04 April 2005

Jury Duty

I have never had to do jury duty. I was called once, but I was in the Middle East at the time, so I couldn't do it. But I am concerned that jury duty is seen as something you try to get out of. Now, I mostly associate with women who are taking care of children, but I think that most people are not comfortable with leaving either their children or their job for possibly an extended period of time.

When you hear about jury duty, don't you think of the awful stories you've heard of people being stuck there for months at a time? The summons comes in the mail and you're sure that if you can't figure out a way to get out of it that it will ruin 1) your job 2) your children and/or 3)your life. However people serve on juries nearly every day and survive quite happily.

Clearly there needs to be reform in the jury system. Jury duty is important. I assure you that if you were being tried for something, you would want a good jury, a jury of your peers.

I've always thought it interesting and appropriate that jury duty is tied to voting rights. Jury duty rarely takes more than a few days (and when I say rarely, I mean almost never). I'm a dedicated mother, but I am sure that my children would be fine for a few days without me.

I have been working hard to change my perceptions of jury duty. I haven't gotten that summons yet, and it's likely I won't before we leave, but if it comes, I hope that I can look at it as something worth doing, not something to get out of.

2 comments:

chronicler said...

I agree that the jusry system needs to be reformed. The reason I cringe at participating in juries is the extent of crime one must "view". We are currently trying a man accused of raping and murdering a 5 year old girl in my county. I am so glad I was not called to participate in the process. It is difficult to imagine the types of photos the jury members will have to view and endure for the rest of their lives.

While I don't think all trials are as gruesome, the thought of having to view something I have chosen to avoid would be a challenge.

Amira said...

I also wouldn't want to be part of a jury in a trial that brought up awful things. But what if all the people who were bothered by such things refused to sit on the jury?

I suppose all I can do is hope that doesn't happen, and if it does, to not let it affect me too much, because I think it would be important to sit on that jury.