Friday, January 28, 2011

A Citizen's Duty

Today I received a summons from the Supreme Court of BC to appear for jury selection for an upcoming criminal case.

A dazzling prospect! I've long wanted to sit on a jury.

And a criminal case, yet. Would I decide the fate of a drug dealer, a thief, perhaps a murderer?

I have no doubts that I can provide a fair, unbiased verdict based on evidence. [Is not my horoscope sign Libra, "the scales," a natural judge?]

Countless courtroom dramas I've watched or read flashed through my mind.


The Verdict, To Kill a Mockingbird, 12 Angry Men, Erin Brockovich, A Few Good Men . . . .

Books by:
Grisham, Turow, Baldacci, Bugliosi . . . .

Television shows:
Law and Order, Ally McBeal, Matlock, Perry Mason, Damages, Judging Amy, Shark, The Practice, the British Rumpole of the Bailey . . . .

I enjoyed them all, the serious, the off-beat.

At last I'd personally see slick lawyers at their best. And Crown prosecutors in action. Objection--Sustained--Overruled-- words would fly back and forth. I'd see witnesses break under examination. Spectators swear, weep, faint as stories unraveled and raw facts shocked the courtroom. The judge would be pounding his gavel, calling for order. . . .

Would the jury be sequestered?

[The only courts I'd ever attended were tax court, as an employee of Revenue Canada to observe an appeal. (boring )

And when my husband was called as a witness in the case of a kid he'd seen break into cars. We waited two hours for the case to be called, then another hour or so as the parties talked. In the end we were told to go home. The kid made a deal. (double boring)]

Finally cold reality set in.

I can't serve on a jury due to health reasons.

And as fast as a computer click on the Supreme Court website, I was disqualified from ever again being summoned for jury duty.

Back to movies, books, tv shows.



When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty. ~Norm Crosby

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. ~Robert Frost

The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try.
~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

People who love sausage and people who believe in justice should never watch either of them being made. ~Otto Bismark