Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jury duty

Back in the 20th century, when I worked for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston, MA, I received a notice for jury duty. At that time in Suffolk County, jury duty lasted two weeks. So there I sat in the jury lounge of the county courthouse at Government Center, hour after hour, day after day.

 Typical jury lounge, where pool members wait to be called.

I was questioned and excused from one panel that was to hear a drug possession case. Another jury pool member said I was lucky to be excused, but I was bored waiting in the lounge. I almost got picked for two other trials, but again I was excused. As soon as my two weeks of waiting were over, I complained to a lawyer friend that "I sat there for two weeks and never even got on one jury. What a waste of time!" But my friend said my role was important. He said participating in jury selection is critical to getting a fellow citizen a fair trial even if I was was never chosen. "You did serve," he said, "just by showing up. People can fake that they care, but they can't fake being there."

It reminded me of what Woody Allen once said. "Showing up is 80% of life."

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