Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jury Duty

Today I must appear in the Umatilla County Courthouse for jury duty. I am amazed by how many people I've talked to who have offered tips for how I can get out out this obligation. Frankly, I have misgivings about a legal system where a person's fate is decided by 12 people who had nothing better to do or couldn't come up with a credible excuse.

I've served on a Grand Jury before, where I went in every week for about three months to meet with prosecuters and other jurors to review charges from various cases (usually 10-12 each week) to determine whether or not there was sufficient evidence to hold the plaintiff for trial. But the only time I've had to be on a regular jury where I helped decide innocence or guilt was many years ago and that was just traffic court.

I have no idea whether I'll be selected today to be on a seated jury or if I'll get sent home. But I'm open to participating in the process.

Granted, that could throw a monkey wrench into my plans for a long weekend holiday. I'm scheduled to have Wednesday through Friday off from work and have been looking forward to the break for months. Obviously I will have Wednesday off regardless, since that is a holiday so courts will be closed. But I could potentially end up having to go back to court Thursday and Friday. So be it. If it happens, I'll go with no whining. As stated by the Constitutional Rights Foundation: "In the American system of government, power derives from the consent of the governed. That power is expressed in two fundamental institutions: the voting booth and the jury box. " I think it's pretty important that folks take both seriously.

4 comments:

Mimi said...

Take a good book, and enjoy.

papa herman said...

"...Frankly, I have misgivings about a legal system where a person's fate is decided by 12 people who had nothing better to do or couldn't come up with a credible excuse."

Back when I lived in Long Beach I was called to serve on Jury Duty. The company I worked for would pay us to go to Jury Duty and we were still able to keep the stipend and milage money too.

I was glad to go to jury duty, it was better than going to work.

Though these days my feeling has changed, sure I would rather do something else than go to work--but Jury Duty is not the thing.


http://papaherman.wordpress.com/

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thank you for taking your jury duty seriously! If I ever had to go to court, I would hate to think that everyone in the jury box was staring at their watches instead of paying attention to the proceedings.

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

I am glad to know that I am not the only one who takes Jury Duty seriously. I am always the proudest to be an american on the morning after a national election when we all get up and go about our business no matter the result (or lack thereof) with no guns or barricades in the streets - and when I wait with folks from all walks of life in the jury room.

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