Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Off-Topic: Jury Duty

I had Jury Duty yesterday and just like my last trip, I got picked to be voir dired for a jury. And like last time, I was not picked. But at least they seated a jury this time. I really have come out of Jury Duty even more pessimistic about our courts than before. It seems to me that they tend to choose people who are not very aware of what is going on.

Those people who answer questions in any kind of thoughtful way are almost certainly not going to get to be on a jury. I learned this my first go-around. I got so good at learning the rhythm of all of this that I was able to pick 4 of the 6 people who got chosen for the jury, out of a pool of thirty. Almost all of those were pretty much completely unaware of anything that was going on. Their answers didn't show much thoughtfulness and they just didn't strike me as very 'sharp'. I am NOT accusing them of being unintelligent, but just kind of not present or attentive.

An example of this was when the defense asked whether or not any of us had been in any way affected by drunk driving. In my experience, almost every person has been affected by DUI in some way. They have been hit by a drunk driver, know someone hurt or killed by one, or know someone who has been arrested for drunk driving. Yet only 6 out of 30 people raised their hands when this question was asked. This seems ridiculous to me. I don't think the rest of the people were liars (though some may not have wanted to air their personal business in public, which is the worst part of the voir dire process), I just think they didn't really think about what it means to be affected by DUI. I find it all but impossible to think that only 6 out of the 30 were truly affected by it.

Jury Duty is a pretty rough process, from what I've seen. It is boring, and there is this wall between you and the people around you. Almost everyone is in a bad mood...it just isn't very comfortable. To then be questioned for hours or days without actually accomplishing anything is off-putting. I truly, deeply wish I could be one of those people who gets out of it, but I can't because it would make me a supreme hypocrite. I can't preach about duty and obligation and turn around and shirk it when it is hard for me. But I'm just a person, just a regular guy, and I sure wish I could. 

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