A few days ago, a close friend, a good citizen, responded to a summons for jury duty.
My friend was dismayed when, in the jury assembly room, CNN was switched on the big screen TV. The nonstop barrage of anti-Republican, hate-Trump propaganda was, to say the least, inappropriate for potential jurors. This kind of bias has no place in our courts.
My friend penned a letter to the Court Clerk.
July 18, 2017
To the members of the Court,
Yesterday I fulfilled my civic duty to serve as a potential jury member at the new Federal Court at 350 West First street. I was impressed by the amenities and the graciousness of the staff in the assembly room.
However, my mood was shattered when big screen TVs were turned on while we waited for instruction. The station was CNN, and the barrage of political contention was certainly poisoning my mind set. The sound was even piped into the bathrooms. I would feel the same if Fox News was transmitted.
No juror should be forced to listen to the news while they are trying to pass the time. If you feel that TV is a necessary amenity, then at least provide earphones for those that request it, but the blasting vituperations of reporters, regardless of bias, should not be forced upon the entire group. CNN news, or any news should not be default condition.
I asked the receptionist if she could turn it off, she said that even if she did, if one person asked for it, she would turn it back on. I replied, “But I’m one person who wants it off?” Please address this matter so further potential jurors are not exposed to political rhetoric and can remain bias free when they are called to the courtroom for voir dire.
My friend received this response:
Date: Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 1:07 PM
Subject: Re: Assembly room procedures
Thank you for your email.
I apologize to you on behalf of the court and will forward your concern to my manager.