Jury Duty

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding blares from the multiple TV screens around the jury pool room. The “quiet room” is closed, but I have moved to the farthest corner possible, so I can read and write. I am going to be here for a long time. Today, I am serving jury duty.

My morning started at 4:30 am. I had my coffee and my low-fat Greek yogurt with granola. I read a chapter of a new book and reluctantly headed to the shower. I needed to be downtown by 8 am. Traffic on both the turnpike and the expressway star to  get congested about that time, so I get a coffee for the road and head out early. I make it downtown by 7 am and have a chance to journal a bit before I go inside.

I’m glad I’m early. At 7:30 am the line is already down the hall, and they start letting us in. It’s a painless process. It’s just the endless waiting that makes jury duty so tiresome.

I’m torn between my desire to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, which guarantees everyone a trail by his or her peers, and my own concerns of stressed induced anxiety. Right now, I still feel relaxed. Reading and writing keeps me calm. I try not to think of the possibilities ahead of me, but a small part of me worries about narratives and evidence I might hear today.

Oh lord, another announcement. I understand the need to be thorough, but I just want to stay focused. Unfortunately, the judge needs to come into the jury pool and explain restrictions on electronic devices and independent (internet) research on cases or parties involved. Yes, folks, it has come to this. We need to be told that we should not Google on our smart phones during a trial. The judge needs to explain the unreliability of information found on the internet and the possible consequences of a mistrial. If only the rest of life could be as fair.

How often do we pass judgement based on what we read and hear, or even see, without due process? How often do we make up our minds without subjecting the evidence to any scrutiny or give all the parties involved the opportunity to respond? Is this behavior a by product of our busy lives? Is it a consequence of constantly making snap decisions in order to move forward as quickly as possible?

I’m not really sure what the answer to those questions are, but I do know one thing, I will have plenty of time to think about it today.

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