Thursday, November 02, 2006

More jury duty!

Day two at the courthouse has been nothing more than more waiting. They're still calling in jurors one by one. I got interviewed right after lunch; as soon as it was over, the stress set in - what if I'm selected to sit on a six-week long trial? The thought of this replacing my routine... An extra eight hours of unpaid work every day... How much will this hurt my bank account? I could work outside trial hours, but that's not fair! I have enough savings to carry me through a lengthy trial, but it's not fair! Then I feel guilty for thinking these things. I'm incredibly privileged to have a job, flexible hours, the ability to work from home, money in the bank, etc., etc. I guess serving as a juror is the least I can do as a service to my city, to other jurors for whom serving would be a greater hardship, and of course to the defendant. That said, I hope I'm not selected, for very selfish reasons.

Then there's the whole thing about deciding innocence or guilt. Weighing the evidence, deciding whether to believe witnesses... I don't feel qualified to do that. I feel too gullible. I feel nervous.

Potential upsides of being a juror - the life experience, the opportunity to learn about our judicial system, and the proximity to the National Gallery. (Today I spent 40 minutes of my lunch hour there.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, the case you're in the pool for is criminal? It's better for a jury of peers in my opinion to be deciding guilt or innocence of a person than one individual who has had the luck of getting a little extra education and an appointment made in part b/c of who he/she knows.

Your work does not pay you for the time you spend on jury duty? That's just wrong. I know plenty of companis don't do that, but the people who usually get caught in that bind are those in unsalaried jobs and oftentimes that has class and economic implications. The people who actually carry out their civic duty, but who can typically least afford it are the ones most harmed. (I've done two jury trials and in each case, the people trying the hardest to get out of jury duty were the so-called "professionals" who viewed their time as too valuable or pressing to have to spend the one - two weeks the trial was estimated to take. Fatheads.)

If I had my way, employers would have to pay a full wage for the days their workers were on jury duty. It's the highest civic privilege and obligation, next to voting, the average person ever gets to perform.