A major "Don't" when you get called to Jury Duty
Jury Duty is serious stuff. Everyone tends to moan and groan about “Jury Duty “ or “Jury Service”, when the notice comes and you have to comeback from a trip or take a day off of work to grudgingly say “I’ve got Jury Duty”. Well, yes you do. We all hate it for one reason or another. But, you know you still have to do it.
There is a process that you go through, or a processing I should say. It’s also more involved than just raising your hand when they call your name. You get shuffled around asked questions, taken into room upon room until the lawyers decide if they want you or not for they’re jury. Essentially you are at the whim of the courts until you are relieved and in some states given a certificate that relinquishes your duty for the following 3 years. Again, serious stuff, you have to get permission to not participate in jury service, and that permission from the court.
We are one of the few countries in the world that provides a trial with a jury of your peers to bring judgment of sentencing. We are also one of the few countries in the world that allows women on juries. Yet, still we complain, because it’s an inconvenience to our busy lives.
So, how serious is this civic duty? Well, let me tell you a story of how serious this is. This is a true story.
For the sake of protecting the innocent, or the guilty, I will change names.
One day the mailbox holds a jury summons, asking for Sue to appear in court for jury service. She plans to appear on the scheduled date and time to be ready when her name is called, and raise her hand and say “here”. That should be the end of it. “My service is complete”, thinks Sue.
Well, Sue slips out and leaves the courthouse after her name is called, only to get a call later the same day, from the court, asking where she is? To wit, she claims that “I didn’t have Jury duty today”. They hang up from each other, and the court proceeds to try and locate the missing juror, that had raised her hand earlier.
To what length will the court go to locate a juror? That’s a good question. Will they pull surveillance footage to put a face with the name during roll call? Yes, yes they will. Will they use the law enforcement data base and pull a driver’s license photo to verify the juror’s identity? Yes, yes they will. Will the Judge personally call the juror on the phone? Yes, yes he will. Will the Judge be angry that he was lied to? Yes, yes he will be. Will the judge inform the juror that if the juror doesn’t appear the following day that the juror will be held in contempt of court? Why yes, yes he will.
Are you appalled yet? Think this is serious stuff? Wait, there’s more…
The next day, after a rather passionate and loud, reprimand, Sue is fined $1000.00, given 500 hours of community service, and 5 years of probation. That’s a serious punishment; and it wasn’t for failing to appear, she didn’t stay. She did appear, but skipped out. It was for not taking the responsibility of jury duty seriously.
Was it worth it to sit there for one or two days of inconvenience? Was it worth it? Was it worth it to skip out on your responsibility to have lunch with a friend? That ultimately cost her over $1000.00 dollars. Was it worth it to save a few hours of your oh so,valueable time? Which you now have to spend with a probation officer? Was it worth 500 plus hours of your charitable time, as well as tarnishing a clean criminal record for five years? Was it worth it?
Was it worth it? Lets ask Sue.