Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jury Duty / Jury Selection

Just spent five days watching a jury get selected for a criminal case. I was among the last seven left in the courtroom when my name was called, so I got to listen to well over 120 people respond to hypothetical questions about the case and sitting on a jury. It was like an exercise in ethics, combined with a very serious job interview, and I left with immense respect for most of the people who participated, as well as for the jury selection process. It’s a huge responsibility--my sense of that deepened immensely by actually watching the process unfold.

I was excused for cause, because of a very strong opinion I had which was related to some of the evidence deemed admissible in the case. I left the process wishing that more people who expressed their opinions might be considered--at least a little more seriously--for a jury of one's peers. I think I would have made a good juror. But I also did wonder whether I was the right juror for THIS case, and I wondered that aloud--and I respect that right that all parties involved have to attempt to choose a group that is fair and impartial. I probably wasn’t right for the job, and I think the process determined that fairly.