Autistic adults exempt from jury duty

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Summer_Twilight
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06 Jul 2021, 12:22 pm

Hi:
I have been finding that some autistic friends of mine and their parents think that all spectrumites need to be exempt from getting jury duty because they don't think they would be able to understand the technical terms. It makes me mad because many individuals often fight for social justice, acceptance and inclusion. Yet, they don't want to serve on a jury. They get mad at me for having a different opinion.

Why are the reasons autistic are being exempt from Jury Duty? I feel like the system seems to be designed for a one-sized fits all system. I feel we should be included because

1. I believe some of us are able to learn how and when to use technical terms
2. Autistics are able to understand when someone is fair or unfair



IsabellaLinton
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06 Jul 2021, 12:28 pm

I don't think it's because the people wouldn't understand technical terms. I think it's because autistic people often have weak nonverbal skills for processing information, they tend to be black and white thinkers (perhaps making up their mind too quickly), and they get upset easily (sensory stimulation, overwhelm, need to be alone, difficulty finding consensus in a group). That's my opinion anyway.

Did they actually say it's because of technical terms?

Also I don't think anyone is automatically disqualified on the basis of Autism. I went once myself but the case didn't move forward. I know autistic people who have asked to be opted out because they wouldn't be comfortable attending.



Summer_Twilight
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06 Jul 2021, 12:38 pm

One former friend, who would not make a good candidate for jury duty told me that her mother said I have no business being on a jury because she didn't think I would understand the technical terms because she gets asked to serve once a month a knows better.

My other friend, told me on Sunday that no autistic adults belong on a jury just because her parents told her she couldn't. She got upset when she found out that I was not exempt for jury duty. That said, she has black and white thinking.

Actually, I have an autistic friend who says he is served on a grand jury and did just fine.



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06 Jul 2021, 12:42 pm

Some autistics might find it daunting due to anxiety, which would probably be the case for me. But I think my main problem is ADHD, I have difficulty listening for long periods of time so I think I'd just be a waste of time.

This is the thing about having diagnoses stuck on your medical records. I prefer to be free of the ASD diagnosis and not have it follow me around everywhere.


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HeroOfHyrule
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06 Jul 2021, 12:42 pm

I think it's dependent on the individual. I could probably do fine with jury duty, but others may not. It's very rude of your friends mother to tell you that you shouldn't do jury duty, and try to tell you what you shouldn't be able to understand.


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IsabellaLinton
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06 Jul 2021, 12:43 pm

Were you selected from a panel, to attend?

Do you want to go?

I agree with Hero. It's none of their business unless they are doing the selection themselves.



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06 Jul 2021, 12:44 pm

The last time I was called to jury duty, I had already determined the defendant was guilty even before the jury selection process was completed.  I explained to the judge that this was based solely on what both the prosecution and defense lawyers had said during the process.  After conferring with both lawyers in his chambers for about 10 minutes, he dismissed me from jury duty.

As I was being processed out at the clerk's office, about 7 or 8 other people came in, having been dismissed by the same judge for saying that my statements had somehow 'tainted' their opinions of the defendant.

So, in my opinion the actual fear arises out of our black-and-white thinking, resulting in quick verdicts of guilt or innocence, without any reasonable doubt, and without allowance for the lawyers to make their respective cases.
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Summer_Twilight
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06 Jul 2021, 1:01 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Were you selected from a panel, to attend?

Do you want to go?

I agree with Hero. It's none of their business unless they are doing the selection themselves.


Yes but I was not selected recently, rather, I happened to talk about it with another friend of mine over the weekend who's parents shelter her. It really ticks me off that she was trying to tell me that I should not.

However, a different friend was the one who told me that her mom didn't think I would be fit to serve on a jury some years back. However, she and her mother are very opinionated and small-minded about all people with disabilities.



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06 Jul 2021, 2:29 pm

Fnord wrote:
As I was being processed out at the clerk's office, about 7 or 8 other people came in, having been dismissed by the same judge for saying that my statements had somehow 'tainted' their opinions of the defendant.

We live in a strange world, don't we? I can understand somebody else's words opening a hitherto closed mind to new possibilities, but the idea of them closing a hitherto open mind, that seems bizarre.



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06 Jul 2021, 2:44 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Fnord wrote:
As I was being processed out at the clerk's office, about 7 or 8 other people came in, having been dismissed by the same judge for saying that my statements had somehow 'tainted' their opinions of the defendant.
We live in a strange world, don't we? I can understand somebody else's words opening a hitherto closed mind to new possibilities, but the idea of them closing a hitherto open mind, that seems bizarre.
More like going from wishy-washy political correctness to making an informed decision because someone who was paying attention during the jury selection process (and taking notes, besides) summed up everything the defense and the prosecution had already said up to that point.

I did not "close their minds" so much as I woke them out of their complacency.  Before I spoke up, I think they were all afraid of being held in contempt for saying what was really on their minds.


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06 Jul 2021, 2:54 pm

Summer_Twilight wrote:
Hi:
I have been finding that some autistic friends of mine and their parents think that all spectrumites need to be exempt from getting jury duty because they don't think they would be able to understand the technical terms. It makes me mad because many individuals often fight for social justice, acceptance and inclusion. Yet, they don't want to serve on a jury. They get mad at me for having a different opinion.

Why are the reasons autistic are being exempt from Jury Duty? I feel like the system seems to be designed for a one-sized fits all system. I feel we should be included because

1. I believe some of us are able to learn how and when to use technical terms
2. Autistics are able to understand when someone is fair or unfair


Well, I have a Master's degree in public policy, which includes the study of law. I am a certified floodplain manager, which also requires the study of law. I have given testimony in administrative hearings, which also require the understanding of law. I have no problem in understanding technical terms (I was also a technical writer).

I do have problem with whether someone is deceiving me sometimes, but I have no problems judging their actions and evidence. Autism can actually give a better ability to judge because you are less likely to be swayed by an emotional appeal.

BTW, the legal process is supposed to present the evidence so the jury can understand the issues. The judge is supposed to give guidance to the jury so they know how to evaluate the evidence and how to render a judgement.

The other problem with your friend's and friend's parents is that there is no evidence that a neurotypical person has better ability to judge a court case.



ToughDiamond
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06 Jul 2021, 3:09 pm

Fnord wrote:
More like going from wishy-washy political correctness to making an informed decision because someone who was paying attention during the jury selection process (and taking notes, besides) summed up everything the defense and the prosecution had already said up to that point.

I did not "close their minds" so much as I woke them out of their complacency.  Before I spoke up, I think they were all afraid of being held in contempt for saying what was really on their minds.

Ah well, if you only encouraged them to say what they'd been thinking all the time, that's a different kettle of fish. But maybe they just wanted an excuse to go home.



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06 Jul 2021, 3:22 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
[...] But maybe they just wanted an excuse to go home.
I think we all did.

It was funny how most of the jury candidates before me said essentially the same thing: "You Honor, I cannot reach a verdict until I have examined all of the evidence and listened to all of the testimony, and blah, blah, blah...." -- all politically correct in every way, and all very "open-minded".

Then they get to me, and I said that after hearing what had already been revealed in the courtroom, I could not render any other verdict than "guilty"...


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He said WHAT?!
:lol:


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06 Jul 2021, 4:07 pm

Seems to me that there would also be a large number of non-autistics who wouldn’t know all the legal terms, and I don’t know why a random ASD adult would be any less likely to be familiar with them than a random NT adult.

I don’t know if it actually is connected to my autism or not, but I loathe making any kind of important decision, for fear of being wrong. I don’t even like to decide where to go for lunch if it would affect anyone other than me. But it’s at least compounded by anxiety for me.

ASD and symptoms are varied enough from person to person that it would be hard to determine whether it would “usually” be a valid reason for exemption or not. Certainly could be in some cases, but in others it could even make someone a better candidate than the average NT (might have better analytical skills or even a special interest in law).


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IsabellaLinton
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06 Jul 2021, 4:47 pm

dragonsanddemons wrote:

I don’t know if it actually is connected to my autism or not, but I loathe making any kind of important decision, for fear of being wrong. I don’t even like to decide where to go for lunch if it would affect anyone other than me. But it’s at least compounded by anxiety for me.



THIS



ToughDiamond
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06 Jul 2021, 4:52 pm

I expect a lot of Aspies would be no worse than anybody else at voting on a jury, and there's supposed to be screening tests to exclude anybody the bigwigs are nervous about. I think another reason for exemption would be the likelihood of an Aspie suffering more discomfort than the average person, what with being dragged out of their normal routine, forced to sit still for hours and be exposed to authority figures. I'm not sure why it's compulsory for anybody. If it's such a great system, I'd have thought there would be enough volunteers to keep it running. It's not a good start if the jurors don't even want to do the job. I read one story about a jury where most of them started by voting one way, but changed sides when it became clear that a small minority weren't going to budge. They were sick of the thing and just wanted to get it done with so they could get on with their lives.