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.