Thursday, September 2, 2010

Doing my duty.

Over the last two weeks I was on jury duty.  I served two years ago, but only had to show up for one day and nothing happened.  This time it was more interesting.  I drove out to the courthouse 5 times over the two weeks. I was put on two different panels, but the first case ended up taking a plea I never got past filling out a questionnaire.  Being on a panel means you are part of a group of 35-50 people who will be used to select a jury for a trial.  While on my second panel we were questioned by both attorneys in the presence of the judge and the defendant.  In the end, I was not chosen as a juror for the trial, but I was very interested in taking an ethics class.

I really enjoyed the questioning and hearing the views and opinions of the other jurors.  Many questions were asked that I had never thought about before as something that could make a juror impartial.  Some of the questions really made me think about myself and though I knew the proper answer, I had to decide if that was my answer.  I even began to question the selection process itself.  It was curious that the lawyers were the ones to decide who the defendant's peers were from our panel of 35 strangers.  I'm not sure who else would make that choice, but I wondered if the process was being done in the best way possible.

I am curious about how that particular case will turn out and I'd love to be a fly on the wall during juror deliberation, but I'll have to live without knowing.  Perhaps one day I will take an ethics class.