Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who Is The Liar?

You might remember a few weeks ago, I told you that I got a questionnaire to fill out for jury duty.  (the post was Looking from Both Sides Now )  Well...as it turns out,  I didn't put any credible reasons why I am not fit to serve on a jury.  As you might, also,  remember, I toyed with the idea of marking the question concerning "my mental capacity to make a fair decisions" as questionable.   I think it is short sighted on the court system's  part, to not include a question about being an "over-thinker". As I am a conflicted personality that over analyzes most issues I think it would be wise for people like me to be excused.  I could be the reason some poor jury pool misses next Christmas because we are still deliberating the fate of some poor slob that was misbehaving.

But alas...I have been assigned to a court case and I have yet to be dismissed. Voir Dire is yet to start.... so, here I am  waiting....sitting....and waiting some more.

 According to the court, we are the privileged few that should be thrilled to participate in the "process".  As I have served on several juries in the past, I have had this particular thrill before.  What is a little different about this jury is the pay.  OK, so I am supposed to be feeling privileged and  not thinking about how to spend my $10.00 a day.  Kansas deems this amount sufficient to pay for our impartial opinions, I guess.  Maybe my opinion is not worth more than that...we will see.

NOTE:  Turns out this is pretty normal among the U.S. court systems  (if you are curious as  to what your state  pays it's jurors. you can click here) The last time I was on a jury we lived in Texas.  In Texas my valued opinion was worth $40.00 a day. As to how valuable my opinion is,  .....every jury I have served on ended in a guilty verdict.  Perhaps some of the parties involved in those trials might not think my opinion is worth even a ten dollar bill but I would guess maybe some prosecutors loved my opinion.

Anyway... As to the point of today's post.... Anytime you are privileged enough to serve on a jury, you see that there there are varying degrees of liars. Yes....they range from totally awful to awesomely perfect. The ability to lie WELL, takes some talent.

Thought number One:  Skilled Liars

Anyone that hangs around a courtroom will realize in short order,  there are a lot of varying shades of the truth. Yep, every time I serve on a jury, I realize that there are a lot of people that are spectacular liars.  They don't flinch, they don't hesitate and they look you square in the eyes while they make up some outrageous reason why something happened.  Don't assume for a minute that I think these pathological fibbers are limited to the people on trial.  No sirree...there are some seriously creative bullshitters among the lawyers and jurors, as well.  

At the moment, I can't discuss my current jury duties but once I was on a jury in St. Louis where the prosecutor asked a prospective juror if she had any bias against drug dealers. WELL...she replied some mumbo- jumbo crap about how she could be unbiased and fair.   While I didn't stand up and yell " Lady, you are a lying bitch!!!" I might of thought it because:

A.  Aren't most people biased against illegal drug dealers ?

B.  This particular woman was married to a St. Louis City policeman.  And...yes...she was picked for the trial.  Score one for the prosecution. 

Thought Number Two: Is lying so ingrained in our society, that it has become expected and/or required?

I am sure the people on trial here today would shout out a resounding "Hell yes!"  Assuming those on trial today have anything to hide, they surely hope that their lawyer's version of the events and their own fabrications are flawless and believable.    BUT.... even without jail time on the line, aren't there times that just demand we "rework" the truth?

Is there an honest way to answer a question when you are cornered by someone seeking an endorsement..assuming, of course, that there isn't a prayer that you can in good conscious can  say something positive without choking on your own bile or worse yet laughing hysterically.    For example: When a friend asks if you think she looks 60.  (Luckily, I have some first hand experience on this one...I escaped lying because I think she looks at least 70...  So a hearty "NO you don't look 60 was said with the utmost sincerity. But while I recognize that may be a lie of omission,  at least I didn't choke or laugh.)

I would go so far as to say a lot of occupations require us to become proficient liars. I have yet to hear an attorney stand up today and say..."Sure my client is guilty as sin but you need to find him/her innocent because he/she is such a great person. While, the lawyer would of gained a nod for his honesty, I doubt that would of done any favors for his client.  (Oh wait a minute...he probably is still lying because how great can his client be if he is guilty?)  Frankly, if I ever need a lawyer I want one that is so convincing, that people trust that every word he speaks is 100 percent gospel.

 Who am I to judge as far as professional lying goes?  As a Realtor, I surround myself with people that are stomping on the fine lines between fact and fiction everyday.   There is a whole language devoted to real estate half-truths.

Quaint = Old
Cozy = Small
Charming = Old and Small
Convenient Location = Noisy with possible bus stop in your front yard
Unique = Floor  plan makes absolutely no sense
Needs TLC = Dump

Just last night, I was watching a "house hunters" show, where the real estate agent was pointing out some cracks in a wall and told the poor, naive buyers that they were settlement cracks. Total lie.  The cracks were slightly less in size than the Grand Canyon.  More like Bryce Canyon, really.

So it seems there is some serious lying going on in the workplace.  Even Dilbert recognizes that lying is to be reckoned with. 

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meleahrebeccah said...

"As I am a conflicted personality that over analyzes most issues I think it would be wise for people like me to be excused. I could be the reason some poor jury pool misses next Christmas because we are still deliberating the fate of some poor slob that was misbehaving."

HA! Same here!! I could hold a jury hostage while deliberating.

Wow - A woman married to a police officer was picked for jury duty in a drug dealer case? Yeah, that's totally 'unbiased' - NOT.

"Frankly, if I ever need a lawyer I want one that is so convincing, that people trust that every word he speaks is 100 percent gospel."

Absolutely. I would want the best possible pathological lawyer ever!

lisleman said...

That Dilbert was just in the paper. Are you one that stills reads a tree related newspaper? I do. Of course I read online too.

We are so good at rationalizing which shows creativity. Not all creativity is good, but it sounds better.

Remember according the Colonel in "A Few Good Men" there are those that "can't handle the truth".


Oh our jury pay varies by county. It's been too many years since I served on one.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes I still read an actual newspaper. I love having my morning KC Star to look through in the morning.

Great line out of "A Few Good Men". Some of us might handle the truth but who would ever know if it WAS the truth?

Jury pay might be based on counties here as well but I read some where that the state of Kansas passed a bill in 1971 to set the ten dollar rate and it hasn't changed. Maybe some counties have increased their rates despite the Kansas bill. I don't really care but seems like a waste of bureaucracy It probably cost more than ten dollars to issue the checks. .

Cheryl P. said...

You might hold a jury hostage but everyone would be having fun.

I think lawyers want at least a couple on the jury that would be a solid vote for their client. As for the cop's wife.... it wouldn't of mattered if she was biased or not in that case. I think all of us were unanimous that the guy was guilty. He was hiding drugs in his duffel bag going through the St. Louis airport. A drug dog detected him. This was way before 9/11 so there was a lot less scrutiny at the security gates.

meleahrebeccah said...

Ah yes. Well that makes sense ­ and yes ­ clearly that dude was guilty.

Chubby Chatterbox said...

A fun post. I've always wanted to be called for jury duty but I've managed to reach the age of sixty without being called. I hear they get suspicious if you volunteer. I'm a registered voter so I don't know why I'm not called/

Cat said...

I have always been told that my "truthfulness detector" needs some work... (More earthy term, BS detector). Anyway, the county must have thought it was good enough, I had been called for jury duty. But they dumped me out after the initial interview. Turns out, when you are friends with the detective that made the arrest, you are friends with deputies that are involved with the case, and your reading list includes several magazines having to do with things as varied as knitting, fishing, and firearms, both sides were looking askance. I didn't make jury... So I still don't know if my BS meter would have worked!


Trina said...

I've never served on a jury... never even been invited. Beside the crappy pay I think I'd have a really hard time judging someone else.
I have on occasion needed an attorney, My guy is honest and blunt. he can find every technicality and common sense approach possible, but he's the type of guy that I know I can trust and not feel awkward about hiring.
Good Luck at your Jury Duty!

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,
$10? That sucks, you can't even get a decent lunch out of that.
Serving in a Jury is hard, how do you make an unbiased opinion when everyone is lying?

Katherine Murray said...

Oh Oh! You forgot "waterfront property." Here, that means you can have a puddle within spitting distance. Probably made by people spitting!!!

Cheryl P. said...

I can't imagine how you have not been called for jury duty. I get called about every two years. One year I got called for city, county and district courts. Maybe they just like to mess with my schedule.

I think there should be a volunteer jury pool. That would take the heat off of all the people that have trouble working their jobs around it. Maybe they are suspicious of why a person would want jury duty. (it's not for the money)

Cheryl P. said...

That probably means your are a trusting person and give people the benefit of the doubt. After years of managing an unemployment office, I am a pretty good detector of "less than honest" types. But, of course, some people are really GOOD liars.

I can see why you weren't selected for jury duty. Knowing both the dectective and the deputies doesn't make you impartial but it sure would be interesting to see how that would work out...esp. if you heard the evidence and sided with the person on trial.

Cheryl P. said...

I think everyone at some point needs a good attorney. I like the honest but tough type. The problem is sometimes figuring out who the honest, hard working attorneys are.

As for jury duty, I don't mind serving from time to time. Invariably it is some minor case that lasts one day. Such as the case this time. I am done for at least one year. (here you can only serve in county court jury duty once a year)

Cheryl P. said...

That's the trick for sure...being totally unbiased and try to figure out the real story as both sides are sugar coating what the truth is. I am always amazed at what obvious lying is going on.

Cheryl P. said...

OMG...I have to add that to my repertoire of property descriptions. I love that. Of course, as there is so little waterfront property in Kansas, I will have to wait for the next heavy rain that produces flash floods.

momto8blog said...

I did jury duty last year and was amazed at the ethics of the jury system!

Cheryl P. said...

All kidding aside, I think that nearly all the jurors, are conscientious and want to do the best they can to render a fair verdict. I, also think that for the most part, the lawyers, judges and such are hardworking, honest people. BUT in the 7 times I have served on juries, I have seen a few people involved that seems rather shady. One one case the person being charged changed her story several times on the stand. Her lies were so confusing that no one could keep her story straight.

Riot Kitty said...

HAHA! I love the real estate lie translation...we are about to start house hunting, so I may dream up posts of my own. I've been called to jury duty twice; once, everyone pled so we were dismissed, and the other time, I admitted that I couldn't be impartial. I wasn't trying to get out of it, though, I really did want to send the person to jail. Hence realizing I couldn't be impartial.

oldereyes said...

Your Dilbert cartoon reminds me of a situation when I was working in big industry. An applicant for an engineering position listed himself as having a PhDWT. When saked about it, he said it was a PhD Without Thesis. Where I come from, that's a Masters at most. It was creative lying but we didn't hire him.


Jo-Anne said...

Ok I have never served on a jury never recieved a notice to ring about jury duty nope never............oh hang on I did one 27yrs ago when Kathy was a newborn and I filled in a form saying I had a child under 18 and was exempt..............

As for property well when they say the place has a lake view it either means you can seee the lake if you hang out of one window on a fine day or the street it is on is called Lakeview.............lol

Nicky said...

When I was younger, I thought it would be cool to sit on a jury. I blame Perry Mason. Now, not so much although I've never had the pleasure myself. I can't believe how many times you've been picked for jury duty. Is it normal in the US to be selected so many times?

Cheryl P. said...

House hunting can be fun but there is so much truth in the statement "buyer beware".

I have been dismissed once also because they came to a plea deal. The guy on trial, I am sure, appreciated that you were dismissed. He might not of gotten so lucky with the rest of the jurors. If you wanted him jailed probably some other folks did too.

Cheryl P. said...

What an odd thing to put on a application. Either he had his PhD or he didn't and by putting it as he did, it red flagged it.

While I chose the judicial system as illustrating the quality of liars, I could of used the "seeking employment" arena. The 7 years I managed the unemployment office there were loads of liars and many of them were really bad liars. Nearly everyone embellishes their resume in some way and I understand the reasons for that BUT some resumes were so outrageous that it was hard to keep a straight face during the interview.

Cheryl P. said...

It can be really interesting, if the case is interesting. I, too, loved to watch Perry Mason and still enjoy all the shows that are law and order type of things.

I think it is real hit and miss here about jury duty. I hear a lot of people say they have never served and others, like me, that get called every couple of years. I like Chubby Chatterbox's idea of forming a volunteer jury system.(which couldn't really work because nut bags would want to sign up to let their buddies get off)

But... I would just volunteer in hopes of getting on an interesting case instead of some drug possession charge or other mundane case where you just sit for a couple of hours listening to evidence that is so overwhelming there is no way anyone could deny it.

Cheryl P. said...

Really, you got out of it because you had a child. That doesn't work here unless there are unusual circumstances.

You are so right about property descriptions...usually they are greatly exaggerated. People should really use caution when reading real estate ads.

AletaObrien said...

Love those real-estate half truths. Creative thinking I call it :)
I was almost picked for a murder case, but I said I'd be hard pressed to give the death penalty. Just don't know if I could assign someone's death sentence!

Robyn Engel said...

Good points, Cheryl. It does seem as thought lying is the norm, especially when under oath.

I sat in a jury box for selection/wedding out once. We were asked what our favorite tv shows were. I said "trashy shows like Melrose Place and Party of Five." Almost everyone else said they didn't watch tv. What a bunch of liars! Of course, I was the one dismissed.

Be well.

Cheryl P. said...

A murder case would be so interesting!!!! BUT I am just like you. I would be very hard pressed to cast a guilty vote in a death penalty case. I guess, one would have to hear all the facts of the case and weigh my conscience at that time. Here in Kansas, there are death penalties cases but the last executions were in 1965. You are probably familiar with two of those. Perry Smith and Richard Hickock...because of Capote's book "In Cold Blood".

Cheryl P. said...

Seriously, you are the one person that was forthright and admitted to watching TV programs and they sent you home. HOW WRONG IS THAT???

Obviously, they were were looking for people that don't live in modern society and know nothing of current culture.

I was once dismissed because a man was suing a factory for an injury and they asked if anyone in our family had been injured on the job. My dad lost his fingers in a punch press so they sent me packing.

abeerfortheshower said...

You get $10 a day? Wow, I got nothing because I'm not employed. So that means my time is apparently no longer valuable.

I was selected for a jury earlier this year, and it was hilarious to see some of the people trying to lie. The prosecutor (who was really, really good) just ripped them to shreds. It actually almost made the experience enjoyable. Almost.

Cheryl P. said...

What? They want to rent you and your opinion for the day (or more) and don't find it necessary to pay you?? Whether you are employed, self-employed or filthy-rich and never-have-to-work-a-day-in-your-life shouldn't play into it.

You should get extra pay for your level of incitefulness (that probably isn't a real word but you know what I mean)

You might be one of the rare few that is understanding why, I find the process of watching a bunch of professional liars (even if some of those professions result in being a felon) somewhat entertaining. Seems like a lot of people never get called for jury duty according to the comments.

I would love to see a really sharp prosecutor in action. Usually, I get two opposing lawyers that are just really arguing back and forth.