The Jury is Not Out, But I Am

It’s SO interesting the reaction you get from people when you tell them you have jury duty! About 80% of the people tell me to make racist comments or to do something that would “get me out of it”… I typically just laugh it off, but today I feel like saying something about it. It truly is our “civic duty”! Honestly, wouldn’t you want the best possible mix of people – a true “jury of your peers” if you had to go to trial? I’m sure you’re thinking, but I would never end up in a situation where I needed a trial. But how do you know that? You might just be someone whom a crime has been committed against. And then FOR SURE you’re going to want a good jury and it’s your constitutional right – it’s OUR constitutional right to have a fair and speedy trial, with a jury of our peers. So why is it that people are so anti-jury duty? I would argue that you’re probably only anti-jury if you’ve never served on one. I served on a criminal trial several years ago and it was one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. I find the whole justice system to be so very interesting. We did convict this person of Robbery, Kidnap for Robbery, Car-jacking, felony possession of a firearm, evading… and one other count. Six counts in all and the trial was pretty quick because the defense didn’t have much of a defense. It did not feel good to convict him, but it really did feel good to take part in the process. The US legal system is a good one.
I will admit that all of the waiting around can be frustrating and a true test of patience and the two days I spent at the San Diego Courthouse yesterday and today really did test mine. It took almost two full days to get into our department and to have the jury fully picked. I was a part of the gallery (not in the group of 24 people selected) and I did not end up on the jury, but I still enjoyed it.
Next time you get your jury notice, go. And the next time someone tells you they have jury duty tell them good luck or have fun, but try not to tell them how to get out of it. You will learn something about how our justice system works, you will be fulfilling your civic duty, and you might even make a friend – I did!
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