"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting O-U-T of Jury Duty…

Reporting for Jury Duty
This past week, I was called by the County Court system to serve on a jury.  I wasn’t happy about it.  I can honestly say this is the busiest I have ever been in my entire life.  Immersed in projects, there is no way I can mentally be present to serve on a jury.  I barely have time to spend with my children who are home from college this summer.  It’s all good.  I’m not complaining.  I am loving life these days!
I have nothing but respect for the basic principles on which our judicial system was founded.  After all, my husband is a Political Science Professor who specializes in the Supreme Court.  I do, however, have reservations about the current jury system.  First of all, I don’t like being told that I have “no choice” that I MUST report for jury service.  That violates my principle of freedom.  Making me do something against my will feels oppressive.  That taxpayer dollars had to be spent to “pay me” to get out of jury duty is a horrible waste of money.  There are plenty of people I know who love serving on juries and get excited receiving the summons and I know of others who just throw it in the trash.  But, at least money isn’t wasted on someone like me who had to go “just to get out of it.”
 I also found it terribly offensive to have to go through armed guards and metal detectors on my way into the jury pool.  I didn’t volunteer to go there…remember…they asked me!  Not sure when they added this little step since I haven’t been called to a jury since 20 + years ago.  I had to sit in a very large room and wait for my name to be called.  They had people line up in the center isle of the room and file into the questioning room one-by-one, like sheep. 
The case that I was questioned to serve on happened seven years ago!  Seriously, what happened to a statue of limitations!  It involved a woman who had an accident and was injured, not seriously, she had quality of life and could work.  The defendant admitted it was his fault and covered all of her medical expenses.  The woman (plaintiff) was seeking additional monies for pain that had she suffered.  It would be my job as a juror to decide if her injuries met the “law” that said she was injured enough to get additional monies.  In addition, it was requested of me to determine if the doctors made her injuries seem worse than they were.  And…did I mention this happened SEVEN years ago!
I sat in a room of 20 plus people and was the only one asking questions.  I felt like it was the “Christine Show.”  I was basically trying to decide if this case was worthy of my time and attention.  Why these two attorneys couldn’t work something out is beyond me.  It seemed odd.  After barraging them with question, I was excused. 
For some reason, there is a fundamental belief that if one doesn’t want to serve on a jury it is “un-American.”  To that I say, “It is un-American not to have a choice.”  Of course, I love my country.  I also love the planet and the universe in which we all live.  Just because I choose not to spend my time on a jury doesn’t mean that I do not carry love in my heart for my country.  My freedom of choice allows me to participate in humanitarian projects where I donate most of my time.  This is where I can be the most effective in the “solution” to the world’s problems.
I hope the jury system improves when I return in six years.  Hopefully, all those frivolous lawsuits will vanish and people will learn how to work things out without taking up the time of others.  I realize this is not feasible all of the time, but our jury system (founded upon brilliance) has turned into a horse and pony show…..

Smiling because I'm done for another six years!

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3 comments:

Debra Markowitz said...

Bravo! Great blog. I've been on jury duty say....4 or 5 times - against my will. The pure frivolousness of the cases makes me crazy. The contractor suing the hammer company because he tripped on the hammer and hurt his knee, the woman with the breast implants who was suing the surgeon because she still wasn't happy after he got them, and why didn't he know she was depressed, and a worker suing a production company because fell on some ice supposedly left overnight by what (in his mind) must certainly have been by the production company even though the weather wasn't cold enough to sustain ice overnight. We have to stop,people, this is not an honorable way to live. Create, help, grow, do something good for world. Live in a way that brings honor to your life, then they'll need a lot less jurors who do not want to be there.

Mark said...

Then work to change the system.

If that is what we have in place and you don't like how it is set up, then there are avenues in place to institute reform.

I have no doubt that the parties involved have been working for a resolution and there are many reasons for how long it's taken, since a jury trial is the last resort and no one would want it to go that far.

Hey! I'm proud of you for speaking up and asking questions! (as long as you weren't being manipulating just to get out of serving and you were legitimately and honestly questioning the issues!)

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