gavel.jpgMost people consider jury duty an incredible hassle; something they try to avoid at all costs. The aversion is high enough to warrant distaste for courthouses in general, but what if you work at one, defending those accused of crimes? And then, if you are chosen as a juror on a San Francisco murder case, is that conflict of interest or a new form of job training?

According to SFGate, public defender defense lawyer (thanks, TK!) Tony Tamburello will be in that exact position. The slaying, which occurred on May 8, 2009, is said to have occurred when the defendant, Mikel Harris, allegedly “cut” Andre Fluker out of “reflex” after Fluker had slapped him. The struggle occurred while Fluker was retrieving property he had stored at Harris’ Turk Street apartment.

Despite the severity of the crime and Tamburello’s legal expertise as a defender, many see no problem in Tamburello’s task as juror. Tamburello believes he’ll be fair and SF DA’s office spokeswoman Erica Derryck noted that all seated jurors expressed the same fairness and impartiality about their skills as well.

Although there are many ways to get out of jury duty, apparently being in a legal-minded profession isn’t one of them. Regardless of unbiasedness, with Tamburello’s experience and the odd occurrence of his serving on the jury of a murder trial, do you think his presence will help or hinder the defendant’s case?

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Eve Batey

    April, like I already told you, at first I thought “oh yeah I’d love that!” but then, as I thought about it more, I wondered if a seasoned defense lawyer would be able to see through my lawyer’s machinations (in this scenario, I think I am guilty, which is odd!) and would actually be less likely to consider my innocence. I am torn!

  • Akit

    As a recent alternate juror, I was never disclosed if the defense attorney was a public defender or not. Even if the defense disclosed the fact to the jury, that doesn’t sway them because of the people’s right to have a proper defense.

  • Eve Batey

    I think you’re right! But, in this case, the question is about a public defender on the jury deciding the case, not acting as defense!

  • Alex Zepeda

    What the fuck? Can I just point out how screwed up it is that the idea of legal expertise is considered a *bad thing* in a juror? Cause, thanks, it is.

  • TK

    Not to nitpick (well, yes to nitpick), but Tony Tamburello is not a public defender. He’s a private criminal defense attorney. The SF Public Defender’s Office is the defense counsel for this case; Tony’s not with that office.

    It makes a little bit of difference. If someone from the SF Pub Def Office is in the jury pool, and another lawyer from the Pub Def is trying the case, the DA would almost certainly ask for the potential juror to be removed. At the very least, the fact that the defense attorney and juror work together and presumably see each other in the office regularly would be enough.

  • Eve Batey

    Thanks, TK. Changed in the story to reflect that.