Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Justice System Does Work

The Justice System Does Work

I recently had the experience to be on a jury. I've been called before and never been selected. I will admit that prior to this, I didn't want to be bothered, I was hoping that I'd be sent home just like the other times I've been called. Of course, this time, I got selected.
So I told myself, keep an open mind, let's see how this experience plays out.

I got called on a very interesting case that involved a sexual assault.
It turned out to be quite an eye opening experience.

Here are the bullet points:
  • The system works - nobody in the system tells you as a juror what to do. You are given instructions but your conscience is truly your guide.
  • People rise to the occasion. The video they played for us said just that. It is true.
  • It reaffirmed my faith in democracy. I'm as skeptical a person you will ever meet, this made me proud to see first hand that America is truly a free country.
  • There are, unfortunately, alternate jurors. Ours was a six person panel. There were eight of us on the jury. Guess who was one of the alternates?
  • Even if you do not believe someones testimony, the case must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. This is the essence of  democracy.

Even though I had to sit in another room with another alternate juror and NOT discuss the case, it was a great experience. We could not take part in the deliberations, but we did have a chance to sit with the rest of the jurors after the trial and discuss how they came to a verdict.

People do rise to the occasion, I do remember feeling a real sense of responsibility when I was selected. The rest of the people on the jury were very conscientious and they did a great job on the case.
You do take it serious and if you have any sense of civic pride and duty you will be pleasantly surprised how rewarding an experience this can be.

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