Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our Civic Duty


Over on another blog, a sweet Scottish girl was complaining (between expletives) about being asked to serve her civic duty on a jury panel at an inconvenient time. It reminded me of the first time and the manner in which I was first called for jury duty.

Back when I was discharged from the Army in the ‘40s, there was an unemployment program called 52-20. People just out of the service could get twenty dollars a week for 52 weeks if they didn’t have a job. Two friends and I went each week to pick up our checks. One morning there was a fellow in a sheriff uniform with a clipboard beside the window where we got our money. He politely asked us for our name. Then he said, “Mr. So and So, by accepting that check you have certified that you are unemployed, that you are a resident of the county. You are now called for jury duty. There is a bus standing outside the door that will take you to the courthouse.

Off we went to jury duty. It was a one-day panel and only one of us, not me, was chosen to sit on a case. But we all had to wait all day in case a new jury was needed. At the end of the day, the bus drove us back to where our cars were parked and we were released from duty. Fresh from employment (the Army) where waiting for something to happen was part of the job description, jury duty was not so bad. However, we did switch the time we went to pick up our checks to the late afternoon.

6 comments:

Oestre-Bunny said...

lol thanks for reading!
i'm always curious about what would happen on jury duty its just a shame its landed at such an unopportune time for me.
ps I'm scottish :-D

east village idiot said...

I am ALWAYS picked for jury duty and I am ALWAYS an alternate. So I sit through the whole thing and don't even vote.
Not to get too political but I'm sure there are lots of soldiers in Iraq who'd be dam happy to switch over to jury duty here at home.

Floridora said...

oestre-bunny -- Correction made. Sorry 'bout that.

Oestre-Bunny said...

lol cheers :-D

Archana said...

Hehe :-)! Did I tell you I am exempt from jury duty :-P?

Lori said...

Floridora,

First off, I’m sorry to hear you’re in poor health, and I wish you a speedy recovery. I do, however, want to leave my thoughts on this post. I look forward to being involved in your site, and hope your back blogging soon!

Here are my thoughts on this post:

For a long time, I found any reason to get out of jury duty—I can’t be on the jury because I’m allergic to the defendant, I’m leaving the country indefinitely so I can’t serve, etc. Recently, though, I’ve been rethinking my instinct to run from my civic duty. I think being on a jury can be an eye-opening experience because it puts a lot in perspective. Just as serving on a jury is a whole lot simpler than serving in war, seeing someone who may be innocent awaiting judgment reminds me the trivial concerns of my every day life aren’t that earth-shattering—not in comparison to a mother hoping her son’s found not guilty.

I generally don’t delve into judicial or political topics, but I recently blogged about President Bush’s 2008 budget proposal and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts—especially considering your history in the armed service. You can find the blog at www.GilbertGuide.com.

Be well,
Lori
Gilbert Guide