To Escape Or Embrace Jury Duty

Miriam - St. Petersburg, Florida
Entered on November 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: citizenship

I realize that a summons for jury duty is not the most exciting piece of mail one could find in their mailbox, but get real people — there are a lot worse pieces of mail you can find there. I know that it may seem inconvenient for you to have to stop your life for a day or so, but consider the alternatives: one person deciding your guilt, innocence, damages, repayments or, God forbid, your or your family’s future.

I recently received a summons for jury duty for the fourth time. As it is my belief that serving on a jury is part of my civic duty as an American citizen, I notified my employer and showed up as directed. What I experienced next was even more disturbing than the other three times I had previously been summoned.

I found myself sitting in a room full of people, many of them quietly discussing how they would attempt to become exempt from being selected. Sort of a swap meet for jury exemption excuses. After a short time we were shuttled to our perspective courtroom for the selection process to begin. I was amazed, appalled even, to see to what extent some people would be willing to go, to not be chosen. I suppose to some the only time a lie is not a lie is when it is given as an excuse to escape jury duty.

For those of us accepting our responsibility as potential jurors, with the acknowledgment of its significance within our legal system, having to listen to some of the excuses I can only best describe as cruel and unusual punishment. For the legal professionals who have to hear a similar myriad of these excuses each time they go to court, I can only say, “No wonder you charge what you do!” It was so pathetic!

Now, I am not saying that there was no legitimacy among the excuses. I am sure there was. I am only saying many seemed a bit of a stretch to say the least. And you know who you are!

We seem to forget what a luxury it is to have such a fair legal process. Or do we only want to acknowledge that when it is to our benefit. I am not positive but I would give a fair wager that the same people who try so diligently to escape from the “perils of jury duty” would be the first to riot if the privilege of trial by jury were to disappear. Sorry folks you can’t have it both ways. Might I suggest that you just do your part to help stimulate the economy by doing your civic duty and stop wasting taxpayer’s dollars by clogging up the legal systems time with your feeble excuses! I am sure we could collectively save billions!