Jury Duty

by Harry on September 20, 2022

I know people who have been called for jury duty several times, but its something I’ve never wanted to do, and by the time I finally got the summons I thought maybe I’d avoided it. But the summons came a year or so before the pandemic and, after a couple of delays, I duly went to the courthouse early one morning to wait with the other couple of hundred or so people who’d gotten the same demand.

I was finally called as part of a group of 18. We were duly put in that place in the courtroom where the jury sit, and the process of selection began. The prosecuting attorney looked far too young to do his job, and the defendant looked confident with his attorney. I guess both sides can dismiss a certain number of people without explanation, so they generally ask questions designed to exclude people who will be bad jurors for one side or the other. We were told that the case involved violence so the first (and, as it turned out, only) question we were asked (after disclosing our occupations) was whether we had ever been a victim of violence. The prosecutor went through us one by one. The first thing I learned was that, unless they were lying, a lot of people have been victims of violence, and in particular domestic violence (men, as well as women). It was unsettling to be honest.

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