Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Jury Duty... It really isn't all that bad!
So like most people when I got the letter in the mail saying that I was picked to be in a jury pool I had that moment of oh great, I really don't want to do this. To be honest it wasn't coming at the best time. I would have to report one week after I returned back to work from having surgery. I was pretty sure that this would go over like a lead balloon with my boss also, but what are you going to do?
So Tuesday morning I show up to the jury assembly room a tad late, found a seat, pulled out my book and prepared to be there for a while. With in a few minutes they started calling out numbers and I was in the first group to be called. We were herded like cattle out of the room and upstairs to a large court room. After getting our assigned seats we waited for the lawyers to come in. At this point I wasn't sure what to expect.
After a few minutes the lawters for the prosecution came in, it was a little uncomfortable, they sat in their chairs a stared at us,looked at the seating charts and the stared some more. What do you then? Stare at them back? Look away? I honeslty wasn't sure! After a few minutes of this the lawyer for the defense came in and so did the defendant. This really took me by surprise, I really wasn't prepared for him to be there.
There was a lot of show boating from the lawyers and the same questions asked over and over and over again in 40 different ways. Picking on this person or that person for one reason or another. Finally they let us break for lunch while they picked the jury. I wasn't expecting to be picked but was fascinated by the process so far. There were thirteen of us picked to sit on the jury. Twelve would actually end up serving and one would be an alternate but we wouldn't know who that person was until we were ready to deliberate.
The trial it's self was rather short, and luckily we came to a verdict pretty easily. But the really amazing part was seeing the system at work. We are so very lucky to live in a society that we have the right to a trail by a jury of our peers. So many people do not have that luxury.
I want to encourage people to embrace jury duty if they get called for it. Yes it can be a pain, and yes it can come at the wrong time, but it is part of being a citizen of our great nation. Most people would want the right if they were in the position of needing it so why not take a few days and embrase it.