Monday, October 19, 2009

Jury Duty

I was called to jury duty today, Even though I find it to be horribly inconvenient and an all around pain in the ass for the potential jurors, I do believe that everybody deserves a jury made up of intelligent people who will seriously consider the facts in the case. If I were on trial, I wouldn't want a jury made of people who were just too stupid to get out of jury duty. The right to a jury trial is a fundamental civil right guaranteed by the United States Constitution. So, yes, it's our civic duty as US Citizens to report for jury duty. It's a small price to pay for having the right to a trial by jury.

Still, couldn't they do something to make the whole process a little less tedious? Sitting around waiting to get your turn in front of the attorneys is one step above waiting around for your turn in the dentist's chair. At least, at my dentist's office, I can sit in a room that has some sort of news program playing on a television. Increasingly, courts are not allowing people to bring in any electronic devices that might be capable of recording voice and/or video, so using my iPod to tap out some blog entries was not an option. I decided to do some reading while I passed the time.

In the end, I was quickly released from service and went about my merry way, content that they wouldn't be calling me back during my assigned two week availability cycle.

This reminds me of the first time I was ever called to serve. I had just graduated from college and was working as a C++ programmer for an insurance company. Not even a month into my job, I got called to Daley Plaza. I had been given a lot of outlandish advice on how to get out of having to serve on a jury. Someone even suggested I show up dressed as Barney, but purple just isn't my color. The first person called indicated to the judge that the defendant "looks guilty". After insisting several times to the judge that he could not be impartial, the judge excused him from the jury, but ordered him to remain in the audience until the jury had been picked. It was 8:45am. The poor guy was stuck there until 5:00pm and had to watch as everyone with legitimate dismissals were allowed to go home.

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