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Monday, October 10, 2005

Jury duty

I've been summonsed to be a juror on the 7th November, just 4 weeks from now, at the Wellington High Court. This should be fun, as I've always wondered when it would be my time as a juror.

I've been reading about it since Saturday, of course, when I received the summons, and I've found that most people don't want to be a juror and do their utmost to get out of it. There are even jokes that jurors aren't actually average members of the community, but instead are those who are too stupid to find ways of avoiding it. Is it a measure of stupidity to WANT to be a juror? Is a person who is interested in being part of a community service a stupid person?

I tend to think of jury duty as a position of responsibility. A juror is representing their community, and the administration of justice within it. Since I have reasonably strong ideas about justice myself, I think it's going to be an interesting time for me.

That's if I get selected, of course.

If I do, I imagine that I'm going to have a very interesting time holding my tongue on occasions, where I'll want to call out to the prosecution, "What kind of stupid idiot are you," or to the defence, "How about asking the most obvious question here!"

The worst part for me will be an entire day sitting in one spot, without a computer! That'll be, like, suffering a handicap - losing a limb or something as horrible as that. I'll be taking the laptop for those times when I'll have an opportunity to reconnect with reality via wi-fi (if I can pick it up from in the court - or at a nearby Starbucks during lunch hour). I'll take a book for the boring moments - they recommend that.

They'll supply a notebook and pen (you know, the paper notebooks. Yeh, I know... how quaint, hey?), which I'll use to keep notes on the case as it unfolds, to help me remember stuff and make my final decision. I'll also be using it to record interesting or humourous moments for my blog, but I probably won't be able to write about it until after the case is finished. Hopefully there'll be an interesting story to write.

Again, if I get selected as a juror.

Everyone who I've told about the summons to be a juror has given me advice on how to get out of it, ranging from dressing in a business suit to wearing a swastika-covered t-shirt. No one has said, "Cool!" Makes me wonder if I'm the stupid one, or if I'm instead the only one with a sense of responsibility...


Posted on 10/10/2005 02:52:00 PM Backlinks

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Anonymous lee pletzers said...

I want to be a juror. ten years ago I was ordered to go to the Christchurch High Court but I was leaving two weeks later to visit Japan, so it was easy to get out of it, though I didn't want to.

Also my friends were all negative about it as well.

Tell us if it is like the movies: mob warnings, horse heads in your bed, you know stuff like that.

10/10/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chancelucky said...

My last time for jury duty in the United States was about 4 months ago. Somehow, I've never actually wound up serving on a jury, but the case wound up being a complicated matter of a three time sex offender who had finished his jail time and didn't want to come in for mandatory "testing" "counseling".
The amazing thing was the man's attorney asked prospective juror if they or any member of their family had ever been the victim or involved in a violent or sexual crime. About a third of the prospective jurors had. This did include any member of one's family, but it was sobering.

10/11/2005 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog, Alan. I concur that most people just assume that a person should try to get excused from jury duty. I also agree with you that it SHOULD be seen as a chance to participate in the legal process (however dull or exciting it may be in the end).

10/14/2005 04:02:00 AM  

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