Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Justice is Blind, Deaf, and Dumb

The jury duty selection process is flawed and wasteful of everyone's time. God, I wish I could get that day and a half back.

Let me sum it up for you: sit, wait, sit, wait, watch a video, sign your name, stand, walk to another building, sit, and be patronized. As for random selection, give me a break. Pick 12 people and nit-pick at them for hours until everybody gets tired, go home, come back, and start again. Sure, you could dismiss the ones you clearly don't trust, but why bother? Why not just ask them the same questions slightly differently for several hours? And then swivel your head and say, "Do you think police officers should have to follow the law?... Does anyone *disagree* with that?"

Oh and while we're at it, our time isn't nearly as important as the judge's time, so let's base our schedules around his, extending the trial by an extra few days over a holiday weekend. I can't remember the last time anything ever made me so angry. My tentative reporting date was May 18, but I kept calling and they kept telling me to call back the next night until finally I'm told to report on May 23, knowing I'm going on vacation the next week. So on May 23, I find out that my vacation goes through the same time as the trial, but instead of being able to ask straight out for my jury duty to be deferred, I have to sit and sit and wait and come back the next day and overall disrupt my life because of the bureaucratic process. The reason I didn't initially ask for a deferment was 1) if I'd been called the day I'd been scheduled, there would have been no conflict 2) the trial is scheduled to take five days because it was extended by the judge's other obligations.

Rage rising. The public defender directed a question to the technically inclined, "Now, I'm not a *math* person, but I ask this of all the analytical people in the jury box. Are you going to hold me to *higher* standards because you've got to dot all your I's before making a decision..." I wanted to jump from my seat and run screaming from the room.

Here's an idea. A real jury would be a random statistical sampling of the population. Nobody's impartial, we've all got opinions about everything, it's just a question of whether or not you say what they want to hear. It's a stupid job interview. You know exactly what you're supposed to say.

Here's another idea. Let us sign up for slots of jury duty time. Or at least have blackout dates for our vacations so we don't have to go through this crap. A day and a half wasted and all I got was deferred. That means I've got to go back in two months and do it all again. And I'm telling you right now, I have opinions and I judge things and people at face value. You know why? Because I'm human. If what I experienced Monday and Tuesday was representative of the whole process, I'm going to have a tough time doing my duty.

Monday night I got home and ranted to Jer. He said something smart. He said, "That's why it's called Jury DUTY." I said, "But wouldn't it be more fun if it was Jury Super-Happy-Fun-Time?"

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