Friday, January 11, 2008

Selective Service: Jury Duty

Jury duty is a chore, but I'm not sure being swept up off the streets in a citizen dragnet is what most complainers had in mind. To be sure, jury duty is a civic duty, a small price to pay for living in a civilized, democratic society. But I'd like to think that presupposes to advanced notice (like a summons in the mail) to allow prospective jurors to plan their days around the disruption to their normal daily routine. Some judges have a different idea, conscripting citizens off the streets for jury duty when the jury rolls just can't keep pace with courtroom demand for fresh bodies.

I believe everyone has an obligation to serve, but I suspect snatching people off the streets to serve on a jury is going to debase juries, stocking them full of disgruntled people who are going to be looking for a speedy way to return to their posts rather than spend their time as conscientious jurors listening attentively to a trial. Well, I suppose that much won't change.