A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The stationery in the jury box

I was in court this afternoon on the motion calendar. There must have been a trial going on later in the afternoon, because the clerk was putting a steno pad and pen in each of the chairs in the jury box.

Like any self-respecting pen-and-paper addict fanatic maniac connoisseur, I had to stretch over the rail to try to see what the jurors were being given to take notes with. Boy, did I try to see.

I managed to make out the steno pad. I'm pretty sure it was a Universal brand steno pad.

The pen was a much bigger challenge. The pens were stuck through the rings of the steno pads. They resembled capped ballpoints, maybe something like a Paper Mate Write Bros. pen, but I really couldn't tell.

Needless to say (I think), this pen and paper combination just wouldn't work for me. So, I got to wondering. If I were in the jury box, would I find the inferior pen and paper so distracting that I couldn't pay attention to the case? Or, maybe it would be good to have inferior pen and paper. I might be able to pay more attention to the case. If I got to jot notes in the jury box all day with one of my favorite fountain pens in something like a Rhodia Webbie, maybe I'd find the writing itself so intoxicating that I'd pay less attention to the case.

Hmmmm . . . maybe I should make questions about stationery preferences part of my voir dire?*
*partial definition of voir dire from dictionary.law.com:
from French "to see to speak," the questioning of prospective jurors by a judge and attorneys in court. Voir dire is used to determine if any juror is biased and/or cannot deal with the issues fairly, or if there is cause not to allow a juror to serve (knowledge of the facts; acquaintanceship with parties, witnesses or attorneys; occupation which might lead to bias; prejudice against the death penalty; or previous experiences such as having been sued in a similar case).



  1. Are jurors allowed to use their own pens? I know the notes on the paper have to remain at the courthouse, but come ON - a decent pen is a MUST. I find I am a much better note taker if I have one of my fountain pens with me.

  2. I can just imagine an appeal because the defense thought that the jury was distracted by nice pens and paper;)

  3. I think that having a really nice pen and paper would make me want to keep my trial notes. If I just had run-of-the-mill dollar-store stationery, I wouldn't mind leaving it all at the courthouse.