last month I got my first ever jury summons! upfront the only info they provide is →
“hey show up at this courthouse at the ungodly hour of 8AM and be dressed respectfully for court”
4 years into remote working, for me, this has turned into a MONUMENTAL ask.
pants? brushed hair? getting my tired ass to a specific point in time-space? ughhhh
and while I’m more of a “spirit of the law” person, I uh, don’t think its wise to dodge this particular civic duty
so down I went to the courthouse along with ~39 others and we waited and waited and waited and waited. for my inattentive ADHD brain that kind of situation activates every restless nerve in my body.
not knowing when there would be a break, if/when we could leave the building, how long the day would be take me right back to being a 7 year old asking “are we there yet” on a roadtrip
except it was a court of law and that wasn’t really allowed so I crocheted up a storm.
lo and behold I was selected to be a juror and then we were 14.
i have only been in a courtroom one other time when I was very little and similarly had to stay quiet and observe and didn’t know all the rules. it resulted in someone I love very much having to take accountability and that was that. so idk thanks jury duty for unrepressing a memory? lol.
back to this case though → it felt kind of odd to be selected as a plebe to “judge” and make life altering decisions for strangers.
the more I thought about it as the case proceeded, the more I suppose I would rather have a group of peers come to a decision versus like some special fancy powerful king or something so idk.
the thing with that though I feel like for all the talk of objectivity and stuff, it boils down to human perception, emotions, an ability to read the room, and a level of self-awareness on the part of the plaintiff/defendant/lawyers
jury’s out on juries because isn’t it dependent on the values and biases your community holds? what if you were the odd duck of your community? it got me thinking…
PS the UN is fond of the jury concept - Article 10 of their version of human rights states: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
…thinking how much I really do not want to be judged by 14 fellow citizens because i am faaaaaaaar from the perfect plaintiff
(i mean no one is really we’re all human right?)
if you had to get up in front of a bunch of people and recap a snapshot of time of your life how would that go? are you sympathetic enough? do you live in an area where your values and the communities align?
in the end I was selected as an ALTERNATE so I didn’t even get to the juicy deliberation which I’m not *that* upset about. Mostly I wanted to make sure the two younger women of the group were going to be able to voice their opinion but I have a feeling my bestie juror #3 was on the lookout.
idk juries and our courts are another borked system that needs fixing but also its what we have so we’ve got to make it work? mostly I appreciated the chance to participate and meet other folks in the community and get see an IRL trial.