Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jury Duty

For the last two days, I have honored my responsibility as a citizen and served on a jury. Although somewhat inconvenient to be summoned, the whole process is quite interesting. From jury selection, to the trial, to jury deliberation, it was a memorable experience to be a part of our justice system at work.

I have many thoughts from the experience so I will just share a couple.

One thing that I found interesting is the whole idea that average citizens have a say in the outcome of the rule of law in our society. It is interesting to think that any of us can be chosen to represent our justice system in such a way that can decide criminal cases and civil cases. This is not only a responsibility, but also a privilege. People from all walks of life are trusted with this duty.
For example, on the 12 member jury that I was on, there were: women and men (mostly women), people of a number of races (5 Hispanic, 2 Black, 5 white), a number of social or economic classes (including a convicted felon on house arrest currently), and many other sub categories.

Another thing that I found interesting is the whole jury deliberation concept. The idea of getting twelve complete strangers into a room to reach a consensus is quite a feat by itself. It takes communication. (talking and listening) It takes courtesy. It takes compromise. In some ways, it is a good place to practice community.

I am thankful for the experience and the people that I met along the way.

What do you think about the jury system? Should the average citizen be given so much say in the outcomes of the enforcement of our laws?


Aaron said...

What's up man! This was my first time visiting your blog. I think you always have really good stuff to say so I thought I would check your blog out. I really enjoyed your posts and look forward to engaging with you on your blog.

Anyway I do have a question about the jury duty thing. Do you mean to tell me that a convicted felon can be a part of a jury?

This brings me much hope it this is the case! You see I have always wanted to be a part of a jury and always thought I couldn't because of my past. I am a convicted felon and it was in prison that the Lord found me and opened my eyes to the gospel. That's a whole "nother" story.

Anyways let me know if he really was a convicted felon or was he just awaiting trial (hence the house arrest) or was he actually a convicted felon. If this isn't a typo I am signing up bro!

All though I personally have had a bad history in court rooms. Hmmm... Maybe I should wait a while before I sign up but never the less this is good news indeed.

I appreciate you KG,


KG said...

Welcome bro to my little spot in the blog world. I must say that I have enjoyed your thoughts as well and took the liberty of adding you to my blogroll. I hope that we have the privilege of meeting someday outside the virtual world.

So about your question? I don't know all of the information, but I will tell you what I do know.
The lady on our jury was a convicted felon. She told the judge this. I don't remember him ever asking what her crime was. She is currently on house arrest and had the ankle moniter to prove it. She couldn't believe she was chosen either. She said that her PO was shocked to hear that she had been chosen.

Of course, let's put this all in context. We live in Chicago where our ex governor is a convicted felon and serving time in federal prison. Our current governor is very closely connected with Tony Rezko who is currently in court and will probably become a convicted felon. This may lead to our governor being indicted.
So people of high position around here are convicted felons. She is in good company.

You would probably enjoy jury duty if ever given the opportunity. It can be inconvenient since you don't get to do it on your schedule, but it is quite a unique experience.

So that's whats up. I will see you around.

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