Sunday, October 27, 2013

Going To Court Tomorrow

I got this in the mail a couple of months ago.  And this evening was my first day to call in to see if I need to go in.  I have to be in the jury assembly room at 8am.  The recording said there was free parking and free bus for the first day and free wifi in the jury assembly room. 

From previous jury calls, I know that a lot more people get called than actually serve on the jury.  Last time I wasn't called at all and by the afternoon they said I needn't come back.  In previous times I've been called, but not selected to the jury.  And a few times I've served on a jury. 

From the the US Constitution:

Article III, Section 2

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.  (From Cornell University Law School)

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. (From Cornell University Law School]

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.  (From Cornell University Law School)

Jury duty, like voting, is one of the most basic duties of American citizens.  To the extent that we take this duty seriously and serve with care and fairness, our justice system has a chance of working reasonably well.   I realize there are people who don't want to serve on juries - their lives are busy and they feel they can't take the time.  But if I were the defendant, I'd sure hope that people like me would have filled out their forms and not tried to get out of this remarkable part of our judicial system.

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