“Hey, you ready to do your civic duty, Wolf?”

“I am, but I have been called to duty several times in the past 10 years, and all I have done is show up, sit around, answer questions, and get dismissed.  It seems like an ineffective way of running the justice system.”

“That’s because the lawyers dink around for years, and when they finally get a trial scheduled, they lay their cards on the table, and take a plea bargain.  At the end of the day, the 100 possible jurors, who have missed a day of work, shake their heads, collect their $9 check and go home.”

“And so it goes, every day, of every week, all year long, in every court house in the country.  In the unlikely event of a trial, the lawyers call in more citizens, until they can decide who is suitable to sit on the jury.  I have wondered what it would be like to be a juror in a long trial, sequestered from the rest of the world, not able to watch tv, listen to the news, talk about the trial, and to be cooped up with 11 others who are sworn to silence.   And then, if the verdict is not popular, to be hounded by the press, earmarked as an idiot.”

“Do you think you could be objective in a criminal case, Wolf? How about the death penalty?  Could you sentence someone to that?”

“Hey, I am only scheduled for one day, you idiot. And to top it off, it is April Fool’s day.  I highly doubt I will get appointed to be a juror.  The lawyers will take one look at me in my penguin hat and cougar coat, walking around with my big toe clicking, and they will dismiss my axx before they can say mistrial.”

“Then why bother to show up?”

“I hear that malbec is on sale for $9.  And I plan to stop on my way back home, to spend my civic earnings. ”

“Oh for crazy.”

“Not any crazier than the jury selection process, Minnie.  You know, if the county was smart, they should adopt a new policy. Send out the jury notice, with a bottle of wine.  Have the 100 potential jurors meet at the local pub while the lawyers do their acting out, and I will guarantee you, jury duty will become a coveted and special event.”

“Are you saying that jury duty is not a special event, in our democracy?”

“I am saying that it is our duty to serve, but somehow, the whole process seems ineffective and wasteful, and not exactly something most people welcome. It usually results in a non productive day.”

“I wonder, if you were the defendant, would you feel that way?”

“You had to mention that, didn’t you?  Ok, I get it.  Our system may not be perfect, and we are obligated to step up and do our civic duty, to protect the rights of those who may be guilty and those who may not be guilty.  I hope I do get called on Wednesday, Minnie.  And if I do, I intend to engage my fellow potential jurors in a debate on our justice system.  And I think I will leave my penguin hat at home.”








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