©03 assigned to The Media Desk
[NOTE: As with all of Fred's submissions, this is presented with minimal editing and formatting. The opinions he expresses about jury duty are his own and all email will be forwarded to him. thank you, Webmaster ]
As I go thru these days having been lucky to be picked for Jury duty in my county. I look at the faces those that cross my path. Court staff, Judges, Lawyers, AG, s, and those somehow involved in the system at this time. During these days I have seen many faces on many bodies.
For the most part its one of 'why me' and how unconvinced they are of what is to come. Having only been picked once before I still don't understand the resistance to serve. When we are so willing to lay blame on others when our system fails them. I wonder why people are not willing to serve. The money issue aside. I feel that if Juries can't be found, the Professional Jury will come about. To fill the void or need. Like the Reader who fills in to read other's testimony in their stead. Or will we change the laws that allow for those to be heard by a jury of their peers or a cross section of their community. A balance and impartial means of justice and redress be given up due to its inconveance to those it is meant to serve. For those who benefit by having some one to see their side. And those who have not the resources to address issues for themselves.
And of those lawyers who seem to be so adept at showing no feelings or giving away no insight as to what they want or want you to see. (oops) I feel I am in error. I have seen the knowing grin of the lawyer who seems to be winning the case, making the point for his side.
The faces to those in need are for the most part bewildered by this system. They are hoping for a just decision but what is justice may not be what they envision it to be. They look on in awe at their lawyers parrying and skillful direction of their matters before the court. Trying to make points of law and facts to sway the jurors or judge. Or at least make the opposition object and get overruled looking less then stellar to his, or the judge.
The faces of the courthouse staff seem to be missed by most. Being in the background and foreground of all that goes on. Directing court business and participants where they need to be. Being the 1st and sometimes the last contact for all involved. Tracking sides, jurors, and anyone else who are here to go before the court.
The faces of the jurors for what I observe makes all effort to be a cross section of the community. In location if not in income and social class. But hopefully fair open minded members of the community. Ranging from white to blue-collar workers, working to retired, young and old, male and female, and professional to civil servants. As I go thru this 2nd week I hear those complain of why them, the waste of their time. What they can't do. How backed up this is making their lives and work. And those that get empanelled seem to be open minded to try to do what is fair and just for those involved. As there own lives go on around them
What of the Judges who seem to have the power over all. They sit above and centered to hear all that is about to be brought to them. They are charged with providing and allowing only what is pertinent be heard. Outline the points of law and boundaries of the same. To guide the jurors in their task to find for one side or the other. They give the look of knowing and fairness. Providing those involved with the law as it is written. And decides the meaning of the same. Lastly make their final decision on matters heard in the court.
Bodies of those going in and out of the courthouse are something to see at times. The modes of attire by those coming and going are interesting to watch. If you watch long enough you can tell who is what and if they will come out the other side the way they want. Fashion is no stranger in the courthouse than it is in the world. The courthouse staff for the most part put forth a business like appearance. The Bailiffs & security staff put on a uniformed look. To be easily identified, to stand out, so that all will know who to go to for directions and help. Clerks and others, dress with a business like appearance. Lawyers, like lawyers!!! They all seem to put on the air of success or being a winner. For who wants a lawyer who is a loser. But in my opinion they all look like cardboard cutouts of people in the movies. Lifelike but not quite. Impressive, but when talking they lose something. And what's with the monotone voices of some of the lawyers? Are they trying to put people to sleep or not. Is it to their advantage to do so? Is there a prize to put the most people to sleep?
What of some of the exhibits they provide? Thought there was no future for cut and paste time in school. For you know that the lawyers hire someone to make all these things look so impressive.
Now we sit here in recess waiting to be back into hearing the closing statements. In those semi-comfortable chairs. Then the judge will instruct us on what to do. Yeah. We will make someone happy and the other not. This award of money for one thing or another. But this is what has become of our society. Just like the advent of SUV, s cellphones, pagers, and laptops. Also the advent of the upswing of golf as a people sport. The amount of those who think a suv is a status symbol. And how funny a suburban or explorer looks with small tires and ground effects package. Soundsystems, DVD, s in-vehicle video systems.
(Opps) Got lost in the past few hours. Been deciding, what should be with my fellow jurors. All of them have strong convictions and ideals. This has been the issue. How to reach a compromise and not give up ones views. It being a civil matter those involved seem to place differing values on pain. Others considering the timing of this or that. Ah the art of compromise. Then how many decisions have been made due to the fact that jurors are tired and want to go home?
Feel put up on by the system and under compensated for such an important part of our system of justice that for the most part is a token value being provided to those who are in the pool and those who get en- paneled.
Judiciously yours -Fred