I the Jury

Jury duty.

Two words that create a thousand thoughts .. some positive but most are negative. For many, it means changing your life for a week or whatever. For others, it’s seen as a major inconvenience. But for all of us, it’s the single most important role we will play in our society – next to voting.

I bring this up because I’m serving jury duty this week in Washington county .. and it’s not the first time I have done it. A little more than three years ago, I served on a jury in a child abuse case. I thought because I was in the media, I would not have to serve ( Historically, most reporters are dismissed from juries because they may know more about the case of have some previous knowledge of the issues involved ). However, the prosecuting attorney told me afterwards that I was the perfect juror for her case because it involved children and that my work with young people over the years would make me sympathetic to her case. Sounds reasoning.

We found that persona guilty in that case – and I learned something rather revealing about our legal system: It’s difficult to determine guilt or innocence with incomplete information. Still ,juries must do this everyday: decide a case based on the facts presented and without bias.
This week – I’m on call in Washington county .. and my first day was anything but legal drama. I sat in a room with 50 other prospective jurors waiting for my name to be called – and it was not. It was six hours of sitting around, taking me away from my job and the things I needed to do. However, I understand why I’m asked to do this and, if called to serve on an actual jury this week, I will do my best. The day, however, wasn’t a total loss. I met a number of channel 4 viewers and I was asked to speak at a men’s club in Peters Township.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you happen to get that letter in the mail to serve, don’t look at it as a hassle. Look at it as a chance to do something to make your community better and a chance to make an impact. Just be prepared: While you will see the wheels of justice in motion, those wheelers often move very slowly.


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