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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Talking to the judge



Like a good citizen, I reported for jury duty. They were picking juries for 4 trials out of a pool of about a 100 people. The second number picked for duty was mine.

The Clerk of the Court had informed us that if we had any issues, the time to speak up was right after your number was picked. The judge had read a long list of things we might want to talk to him about.

As soon as the judge asked if I could serve, I said I had a few reservations. He called me up to talk with him. To be honest, I was pretty nervous. My concern wasn't the normal scheduling conflict or personal connections to people in the case. My potential problem was with the law itself. We were only told the bare bones of the case, but I explained to the judge that I cannot find a man guilty of a law I think is wrong.

“The law is the law,” he said.

I told him it was a matter of freedom and ethics. The odds might actually fairly low that it would become a problem but according to his instructions, now was the time to express concerns.

After a private conference with the lawyers, he excused me from that case and had me rejoin the jury pool.

Later in the day, I was picked for a different case. Perhaps there was a bit of sarcasm in the judge's voice when he asked if I had any objections to serving.

“No your Honor,” I said. It looked like that particular case would not have the same moral peril as the earlier case. As it turned out, the case only lasted a day.

My civic duty is now complete and they won't bother me for at least 3 years. Better yet, my conscience won't bother me because I stuck to my principles.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. Good for you. The judges and lawyers will do their best to convince you otherwise, but I believe there is writing on the books that says that we have the right to find a person innocent if we believe the law is wrong.

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    Replies
    1. It is our right, but they don't like to talk about it.

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  2. Good on you. Being true to yourself is the most important consideration. It's only occasionally one gets to be tested but it's good to stand up and be counted...

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    1. I slept great last night but would not have if I'd kept my mouth shut.

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  3. Was called for jury duty on a murder trial once a long time ago.
    The guy was caught at the scene of the crime. I was asked by his lawyer if I could show no prejudice towards the defendant and not believe what the police said had happened. I said no because I had a police captain, a state trooper and a detective in my family. I was dismissed.

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  4. Glad you "stuck to your guns".

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  5. Jurors should judge the law as well as the case, and should be antagonistic to the system since they've got a person's life in their hands. Of course lawyers and judges don't like to hear that.

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    Replies
    1. No they don't. I was happy to get out of there in one piece, and I was just a juror.

      I did hear a lawyer explain, in court, that while the judge said the jury should follow the law, that doesn't mean they must. I was impressed.

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  6. At least you didnt get held for homeland security as a terrorist.You have to remember disagreeing with a law, belief in the constitution,or the 10 commandments could be treason according to the law!

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  7. Oyea you should have wore the pirate suit!Would have been recieved better that your right to jury nullifiation.

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