me.


  2. Angie (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 9:39 pm

    “After all: if you have the required language proficiency to be eligible as a juror, wouldn’t that also mean you have the language proficiency to read and answer the question without a courtesy translation?”

    Not necessarily. What about the child that is born here, and then is taken back to the parent’s country of origin? Anyway, that’s not really what I wanted to mention.

    What I wanted to mention is that I am unsure that they choose someone by their ability to be a juror; after my experience I feel that it’s more like really random picking.

    Why do I say this? because I, before becoming a citizen, got these a couple of times. I thought that perhaps they got the address through my tax information. Nope! Amazingly enough, last year, one of my coworkers, one month after arriving from China on an H1 visa, got one of these as well. He was unsure of what it was until he asked me.

    After that I started thinking that perhaps they have a monkey picking them out of a lotto machine. Well, not really but it really made me wonder how exactly they chose to send these out. I’ve already ruled out voter information, tax returns and citizenship. Perhaps SSN office? White Pages?


  3. Mithras (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 9:29 am

    After all: if you have the required language proficiency to be eligible as a juror, wouldn’t that also mean you have the language proficiency to read and answer the question without a courtesy translation?

    So, if it were just in English, how would anyone know to answer “no”?


  4. Sherri W. (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 11:43 pm

    Marisa: I’m guessing, since you’ve been called so often, that you’ve never earned the three years off you get after actually being placed on a jury for a trial. I think you may still have gotten the better deal… ;)

    Angie: Yah, I have no idea how names are generated. Maybe it’s payroll/scholarship paper trails? Utility bills? Beats me.

    Mithras: You’ve got a valid point, but it still (to my eyes) seems REALLY oddly done on the form, which actually gives you the printed option of circling “Si” as an answer that supposedly affirms your English proficiency. (Never mind the notion that if you really want to make the form accessible for non-English-speakers, then all of the questions should be translated. Or the fact that if you really want to make the question or the form as a whole accessible to folks lacking English proficiency, there’s a multiple number of languages that should be used, not just Spanish.)

    And all of this is merely me further bloviating about my initial impression, which is that I just don’t understand those folks in (and near) City Hall. Oh well. :)


  5. Ahd Child (unregistered) on August 3rd, 2007 @ 11:30 am

    I served on a jury last month. They said that for the 3 year exemption, when you get a notice, you have to let them know that you’ve served in the last 3 years. they don’t keep track.



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