Some Thoughts on Jury Duty

Yesterday in the mail I got a summons to jury duty. When I tell any of my friends that I got a summons they usually groan and ask if I can get out of it. I love jury duty. I have wanted to sit on a jury since I first registered to vote at the age of 18. This will be my second time on jury duty, the first being several years ago when I was still employed.

I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors’ of Science degree in Legal Studies. My daughter is a lawyer. I enjoy listening to and reading about trials in general and most aspects of law. I am a nerd. I used to love writing up briefs for homework. I might not be able to write fiction, but I was great at legal briefs. I dreamed of some day being a lawyer. I took the LSAT. So, jury duty is right up my alley.

Last time I went for jury duty I didn’t have to wait long to be picked to go back to be interviewed as a potential juror in a certain case. I was also picked to sit on the jury. I was excited but nervous. My husband had served earlier and had told me some of what to expect.

Our jury got a murder case against a 17-year-old boy for killing another 17-year-old boy. I was surprised to find we were not allowed to take notes since my husband’s judge had encouraged note-taking.

My husband and I took our jury duty seriously and never discussed our cases with each other until the trials were over. It was interesting how different our judges were.

We found the defendant Not Guilty because we felt there was just not enough evidence to convict. After the trial ended, the judge came in to tell us our verdict was wrong. I was stunned. One woman burst into tears. We all told the judge the state hadn’t proven its case…we had to rule that way. The judge was not amused. I hope I don’t get her if I get on a jury this time.

I hope I am picked for a federal case this time, but if not I will be happy to be picked as a juror for any trial.

I think the worst thing about jury duty is waiting to see if you will be assigned a trial. The waiting won’t be bad this time since I can catch up on some audio books on my smart phone app. Technology changes so fast. There weren’t smart phones when I waited last time.

All in all, for me, jury duty is an honor. If I were on trial for anything, whether I had done it or not, I would want a juror like me sitting in the jury box. I know that sounds vain. I just mean I would like to have someone on my jury who is glad to be there.

Here’s to the US justice system, imperfect as it is.

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7 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Jury Duty

  1. I’ve been called a couple of times but never had to serve. Thank god. I hate the very idea of it. Trying to ascertain someone else’s innocence or guilt based on each lawyer’s ability to orate and to listen to evidence that could be horrific is my idea of hell. But I would do it if I had to because I know someone has to and it’s part of society’s way of dealing with crime. I’m glad there are those like yourself who approach it with such a positive outlook and listening ear. I just hope I’m not called.
    One of my son’s was called recently, at 18, to the High Court (rather than the Sheriff Court) which is where more serious cases are held. He didn’t have to serve but I was worried at what he would have to listen to or see if he had been. I don;t feel it’s right to expose young people to unnecessary violence and the seediest side of life. It almost feels as if it’s corrupting them. I think it should be older people who have to serve on the worst cases if only because they have seen more of life. Maybe I’m being too protective but, as much as I’d hate to have to do it, I’d rather it were me than one of my children. My poor husband has been called umpteen times and has another citation sitting on the mantelpiece. And he invariably has to serve. Once as the foreman. I think he thought he was Henry Fonda!
    I hope it all goes well for you.x

    • Yes, I think you are in the norm here. Most people I know don’t want to do it, which I can understand. I never thought of young people being exposed like that. I can see your point. Men of 18 here can go to war, and the voting age is 18, so they can be included in jury selection. In our case I was judging a 17 year old..am I truly his peer? I was glad there was a young person on our jury for her perspective.

      I don’t think you are being over protective, however. I certainly understand wanting to take your child’s place at something that you feel might be damaging. That’s what Moms are for!

      My husband also felt like Henry Fonda when he served on a jury!

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