Thursday, August 7, 2014

Do You Really Want Me As A Juror?

Today is the date that I was told to report and like any other day during the work week I woke up early, grabbed my stuff and got in the car. Last month I went to pick up the mail and as I flipped through the envelopes one stood out to me. Crap! I got called for jury duty. While many might try to feed you the lines of ‘serving the community’ or ‘supporting the legal system’ I firmly believe that it is a complete waste of time and I shouldn’t be required to burn one of my vacation days to simply fill a seat. Plus I have to drive to Norristown and supposedly park in a temporary lot while the juror parking garage is under construction. This is sounding like it is going to be so much fun!
Hopefully some of my displeasure came across in my answers to the questionnaire that I filled out last week (they should pay me for the time it took to fill out that list of crap). And that was even after I waited and had accepted my fate before filling it out. The interesting thing about most of the questions that they ask is that if you think about them long enough you can honestly answer them yes or no. Here are just a couple of the yes or no questions that can be found on the form:
Do you have any religious, moral, or ethical beliefs that might prevent you from serving as a juror?
When you first read it you think that as a moral, ethical, and grounded person you should check yes but if you put some thought into your response, as I did, I had no choice but to honestly answer no. As a proud Jew (Israeli actually), if someone were to go on trial who is proven to have any kind of tenuous affiliation with a terrorist organization (i.e. Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, etc.) or white supremacist group, regardless of whether or not it has anything to do with the crime, I would immediately assume them to be guilty. Right or wrong that is honestly how I would react. Plus I have a huge gripe with the extreme liberals and hippies in this country so the same type of scenario could play out that way too. Don’t be offended regular non hippie liberals that is not directed at all of you.
In general, would you have any problem following and applying the judge’s instruction on the law?
Well… in general, using the Supreme Court as a means of measurement, I am certain that I would completely disagree with a judge’s instruction on the law about half the time in a number of different kinds of cases. If this were specified as a means of applying the letter of the law to a case I would say no. However, this is specifying the generality of the situation so that I have no other option than to respond with yes. While I am obviously by no means a legal scholar, I have my views and there are numerous laws that I disagree with which could, albeit not guaranteed, influence my ability to serve and follow said instruction. Therefore, in general, I might take issue with certain instructions. Also see the previous question and response because there is the potential that one of the instructions could be to ignore such affiliations that are not pertinent to the case at hand.
While it could have been simply a lack of cases there is a good possibility that my honesty on the questionnaire is why I was not required to report. Instead, I got to go to work and earn the money that gets taxed to hell so that we can have these overburdened and sometimes broken systems in place. But at least I didn’t have to burn a vacation day!