ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A View From The Jury Box

Updated on September 20, 2009

According to a 2008 Harris poll, jury duty is the one civil obligation most Americans dread and the one most vigorously avoided. Less then half (44%) of the population reports for duty and only 24% of all Americans actually serve.

I just hate the way jury duty disrupts my comfort zone of daily routines. More often then not, it means many tedious hours sitting around with a nagging feeling that I could be making better use of my time. My summons reminds me that my participation is mandatory and it promises $40 a day if I just show up with a measurable heart beat. As a potential juror, I am expected to render a fair and impartial verdict even if one is never actually required.

So, here I am in the county criminal court building after exhausting all of my credible excuses. Once again, I am asked to apply my judgment, wisdom, and accumulated life experiences in the pursuit of justice as defined by the laws of the state and interpreted by the judge sitting front and center in the courtroom.

Surely, there is more to be gained then just $40 a day, a stipend not likely to survive past the end of the month anyway. In the orientation video on day one, Bill Bradley and Diane Sawyer tell me how my role as a juror has improved since the Middle Ages. I am soon convinced there is merit in avoiding any acts likely to lead me to a defendant's table any time soon.

With nothing else to do, I think about the issues I may encounter should I end up on a really serious criminal case. I could find myself in a murder trial involving capital punishment. I wonder if I could reach a verdict that leads to taking the life of a defendant who has been accused of taking the life of someone else. If killing another person is such a heinous act, what is punishment by death? I soon realize that this could turn out to be really heavy-duty duty!

I could probably find some justification for killing under certain circumstances, such as combat. Even killing in self-defense may be justifiable. It may be reasonable, as well as rational, to argue that capital punishment is just an extension of every individual's right of self-defense.

Still, I wonder if it is valid to conclude that someone convicted of murder, standing before the judge in shackles and orange jump suit as the sentence is pronounced, is still a threat to me or to anyone else. One could easily contend that removing the convicted murderer from society for life nullifies any, or all, arguments favoring capital punishment. Then again, what if all the convicted murderers removed from society for life, in fact, outnumber the cells available to confine them? Convicted murderers could return to the streets. All of these possibilites lead me to wonder even more.

At last, I am dismissed after two days of dedicated service. I have earned $80 and have learned a little more about our legal system. More importantly, I have re-affirmed my lifelong goal to avoid being sucked into the legal system except in the role of a juror. I leave the court house with a lot of questions that I would never have asked during my comfortable daily routines. And, by the way, not once did I feel that I could have made better use of my time.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      10 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      This Hub is a pleasure to read! I love the way you confront your feelings and your conscience!

      I have only been summoned once, and was kicked out of the only jury pool for which I was called. I would gladly serve, but waiting around got boring.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image


      10 years ago from Earth

      I'll be honest...I've never answered a jury duty notice. I hate myself for this, absolutely. I have not even written back to tell them "Hey, I can't go, 'cause I have to work to live."

      In truth--I greatly want to join a jury. I want to be a part of the process that is our judicial system. Its not only my right, its one of our profound duties. And I'm a vile creature for shirking it time and time again.




    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)