Your right.....I was summoned to jury duty in Superior Court of Fulton County. I learned yesterday that everyone can now be called every year. They even have your anniversary date of when you last served so they, hopefully, can summon you near the same time every year. So until, my 70th birthday I can expect that polite letter that requests my presence on a certain day at a certain time to come every year. I am always glad to serve out my civic duty, but it always seems to be an inconvenience.
But it is fun to meet new people in that room of over 500 prospective jurors. They come from all walks of life. Some were obviously well off, while others seemed to be in need. Some spoke fluent English, while others struggled to communicate. Of course, some were older, while others seem to be way too young for such a serious endeavor. Men, women, boys and girls all gathered in one place with the potential of affecting the future of others. What an awesome responsibility. I was called in the second group and was about to go through the jury selection process, but that case was settled, and we were told we had dodged a bullet.... the case was expected to take two weeks!
While we waited for the process to work out some read books, some worked on their computers, some were texting on their phones, and some did an old fashion thing...talked to one another. The lady next to me told me a story about a woman who was trying to get out of jury duty. She explained to the judge that she did not believe in capital punishment that she did not want her feelings on the subject to prevent justice from running its proper course.
The judge responded by explaining "This is not a murder trial. It is a simple civil lawsuit. A wife is bringing this case against her husband because he gambled away the $20,000 they had saved over the years to remodel their kitchen for her birthday."
"Well, ok" the woman agreed. "I'll serve. I guess I could be wrong about capital punishment after all!"
Yesterday was not a wasted day. Although I really did not want to go. And although I had plenty of other stuff to do. And although it was really an inconvenience. And although I sat there for most of the day and never really got to be on an actual jury. It was still not a wasted day. We talked, we laughed, we all waited nervously together. We were people from all walks of life forced into the same room with each other.
It was not a wasted day at all!
This is my story...