1) real trials move slower than the ones on "Law and Order:, but not as slow as the OJ trial. But yes, there were actual sidebars that had to be conducted away from the jury.
2) If you are charged with a crime, such as an assault, where the prosecutor files a "no-contact order" on you prohibiting you from writing, phoning, seeing, etc the victim of your assault, maybe you shouldn't write her from jail, even if you don't date the letter.
3) You might think leaving the date off the letter will help: you can always claim the jail mailed it late. However, if you say in the first paragraph "Well, it's official- they filed the order in court today, but you can get it lifted if you talk to the judge", your defense attorney will be hard pressed to find a "reasonable doubt" explanation for the charge of "violating a No Contact order".
4) Which sounds like a worse crime: "tampering with a witness", or "4th degree assault"? Incredibly, witness tampering is a felony, and assault 4 is a "gross misdemeanor". This guy was found guilty of both, but I'm thinking that witness tampering, while a felony, isn't a "bad" felony if you're in a 3 strikes situation.
5) as far as witness tampering is concerned, remember that advice I gave you in 3) about writing from jail? well, it's also a bad idea to write "Don't cooperate with the prosecutor" or "remember to stick to the plan of not testifying" in that letter you weren't supposed to be writing anyway (after the NCO was filed). You've just got yourself a felony there, and it's your own damn fault. It doesn't take a USA-PATRIOT act to dig up evidence to incriminate you when you're mailing letters to the person you assaulted.
6) If you use slang in your testimony, please be sure the mostly white, middle class jurors can understand what you mean:
Good: "Crazy bitch be trippin' and started yelling at me and calling me names."
Unclear: "Crazy bitch be trippin' and broke her nose on the wall."
We kind of need to know if crazy bitch tripped on the rug, and doing so, thus broke her nose, or if crazy bitch was trippin' and thus caused you to pop her one to shut her up. Or maybe this is all part of a clever "reasonable doubt" strategy.
7) Jury duty during a presidential election week makes you feel like Super Citizen. Short of joining the militia or running for office, voting and serving on a jury are Civics 101 in action, and if you do them the same day...SCORE! Special irony: convicting someone of a felony likely removes their right to vote for a while.
8) Bring a book. You will have more breaks and down time than you know what to do with. And no, there is no wireless access for your laptop in the Jury room, but that doesn't stop people from trying. Think of Jury Duty as being like an airline flight with no peanuts, stewardesses, or small children kicking your chair. There is the equivalent of the in-flight magazine (ie, the In Styles and Golf Digests previous jurors have left behind for you).
9) Life imitates TV:
Me: If you're a Bailiff, how come you don't have to wear a uniform?
Her: Remember "Night Court"?
Her: Well, I'm "Mac", not "Bull".
However, she didn't wear sweater vests, either.
10) With a start time of 9:30, end time of 4pm, and hour and a half for lunch, jury duty is a way better deal than my real job, especially since my employer pays me the same either way. Although I get to encounter felons at my regular job, too, so I guess that point is moot.