Friday, March 19, 2010

Jury Duty is a Civic Obligation

We all have obligations for different things during our lifetime. Whether it be providing for our family, including education of the children, or doing a civic duty helping the disadvantaged. In the democracy that we live in the jury system is a fair way to give all parties the chance to be heard, and finally judged by a panel of citizens drawn from all walks of life.

Recently I was called for jury service. This was the third time I have been called so I knew what to expect.

The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the Court House is the security that you are subjected to. Some thing that would be unheard of not so many years ago. { What a different world we live in. ] The other thing that is very noticeable is the diverse group of people that are there for all different reasons. They could be the accused, witnesses, jurors, clerks, social workers, general public and of course the only winners of the day, Lawyers.

Those who have been called for jury service assemble at 9am on Monday morning. There are 120 called for duty that week. Of course some trails last for weeks and others only a day or two.

The first day I was not selected for a jury but had to stay until 2pm in case there was going to be a late trial starting. Nothing eventuated so I was allowed to go home, but to return the next day.

The next day I fronted at 9am. and had to wait until 10am before the clerk arrived to ballot those who would serve as jurors for trails starting that day.

This time I was selected. We were taken to no 6 court room, and waited for the court clerk to call our names and to take our seat in the jury box. My name was called and I was just about to put my FRAME on the seat when I was challenged by the defence lawyer. So home I go until the next day.

Day 3 9am. check in and the same procedure, called and challenged. Perhaps we oldies are thought to be losing our marbles. any way by this time it is about midday and I was informed that I was excused and did not have to return.

This was the third time that I have been called for jury service over the last 10 years, but on each occasion I have never taken part in a jury trail.

A very strong part of our democracy system is being able to be heard and judged by our peers. It is our duty to help and maintain what so many over the years have fought for. Even though it means sacrificing days off work, it is our duty.

Because i am retired and am a member of a very successful internet marketing business, days away from my business would have been a challenge to catch up on lost time.

My business is Little like a jury, if I go off the track, my peers are there to help and guide.

My name is John Fleming and I live in New Zealand.
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