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?