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Old March 4, 2014, 10:10 AM   #1
jason_iowa
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Federal court Jury duty

So I just got a jury summons for the 2ed quarter of the year for the 2ed year in a row. I have worked in law enforcement so I'm not worried about being selected. As part of the process however you are required to do a survey. This question as far as I can recall was not on the survey last year.

Do you or anyone in your household possess a fire arm? Yes/No

What kind of gun is it?

What is it used for?

This is a legal document that you must sign. To lie on this is considered perjury.

I find questioning in this manner to be more then a little inappropriate and I'm very uncomfortable answering such questions. What possible justification could they have for asking that?
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Old March 4, 2014, 10:13 AM   #2
armabill
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It says possess not owned. It doesn't give a time frame reference for possessing either.

You could move your guns to another location and answer it no.
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Old March 4, 2014, 10:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
What kind of gun is it?
A legal one.
Quote:
What is it used for?
Shooting bad guys who want to break into my house.

Answer it that way and you significantly lower your chances of being selected for jury duty.
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Old March 4, 2014, 10:53 AM   #4
jason_iowa
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http://www.iasd.uscourts.gov/index.p...d=2&Itemid=365

I went back and checked, it is a required question and does say possess not own but I think that is a technicality that would not get me far lol
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Old March 4, 2014, 10:54 AM   #5
psyfly
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1.) That's funny (esp. since it wasn't I who had to answer).

2.) I'm not sure it's legal.

3.) I'm pretty sure it's a 4th A violation to ask (from a federal court)

Quote:
Do you or anyone in your household possess a fire arm? Yes/No
Why, as responsible citizens, we all do.

Quote:
What kind of gun is it?
Each and every one of them is a privately-owned gun.

Quote:
What is it used for?
Depends on which one and whose it is.

But, if I were you, I think I'd send the questionairre to my state Attorney General's office and get an opinion on its legality/appropriateness.


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Old March 4, 2014, 11:02 AM   #6
1-DAB
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yes.

pistol

target shooting

if they want more details, they will ask once you are there.
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Old March 4, 2014, 12:08 PM   #7
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psyfly
...I'm pretty sure it's a 4th A violation to ask...
How could it possibly be a Fourth Amendment violation. The Fourth Amendment protects one from unreasonable searches and seizures. How could asking a question be either?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_iowa
...What possible justification could they have for asking that?
To help the judge and lawyers assess whether in a particular case one might or might not be likely to be an impartial juror as guaranteed (in criminal cases) by the Sixth Amendment. The more they know about prospective jurors, the better the judge and lawyers involved can make that assessment.
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Old March 4, 2014, 12:43 PM   #8
Pahoo
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Not in the asking but in the telling

I do not thinks it's the judge who is asking but one or both of the lawyers. It is legal to ask anything they want and I am obligated to answer whichever way I want as long as I'm being truthful. Once I get past the yes, I'd be at a loss on how to answer the rest. ....

Do you or anyone in your household possess a fire arm? Yes
What kind of gun is it? Muzzleloader
What is it used for? Collecting, Teaching and Hunting

Be Safe!!!
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Old March 4, 2014, 01:28 PM   #9
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To help the judge and lawyers assess whether in a particular case one might or might not be likely to be an impartial juror as guaranteed (in criminal cases) by the Sixth Amendment. The more they know about prospective jurors, the better the judge and lawyers involved can make that assessment.
Yep. There are also questions on that form about criminal history, prior lawsuits, and other things. The weird one is the one asking what blogs you read.

I'd suggest answering honestly. It's not a government conspiracy to start a registration--it's just a question about potential viability as a juror. The worst thing that will come of it is that they don't select you.
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Old March 4, 2014, 01:37 PM   #10
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
I do not thinks it's the judge who is asking but one or both of the lawyers...
The form was probably developed administratively, perhaps with the input of judges and lawyers, and then approved by through some process involving the judges or the presiding judge.

The form is then used as sort of a baseline during voire dire, where the lawyers, and sometimes the judge, will ask prospective jurors questions. The use of the form saves a lot of time by getting the answers to common questions in writing so the questions don't have to be asked in court.
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Old March 4, 2014, 01:56 PM   #11
JimDandy
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How could it possibly be a Fourth Amendment violation. The Fourth Amendment protects one from unreasonable searches and seizures. How could asking a question be either?
As has been mentioned, answering the question is compulsory. Couldn't that, in theory, make you an Agent Of The State? Here a podcast transcript from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center describes what triggers an Agent Of The State condition. Acting at the behest, or on behalf of the government. In this case, the government is asking you to act on their behalf to (mentally) search your own home and/or person, where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the presence of (item). I think Katz v. United States 389 U.S. 347 supports something pretty close to that theory. While a question wasn't asked, the government "searched and seized" the guy's own words, without entering his home, or even the phone booth.

If the person were a prohibited person, it would most certainly be a 5th amendment violation wouldn't it? HAYNES v. UNITED STATES, 390 U.S. 85 (1968)

With that said, while it MAY be a government search to compel you to list an inventory, partial or otherwise, of your home, it also may or may not unreasonable. While I suspect it would be near impossible to get a search warrant to look for legally possessed firearms by someone who isn't even suspected of a criminal act, there may be other justifications for a search.
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Old March 4, 2014, 02:14 PM   #12
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interviewed but not selected

Quote:
The form is then used as sort of a baseline during voire dire,
I have been through this process and no judge was present, only the lawyers. There was a questionnaire prior to this meeting and none were firearms related. I was not selected and this time, not disappointed ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old March 4, 2014, 02:28 PM   #13
Nickel Plated
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No biggie just answer truthfully.

Do you or anyone in your household possess a fire arm? Yes
What kind of gun is it? The kind that shoots
What is it used for? Shooting

Hey they just said you had to be truthful. They never said you had to be detailed.
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Old March 4, 2014, 02:31 PM   #14
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Well some people find the answering the first one a biggie in and of itself.
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Old March 4, 2014, 03:18 PM   #15
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I think it is unconstitutional. 4th Amendment gives you right to be secure against unwarranted searches. It doesn't say whether the search is a physical search at the home or on the person or whether it is a verbal intrusion.
Some folks today think "unwarranted" means "unreasonable". It means without a search warrant detailing the evidence against you on the law you violated, the party complaining, what is to be searched.
Let's see, how would the whole thing look if we made some substitutions.
1. What you a member of the XYZ church.
2. What racial group do you belong to.
3. What unappararent illnesses do you have, etc.
You are on a jury. You aren't the person on trial.
Am I wrong. SURE AM. Now a days a person takes a law course in college and the college professor said blah, blah, blah, and certain government officials today are saying blah, blah, blah and pretty soon the old trial by a jury of your peers turns into trial by jurors acceptable to the government. When I was a young'n I was told a trial by jury was the people's last line of defense against a despotic law or government.
STRANGE AS IT MAY SOUND- I wonder what the American Civil Liberties Union thinks. They might actually take except to such questions.
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Old March 4, 2014, 03:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
. . . .4th Amendment gives you right to be secure against unwarranted searches. It doesn't say whether the search is a physical search at the home or on the person or whether it is a verbal intrusion. Some folks today think "unwarranted" means "unreasonable". It means without a search warrant detailing the evidence against you on the law you violated, the party complaining, what is to be searched.
No, it doesn't. The Fourth Amendment doesn't protect you against "unwarranted" searches, and it's not a matter of what "some folks today think." The Fourth Amendment states quite clearly that:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Founding Fathers
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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Old March 4, 2014, 03:37 PM   #17
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The question is very cleverly worded, probably written by a lawyer? People would raise a stink if it said "do you own a firearm"... but since it says "possess"...

The definition of possess:
pos·sess [puh-zes]
verb (used with object)
1. to have as belonging to one; have as property; own:

Since the definition of "possess" actually means "to own", you should answer like below and let the lawyers read between the lines whether you're suitable.

Do you or anyone in your household possess a fire arm? Yes/No
No, I do not currently have a firearm in my possession (since you're in a courthouse), and no members of my household are present, so I cannot verify their status.

What kind of gun is it?
N/A

What is it used for?
N/A

This response is 100% truthful while revealing nothing. If they want to call you in and argue the definition of "possess", they'll need to specifically ask you if you "own" a gun, which I'm certain they won't be willing to do, which means you can probably go home.
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Old March 4, 2014, 03:40 PM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDandy
As has been mentioned, answering the question is compulsory. Couldn't that, in theory, make you an Agent Of The State?...
Sigh, more of your wild guesses. A wiretap is a "search." But cite me a case in which asking a question is a "search." And even though these questions are being asked by the court, obviously governmental authority, so what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDandy
...If the person were a prohibited person, it would most certainly be a 5th amendment violation wouldn't it? HAYNES v. UNITED STATES, 390 U.S. 85 (1968)...
In which case one can invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege.
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Old March 4, 2014, 03:47 PM   #19
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I'm working strictly from memory here, but I'd nonetheless like to reiterate one key issue from Haynes that distinguishes it from what's going on in the OP's case. In Haynes, Texas had mandatory gun registration (yes, gasp, Texas of all places . . . . ), and tried to prosecute Haynes for failing to register his gun. As Haynes was already a prohibited person, the requirement that he register a gun is what was held to violate his A5 rights, because the registration process required him to admit to a crime under penalty of perjury (IIRC), that of firearms possession.

Compare to the issue here: Assuming that the OP is not a prohibited person, & I have no reason to believe that he is prohibited, then asking him to admit that he owns a gun does not violate his A5 rights. He may not like the question, but it's not a Fourth Amendment violation (it's not a search or a seizure), and it's not a Fifth Amendment violation (unless it asks that he admit to the commission of a crime under penalty of perjury).
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:02 PM   #20
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Notice they didn't ask how many guns, and they only asked you to describe one gun in particular (your choice.) Surely you have *one* that is not "scary" and the state already knows about if they think about it -- or is so nonthreatening nobody cares. (like Grandpa's old singleshot .22 with a broken firing pin)
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:05 PM   #21
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If the question thing is OKAY then why did the Constitution have to include that Congress shall have the power to take a census? It had to be in the Constitution because otherwise the citizen could tell the government it is none of their business how many people dwell at a certain residence. Now that is not a crimminal situation yet it still had to be included in the Constitution. In the kind of country I want to live in the government can't go around asking you questions without cause.
Let's say you are on a jury call and in seating the jury in a drunk driving case one lawyer asks a potential juror if they have ever been arrested for drunk driving- fine, fair question.
What about, Are you a Jew?
Are you gay?
What's that have to do with a case involving a drunk driver?
What if the party entrusted with calling jurors says, "oh I just want to know who is a Jew, or gay, or owns a gun IN CASE we have a trial where that might be relevant". Does that make the questions okay?
This is how I see it, it is not up to a court to ask such questions in choosing jurors, jurors ought to picked at ramdon. It is up to the two lawyers to opt for their allotted rejections, etc.
AND, as I said. No one complains any more. What I say isn't the way it works these days- I'm aware of that. I was on a drunk drinking case a few years ago and the judge gave his final instructions to the jury as to what evidence we could or could not consider, on what points we had to base our decision, etc. When we got into the jury room most of us (myself included- I'm ashamed to admit) just started doing as instructed. An elderly man, of minority race, piped up and put our minds right. "We are the JURY we can do anything we want to do". Amen. It took a person of minority race to get my mind right- thank you.
I'm not kidding on the ACLU- I know they are liberal and such but I'd run the thing by them and ask them if questions on gun ownership are okay. If such questions are okay today then what will be okay in the future? I'm no lawyer but it certainly seems wrong to me.
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:18 PM   #22
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I fail to see how, if I am compelled under the law to answer a question which reveals what I have in my home, that doesn't constitute a search (by proxy). Which compelled answer has required me to perform the search for them.

Best,

Will
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
If the question thing is OKAY then why did the Constitution have to include that Congress shall have the power to take a census? It had to be in the Constitution because otherwise the citizen could tell the government it is none of their business how many people dwell at a certain residence. Now that is not a crimminal situation yet it still had to be included in the Constitution.
And exactly how is this relevant to screening of potential jurors?
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
In the kind of country I want to live in the government can't go around asking you questions without cause.
Perhaps, but your statements about the A4 protecting us against "unwarranted questions," as opposed to "unreasonable searches" is still incorrect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
Let's say you are on a jury call and in seating the jury in a drunk driving case one lawyer asks a potential juror if they have ever been arrested for drunk driving- fine, fair question.
What about, Are you a Jew?
Are you gay?
What's that have to do with a case involving a drunk driver?
What if the party entrusted with calling jurors says, "oh I just want to know who is a Jew, or gay, or owns a gun IN CASE we have a trial where that might be relevant". Does that make the questions okay?
And perhaps the court has a docket loaded with cases which might make the question of gun ownership a relevant question. We don't know one way or the other.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
This is how I see it, it is not up to a court to ask such questions in choosing jurors, jurors ought to picked at ramdon. It is up to the two lawyers to opt for their allotted rejections, etc.
Many judges have their own screening processes, and those processes are often based on the judge having practiced law for some years. As a result, the judge can often guess at many of the questions the lawyers would ask. I've had a potential juror excused without any input from myself or opposing counsel. (Which was actually OK, because one of us undoubtedly would have excused her immediately, anyway.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
. . . . If such questions are okay today then what will be okay in the future? I'm no lawyer but it certainly seems wrong to me.
There can be many differences between what one of us finds "wrong" or "objectionable," and "unconstitutional."
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psyfly
I fail to see how, if I am compelled under the law to answer a question which reveals what I have in my home, that doesn't constitute a search (by proxy)...
Find us a federal court of appeals that agrees with you. And the Fourth Amendment does not protect us against all searches -- only unreasonable ones.
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Old March 4, 2014, 04:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
But cite me a case in which asking a question is a "search."
Well I'd certainly like to, but
Quote:
Sigh, more of your wild guesses.
takes something out of the asking questions and getting answers process. But if I were to do so, I'd probably start with the exclusionary rule stems from 4th amendment case law, and that it applies to coerced confessions, and follow that up with some research into the origins of the rule, Miranda, and coerced confessions in general on the off chance I'll find a case (either win or loss for the fourth amendment) that says the answers to questions are evidence, and evidence is seized

As for Spats, I was only linked Haynes to as a cite for the the 5th Amendment tangent.
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