Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jury Duty or Jury Doody?

I watched a portion of jury selection Monday morning for a child abuse / child neglect case. I don't know the details of the case (other than it was expected to be a 2-day trial). What struck me was how many of the panel of 20 prospective jurors made excuses about what a hardship it would be to serve.

I understand that the courts only pay $15/day for jury duty (you do get free parking though). That basically covers your lunch and the gas it took to drive to downtown. And I realize that times are tough economically. If you have a job, you want to be there to earn money to pay your rent and buy food for your family.

I couldn't stop thinking about the victim in this case. How is justice for that child going to be served if the citizens of our community don't see their responsibility to serve as jurors as a privilege rather than a burden? And why do so many employers not consider paying their employees for the time they spend serving our community?

I know that jury duty is an inconvenience to most of us. But serving our country is rarely "convenient." Just think about all the men and women who have died to create and perpetuate our way of life. A strong court system is crucial to our nation's ability to provide justice for all.

Don't tell me you can't be bothered to do your duty. And don't complain the next time a violent offender isn't held accountable by "The System."

Because justice doesn't just happen.

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