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.