If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked, “How can I get out of jury duty?” I would have a lot of dollars. Maybe six-month’s worth of Starbucks purchases.
The task of jury duty is well despised. Indeed, when I reported this morning to swim in a jury pool of about 200, at least a quarter of them were kvetching.
Since I got my jury summons about three weeks ago, I have been looking forward to it! Granted, I no longer have small children at home and I am between jobs so time is only a minor factor. When I was homeschooling the kiddos full-time it would have been an extreme hardship. Now, it sounded like an adventure.
True, the waiting around time is dreadful. But you are not summoned to be entertained. Bring lots of things to do with you and you won’t resent the time incursion quite so much. Just this morning:
1. I finished reading my first Vince Flynn novel: Pursuit of Honor;
2. Completed two hours of my required legal continuing education by watching videos on my computer;
3. Got my email box under control;
4. Sketched out some design sketches for my website; and
5. Read half of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk.
I did get called to get questioned for a six person jury on a car accident case. When the lawyers discovered my husband was police chief, I got excused. They didn’t even get around to the fact that I am an attorney! In fact I was in front of the same judge with a case for a client last week. I’m not sure what this says about the relative bias of police officers and lawyers, but I’m sure it says something.
Has today been a waste? Today has been a privilege. Why?
If your conduct was questioned in some other legal system, you might be simply shot, fed to hungry dogs, have bodily appendages cut off not excluding heads, or rot in a god-forsaken prison for decades.
The very things that annoy us about our legal system are also the things that make it exceptional.
The pivotal idea of affording someone a TRIAL is inconvenient. It requires a tremendous amount of resources from paying to heat the building to paying the salaries of all the players in the courtroom.
Preserving your rights and ensuring your liberty is a messy business. But it is part of the trusted form of government that we have been blessed with via the Sixth (criminal juries) and Seventh (civil juries) Amendments.
Those rights are only preserved when citizens step up to the plate to perform their civic duty of jury service. Without a willing citizenry, this incomparable system does not function.
How, therefore, can you complain about jury service?
Most of us are unhappy with the government intrusion into our privacy, our healthcare and our pocketbooks. The executive decrees and governing by Tweeting we are currently experiencing concern all of us. The times and its politics are hacking away at the wall that protects us from our government – the US Constitution.
But I believe we are headed for an awakening. It is a complacent citizenry that has led to an unwatched government out of control. We are starting to wake up to the damage done by the attempt to fundamentally change America. We are waking up and we are pissed.
What are we left with? The imperfect, perfect form of government provided in the United States Constitution. In the end, it is that masterful document that will be responsible for restoring sanity and greatness to America.
Got a jury summons? Quit bitching and go serve. Your involvement keeps that wall of protection strong.