I was called for jury duty recently.¬† I'm sure that anyone who gets the summons in the mail feels that same sense of dread.¬† Usually, the next line of thought is, "How am I gonna get out of this?"¬† Now, I always joke about how I would¬†get out of serving when I say I'll go in and blurt out, "I can spot a guilty guy a mile away!," or "Off with his head!" or something similar.¬† Well realistically, you can't do that.¬† There are legitimate reasons to not serve,¬†and those are not evident until the actual jury selection process.¬† If you try any of those hare-brained approaches mentioned previously, there's a good chance that you'll be cited for contempt of court, and pay a hefty fine.¬† The fact is, it is your civic duty to serve on a jury.¬† I am very glad that I did.¬† I'm not lying when I tell you that it will, in all probability,¬†remain one of the more memorable events in my life.¬† Seriously.¬† It was fascinating, and interesting, and solemn, and important.¬† It's not like it is on the court room dramas that we see on TV.¬† Sure, the surroundings are what you'd expect, and all of the principals are there:¬† judge, lawyers, prosecutors, defendant, sheriff's deputies.¬† But when you sit in that jury box and listen to testimony and opening & closing statements,¬†the reality is inescapable.¬† And it's very powerful.¬† At least it was for me.¬† As my jury duty was for a criminal case, it was jarringly real to know that myself and 11 other individuals were going to decide the fate of 2 people, with one of them very possibly going to jail.¬† Jail is not a place you or I would wanna be.¬† I found myself totally immersed in the whole procedure.¬† I listened intently to every word that was said by everyone involved.¬† You have to.¬† This is not TV where there's going to be a commercial break.¬† This is not Judge Judy.¬† This was real life.¬† The deliberations were very intense and at times troubling.¬† 12 people in a room deciding the fate of someone based on information that was gleaned from the trial.¬† Sometimes, you can't get all of the info that you might want in order to reach a verdict, and that adds to the difficulty of reaching a unanimous decision.¬† But in the end, that is what is needed-unaniminity.¬† After having answered the call to serve my civic duty, I feel more than ever that if you're called, you need to do it.¬† Look forward to it, embrace it, be involved in it, and see 1st hand how our judicial system works.¬† And it does work.¬† No system is perfect, but I believe that the way we do it in the U.S. is as close as you can get.¬† An amazing experience.
Your name popped into my head so I googled you. Remember your stage 16 roommate? I'm living in Westchester with my wife of 23 yrs and twin 15-yr old daughters..... living life the best I can. I hope you're doing well in Rochester. R u keeping in touch with Trento? Let me know if this is reall you.