If you want to get under my skin…ask me how to get out of jury duty. I’ve even lost a friend over it. Or so I think. My family has even taken my wrath for asking me this question. It just about makes my skin crawl.
You see I see this as the ultimate problem with our whole country. This idea that someone else has to waste their time to see justice done. Just not me. I just don’t have the time. But I will continue to criticize the justice system and everything else in this country but take absolutely no time to participate.
Believe me. I am guilty of this also. I’m not saying I am not also a product of this great country and being basically apathetic and uninvolved. This attitude might even be borne out of a certain apathy bred by television and seeing violence and horror but being somehow always removed from it since childhood?
I will say this and I know my attorney friends would agree: the average juror is a lookiloo who happens to either be unemployed or weird since why else would they want to waste time on a jury. But these same friends will tell you that you cannot get a conviction with a dumb juror. Or shall I say you cannot get justice with a dumb jury. Dumb jurors might convict because of some t.v. show they saw at some point in time but they might not even listen to the case in front of them.
I once had a case where a felon was in a car (not his) with a pack of cigarettes containing some meth. He testified he did not know it was there. His testimony opened him up to questioning regarding his prior conviction which showed him to be a known liar. But the jury voted him not guilty saying they needed fingerprints on the cigarette pack. Did they realize that C.S.I. teams do not show up like they do on t.v. for silly small drug cases??? But I digress to make the point that jurors can be super dumb. That’s because you my readers or maybe some of your friends might want to get out of jury duty. And the leftover pickin’s are slim.
I was once asked this question by a doctor. He went on to tell me why jury duty would disrupt his entire schedule. I agreed but I know this family is extremely wealthy and they could sacrifice some time for jury duty. Maybe a one day petty theft case? A quick D.U.I. trial? I told him I really didn’t like to be asked this question. My husband was looking at me with that look: translation of “relax and shut up.” You see, to tell you hot to get out of jury duty, I guess I would be giving you tricks to basically commit a fraud upon the court and I think that’s a big huge ethical no no. And again it makes me nuts.
This same guy went onto talk about why there should be professional jurors in this country. A thought that scares me terribly. Talk about risk of jurors getting paid off. I told him, you know what, if I were sitting there accused for something I want my smart intelligent friend Doctor “so and so” to sit on my jury.
I was trying to get out of the talk gracefully. Really I was. I know I sounded too intense and opinionated (imagine that). I softened my tone. Some weeks later, when my husband and I couldn’t get a parking spot at the airport I joked to my husband that I should’ve asked the same doctor for a handicap placard and we would’ve had a spot. My husband got the joke which was basically you asked me how to be above the law and it’s sort of like me asking you to be above the law so I can illegally use your doctoring and your license and your degree to get me out of a parking issue. It was supposed to poke fun at myself for taking it so seriously. It was supposed to be an analogy and break the ice. It was not supposed to be a friendship deal breaker.
The problem is….when I tried to joke with the friend, she thought I was truly rude. She did not see it to be the same and thought her husbands surgeries and patients were much more important than jury duty. She was mad and pretty much never spoke to me again in the same way. I am pretty sure a judge hearing about a life or death surgery would indeed excuse a doctor from jury duty or ask the potential juror to talk to the courts about when he might be able to schedule some time to sit.
So, I am on a soapbox as to this issue. I think it represests,to me, a larger issue that seems to be prevalent in our country and the theory that the government is the problem. Blame blame blame. It is apparent tha no change will ensue until we change ourselves. It will require the personal taking of responsibility that has become abnormal in our culture. Despite the fact that I am expressing this please know I am not suggesting I am any different or living in a better way. I am simply saying I am increasingly mindful.
And now for your listening pleasure…Jeffrey Gaines’s cover of Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” but not because it is in any way related to this post — other than it might cheer you up after reading this dreary opinionated rant.