Paul Gaughan - Comissioner Of Jurors

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, March 18th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with news features and special guests. Now here's your host Tony Wolfgang. Hello everybody. And thank you so much for joining us today on on target my name is penny Wolfgang. And it's really a pleasure for me to be with you every week we try to talk about subjects that we think act into seeing an important. An education for all of us who live here in the US in your community. So all year is almost set a day in a judge and even before that I as a lawyer. One of the most popular subjects for the people of public you with the listeners to talk to me about is jury duty if like how do I get out of it. How I get on his jury. What happens when I'm on a jury. All the questions that you. Ask when you get that dreaded maybe now is in the mail but people have actually said to me. They want to. DN Nigerian names and they never got a notice and so whatever the subject would have been the question is we have somebody I am very friendly with somebody. Who knows all the answers it's one of those the buck stops here deals and can this friend of mine who is our guest today. Is probably would have the most sought after wanted her neck like why did like they wanted posters in the butt. I thought after. Famous well known important people. In Western Europe because he is the commissioner of jurors for 04 is it Western Europe you know Erie county prank theory that everything. And dad his name is South Pole gone. And mr. Klein has been the commissioner for about eight years but prior to that he was an assistant so there's nobody. On the face here is that snow is more answers and could give us so when he comment 101 flight jury duty one no one do you want them then. Commissioner gone so. We thank you so much for coming to share this time with us commissioner thank you know have a busy latter because they'll listen is no because we keep getting those notices. And somebody assist and then very proficient now in the glasses so I don't even have to ask you questions because. People have asked you all these questions for so many years did you probably could do my part and you apart right. Pluto exhibiting good enough they act so let's start with the less than let's say lay people as far as how do you forget. Steve listing names I think that's one of the most common questions I wish you get the names from that people get the notices from the get calls figured. Yes that's estimate. Quite frequently word where did you find me. To get me. Why me our major source. Source list is from New York State income taxes after that. We go to voter registration. Which you almost wish we didn't do because and other some people out there that does choose not to vote because of it. But it's mostly concede Texas social service lists. Things of that nature automobile registration. Been the main thrust is near sitting in Texas it's the list this day's most up to date. I and then now when the people used to say to me. And they thought that they got. That they got it from the social services like people in our receiving social services. Or I think the most common benefits of misconception begin from driver's licenses. To list. I think most of blue find that the most they would say the most common thing is isn't voter registration but we do get from all of those from from. Automobile registration. As you said and social service was sweet we can access all of those things. Now let Reese and we picked names can anybody who isn't on any of those. Lists or. Like he just didn't sit maybe somebody paid doesn't pay taxes because say don't be callers or doesn't vote because they don't be coat and a could something volunteer. Yeah. Yes you can volunteer you can contact our office. You fill out a form and we see that you get into the system and doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to be called but it gets you into the system. Pilots stuck in that deep procedure like step by step what happens you get that trip. You are not you personally invest their office I guess gets the names right. Correct and then use and to some kind of a EF questionnaire. Would we send out a summons that has on an questioner it's all one situation. I'm sorry we've loosened out a questionnaire and then after that you fill the questioner senate secondly that we send your summons. So once you receive that he received the questioner. More than likely didn't in the near future you're going to be. You're going to be called the reason we do that is is that we try to keep those lists up to date also. If you fill out a question there and we don't call you for 56 years it's quite likely you're situation could have changed and we don't see that so we do so not a question there and then you could possibly be summoned in the next couple of years after that. Oh so it's not an 88 when you get the question and that doesn't mean. Next week you getting any jury notice that no it doesn't think he doesn't right. Well we used to let me just explain we used to be one step system where you received your summons and your questionnaire and you were summoned at that point. We no longer do that we do what's called the two step. Process now that is you receive a question there you go into the system and more than likely be called the next couple of years. Kind of thing. And we years doesn't uses and I think Larry can I mean you have to treat so I work tickle me is. But let's say OK we felon is there when you get the questionnaires back to somebody really read them. Some he looks through them or a slew and there's a feeling FE so so is there is somebody and say no I'm not somebody some questions that. When people fill out this questionnaire that he either. That automatically eliminates them. Well. If for instance of somebody puts on their questionnaire that there are certain age in the U they've been also accompanies the question or the doctor's note or some sort. Yeah we'll take a serious look at them probably take them off. But most of the question there is good qualified. And then when you do received the summons them the opportunity than the contact us. If you have any issues for instance medical. Don't think it's changed a lot. In as far as the qualifications go when you said somebody's age I remembered years ago that there was an age. Exemption like after a certain age correct he didn't get called and they or some other. And it is that I was say automatically. It checked if you fill it and you're I don't know what he just for you than it was little sanity pleasant sanity you know so now. It's it's all different right. It's very different we used to many many exemptions one of them was if you were seven you could you could take that. Exemption that we had exemptions for. Police and doctors firemen funeral home. Directors say it was in my area of exemptions however we were aware of the last states in the union to to get away from them in and go away from home during no exemptions at this point. However that doesn't mean that if you have some sort of a serious medical condition. Or something and have a serious nature we will look at that. And and trying to help you out either through postponement or excuse or for a couple of years. Well as far as that goes from. It's the if you did let's say. Com did you did feel and you are are let's say. And I've had prospective jurors since exemptions where. And just generally this that was like eighty. Or how far more. And if if they wanted to be excuse once again there. By the judge for example current period chase that's still a possibility. Anybody that comes in and wants to speak to the drug generally attorneys and and explain to them that they have a particular situation. And then becomes the judge and or attorneys. Responsibility to decide whether they should stay or go at that point. Now let me say judge or attorneys. Maybe we could explain that a little bit well it as you know as you well know in a criminal choruses. The case that's going to be a judge in the civil case that's going to be attorneys that that the prospective jurors perceive so. If they. Build their case in point if someone comes and says just the other day I had a and accident or something in and I am really. And then in a bad way it was not able to reach our office or didn't send us some medical documentation. Then there at that point can exercise and one of their options to have to excuse that your. They being. We attorneys and his awareness that the judge in a criminal careers right. But it's not automatic and she says no it is not on the list. To know when that person and it does get a notice there's a new system. Which I it's pretty new outfits which I don't know if it's better or worse than any ON type. When you in the old days they just could you could explain when you got a jury notices sent. He's that you would get it close and a Monday you know say come next Monday period right that doesn't work that way anymore. Many years ago you used to be called in for two weeks. And you run you're UK had to report it every day for two weeks so we had this large group of people that would sit there and then when they. A judges and attorneys needed. People it would be selected from that. We have changed that drastically to try to make people's lives better and so that now that what you do is your assigned a number. And you call and each night and your trauma services only one week. So few of call I don't Monday night in your numbers 500 and we only go up to 102. Would just tell you call back the next night in the about your business and and makes it easier and more convenient for everyone. We'll would be let's give some examples like how many numbers you would call in ways that depend on. When you send an in jury. When mr. justice. Typically we will summoned. Upwards of a thousand people a week. But after they send back. In a post performance. Excuse olds that thousands of people probably turns into. Let's say 400 people. And when we call from 12000 doesn't have those numbers are pretty necessarily represent a thousand people. What we call 555. Or so that's one of those 400 people so. You call and none of our Friday afternoon to see what your situation is on Monday you know your number. And you know it over the weekend when your report Monday or not and if you do not we would tell you called it Monday night after 6 PM and then you know if you have to report. Tuesday we do that through Thursday and Thursday if we don't tell you report Friday would tell you that you're excused at which point. He grew out of our system elementary years. Second I thought it was seven digitally it's and so Libby did this program because diagnosis but contestant really had a. We try to make his long this policy usually we don't. Yes producers and now you mentioned the way postponement. How how Connecticut. Q. Automatically can take up to a six month postponement. Just by indicating that to us. However if you need a longer period of time you indicate that in and and indicated. From the specifics in a letter. Or call us and we can we can work with people usually have two years' time or so. Just to just tell. Just say you heard the commissioner. And on target talking to penny Wolfgang and he'll testify and you need to Jeremy you know. Now they just let it affect you know what if you will listen to this program today. We hope you listen to on target every week you are going to be glad because I know you didn't know. All of this information about jury duty in a vanity. It's at one time or another does need to know it or somebody in the family you know. LS I've got to go back and so we act talking to the commissioner of jurists Paula gone. A battle leaves jury issues let's go back to. The basic qualifications us back to ask you something simple. What are the basic qualifications to be on a jury or to get a jury knows who I said where did they come from in you mentioned you know of them. Voter registrations the sofa affect other basic qualifications like Timothy Lee isn't AJ is education is still languages there. I don't know what. And the basic. Parameters to be able to serve hundred it is you have to be of the age of eighteen. You have to live in the colony. I can't have any felonies. Are those things. You have to be able to. Understand the language not necessarily even read it just understand it. I was in the basic tenements of being able to serve. To be there is managed yesterday and even though as we said there's now no Max on accident but an age that's us there who makes a well. Let me point out 220. We will have people that will be. You know. Relatively young that we'll send us some medical notre whatever they think they can answer we have very vibrant people with sharks that are in the seventies and eighties. We recently had somebody wanted to serve in the northern ninety's. Come so our job as soon as if to facilitate that. However if you have any issue and all of it tennis I've stated before medical whatever let us know will will work with him. I have two ahead Gerris respect futures strategist I am retired. I'd be glad to serve I'm perfectly science they had to get here took the bus from. When cancerous something how old do you 8687. So you know it's it's good to have should be. A sliding scale our individual decision. Yes of of people have let me point out also that if as you just said I'm retired. Many times were Astro one we just go after retired people or people that don't work or whatever else the New York State Legislature mandates. That we do what's called random selection. And I'm sure everybody else they're listening in would would know someone that's been called two or three times and they've been called two or three times. And their spouse their brother their sister have never been called their neighbors never been called. And that's because we do have to do random selection which means of that. You could be called 234 times in your life and someone else could never be called that is the reason why once you do serve we take to openly for eight years. I should also point out that we are every one. But federal. So if you're called for federal court United States district court that's a whole different situation and you have to do with them on that. And did you have you been meaning that the case and in New York. The quote and quote corruption trial that was going on in recent I think. How many weeks was it in its third month I think if you spend any time we answer and then answer so. I think as a rule you could assure people that but mostly it just happened city court very rarely. Well let me tell let me just touch on that jury duty is basically one day. For the length of one trial I was a point on in our orientation or renew and speak to the jurors. Most trials and Erie county started and then an average our stress the word average one to three days. However is you know we had trials sometimes a little many many weeks they'll give you those parameters and if you have a problem with serving for that length of time. Q if your vocal about it the work was to work around. Right I I ain't always challengers and sure you do too I mean this is not to be punishment this is a privilege. You know we should talk to it that a little bit too I mean people have died for. The right to jury duties in America and its service you're both in our constitutions and only the federal constitution but neither State's correct and so is what the Bullock really a hard justice system. Especially the criminal justice system. That's correct. Right by trial has a right and a great responsibility to people and and you know I did want to testify again. There's a difference between obviously when mentioned federal which we have nothing you know united nothing doing there. In witches have their own rules but as far as state psychosis to different kinds of juries that people can we called serve on. Grand jury right and trouser AG and separate notices and how does that work. We do some separate notices grand jury is three days a week for one month. Where regular trial is as I said before an average of one to three days. Granger is a very interest in terms of service however is a time there's a time commitment. They do give you a schedule so you know what that who knows what's going to come up knowing serving grand jury. We bring in we need to we picked two grand juries a month of torture people age. Humble we will bring in upwards of ninety to a hundred people to get those 46 people. So it. Doesn't mean once you've been summoned and you come in your acts aggressor on the grand jury is sort of random selection in the courtroom and that that particular point. And it's a different responsibility to. What it is and and she explained to this pit this vote as you know grand jury is they think the process of trying to realize whether someone should be indicted or not foreign criminal court case you can actually send someone to jail. And civil cases as well I mean apple there's nothing Dan rather they wouldn't I give her the award should be thankful. Deciding a monetary interact and pilots talk about. Seventeen reasons that people could. Be excused. Whence they are called to be questioned. When and in the light was they would not be eligible to serve low level lawyers or the judge would not want him to serve. Sure. I'm a civil matter for instance some if if the case happens to be a motor company against so and so and you happen to work. Or did work for that mortar company more than likely they're going do exercise that are. There exemptions and and in control out of there a criminal case many times someone knows the actual attorneys involved or may know the defendant involved. All of those things lead to you probably exiting and that that particular case. Went out professions and jobs that people have well certainly if it has something to do with the case. I don't civil matter if it's a medical malpractice or something that a factor in and Europe and Europe a doctor or you're in that profession. More than likely one side of the others not gonna I don't want you on that case and all. Which is why we bring in many more jurors who then is actually needed so that there is a pool of jurors thinking they can discuss that. Well the lawyers and the judges looking for any juror. When he submitting like criterion that they do want to enjoy I want lesser god only knows I had no I think the same thing don't ethnic ties is that Jonas may. That's more your into the gig and I and how I do my job is to make sure that you record virginity after that it's up to them to determine what what those put those travelers are that. Well criteria there in the N. I'm really say I. Well I can't be fair because this is so this you know I can't share because I had an accident over. The insurance currently wouldn't pay me or it or do is certainly impartiality is is so yes I think everyone strives for you know I think there's something. And then. You mentioned. We mentioned I think trying to get a fair and objective jury. So I you trying to get the cross section. Of the community involved. It's it's necessary that when we go to select people to be on. Jury that it is a cross section of the community so we reach out to the entire coney. 22. Get their cross section and and the system is set up that way so that. We have certain. We've we certainly try to attain a proper cross section. Of a jury of your peers. So. Tell us about which I can answer and then the due to. Ask your people are on the Jerry when they're beating grand jury or a child Gerri what what's the usual feedback that you get well. I will say that most people come unwillingly in the news that you are looking forward to the process. However we do have just times when enough people come and screaming and kicking and whatever else. We you'll find that after they go through the process they seem to be very happy about the experience. And they seem to have or have a new appreciation for what the whole. Whole system mess. Yes and I think to any of drew an oasis I can't afford to timer can't do it origin or they dread doing it's an FDA actually are on the jury. It's fun it's one of the most in seeing experiences. Well for what reason and you would know this is well. It's not like and I think teachers have to be told this is really not like and television is just. No not at all it's not anything like. You see on TV and we have an orientation video although we show on the morning and that's particularly pointed out that this is not. Like a CS IA's situation started. Law and order or anything of that nature it's a very different. Experience and. Well I think what they wanted to cannons if you follow these make his. That is that it is is is plus a what a lot of down time a lot of quota quote wasted time. I don't know if anything if that's true anymore I think it was more so in the in the old way that you talked to that when they kind of had to come in sit around until it. Called them must have been a tremendous waste of time for a lot of people but we do try to be make this our situation such that you spend. As limited amount of time sitting and waiting as possible. However that being said as you know sometimes a defendant. Can. Or their attorneys can make a motion. At the last moment and suddenly everything is is his decked out so. We do try to tell people in the morning that you have to be patient we try to give them that time parameters as to what their day looks like. And that's about the best we can do we react immediately to any changes that happen at some. The defendant takes a plea or. It's a case gets adjourned for whatever reasons and all those legal courses the can be taken at the last minute. How we react to that immediately get people out of there as quickly as possible. I'm sure that is a priority so that you know people don't feel it to know what about the most famous question probably. A ball doesn't do they get paid do they get paid for parking do they get paid for lunches they get paid for serving and so forth and so and. Under the auspices of New York State law someone whether it's your employer or costs meaning New York State. Is liable to pay you forty dollars a day for food to be there. Now if your employer decides that they're gonna pay you your full wages or have a different policy that's entirely up to them. But we make sure that someone. Peja minimally four dollars a day to be there. In terms of parking. We've worked out with the buffalo Adam's mark and I and the L all pro parking people over there could reduce street. For downtown which is three dollars a day which you know is extremely. It's great remote and an ace and his city. And and that's that's that. The only time we pay for your lunch or dinner is if you're in deliberations in the judge so orders. Ended the transportation link he took if you took a bus or something you have to pay a new round. Practice it. And you know again those costs due to the parking costs. And transportation cost hopefully our at least somewhat covered by the forty dollars a day when I first started there is eight dollars today. Atlanta thank give that away enact the dragnet and tell you that he is said don't tell health lung and then him talking to laugh at. The commissioner of jurors full guns if you just step. Where what when you realize who I was conversing with here about honesty is there anything that and I didn't and skewed that people want to know Mickey given year. Introductory talk I don't think so I think we've covered it pretty today here guys today cover anything else if anything you listening that we didn't ask him. He's change yes it would if you note to judge him in Canada and reform in the case. Well then more than likely that's the judge rule let you go oh OK yes I yes. OK anything else I can't I can't having to do a top five excuses yeah not gonna do it now everything is just. Come out this bill would just tell me no wheels nobody else well I didn't. We will and we'll tell you this we may we do get some very. Humorous. Notes sent into us some amazing things that are are set on those notes to try to actually get out of jury duty bit. I don't get into the actual details. So we land snow is famous now like a dog ate my homework. Know this agents it's much more different I know between our desire and even when. I was gonna make a list even when I was I guess selecting grand jury is all those years. Sat down people linked city gives reasons why they couldn't serve. And a lot of and we are very humorous look. Now how can people call you like they're like wait a minute not calling you you don't want to try to text your viewing did you text your email you know he is general web site with all this information I guess there's a. Let's say you're jury Decker of yeah and my. Emails straight down there so you can every did go to work there 678 emails from people always we answer them. Immediately and there's also another he email. Address on there which goes to our office and those are answered in there. In a timely matter. Panel thank you so much it just remember are on target you met the commissioner Jerry is so Paula gone it. And you can kind of tell him hey I heard you say. Such and such and that they wouldn't give a good reasons that I would NG due to reasons that work. Never should get ahead I'm not going to be higher. Thanks so much thinks he's doing is saying thank you Larry Dillon target everybody will see you again next week. Have a good week in Dubai everybody. You've been listening to one target with penny Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at Western New York in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions. Please rate depending Wolfgang it's 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.