I have been reminded that freedom isn’t free. I just spent the last 3 days as a potential juror before being released today. I was one person away from being an alternate juror. It was a very close call!
I have never served as part of a jury before. For some reason they don’t want me.
Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful for those who are truly sacrificing and serving for our freedom – the military, police officers, firefighters, along with other civil servants. Serving for 3 days as a potential juror is nothing compared to what these brave men and women do on a daily basis.
Furthermore, I was merely inconvenienced compared to what the two men facing assault and gun charges may face. I hope and pray they receive a fair trial. If they are found guilty, my hope is that they would find help and rehabilitation rather than just punishment.
It dawned on me that I have been thinking and blogging alot about our justice system almost certainly as a subconscious result of this impending time with jury duty.
One final thought: I truly do appreciate our system. In some countries the judge is both the investigator and the decision-maker, and there is no opportunity to have your case heard before your peers. In addition, in some countries the accused has to prove his or her innocence rather than our assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
With all of this said, there has got to be a better way to do this! At least 90% of those there were trying desperately to get out of this obligatory service. It took the attorneys 3 days to decide on a jury because the potential jurors were so anxious to leave. Some seemed to pretend not to understand the “big words” being used. Others claimed they were unable to consider the accused as innocent. One guy went so far as to acknowledge he was prejudiced – right in front of other jurors from the very same ethnic group as the accused! Strangely enough, several of those who actually wanted to be on the jury were dismissed!
With so many fans of CSI and Law and Order, can’t we start by recruiting those who want to serve to be on our juries? Those who receive unlimited days of pay for service (like government employees and teachers) should be given the opportunity to serve once or twice a year – at least! If jury service continues to be an obligation, then businesses should be obligated to pay their employees for serving.
People in the jury pool were complaining that they were imprisoned since we were unable to leave! I did find it ironic that I was reading through Exodus this week. I don’t want any of the plagues to take place in LA (apparently the busiest courts in the world with 10,000 jurors “invited” to serve each day) or to any of those involved, but all week I couldn’t help but hum the song “Let my people go!”