Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More governement security at its finest: Jury summons

Yesterday, I experienced something that many people are already familiar with: A jury summons.

The paperwork explained how I was randomly selected from the DMW or voter database (which I am not part of), and to present myself on October 10th at a particular courthouse. It came with apologies, helpful information and a parking permit.

There is only one big problem:
I am not a U.S. citizen, hence not legally allowed to be a juror.

Yes, I could send in the form, with proof of my non-citizenship, and I would be "excused" from this duty.

But that is not the point.

Think for a second what would happen if I "played stupid", and showed up at the requested time and place, Californian drivers license in hand? Would anybody have checked anything at all? I strongly doubt it. Then continue the thought: What happens to a court case if one of the jurors turns out afterwards to be "ineligible" ? IANAL, but "instant mistrial" sounds like a likely outcome.

Lessons here: Don't re-use database information for other purposes, especially if the authorization levels are different. Being able to recognize a stop-sign is not the same as being able to judge a serial killer.

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