Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Juror summons

When I got home yesterday and checked my mail I saw a juror summons from Montgomery County in with the latest issue of Network World and my normal junk mail. Most people dread being summoned for jury duty but I'm looking forward to it.

The jury is a keystone of our justice system. If one is charge with a crime, jurors are the (hopefully) impartial authority judging one's guilt in a tripartite system made up of two state elements -- the judge and prosecutor, and one non-state element, the jury. As such, jurors can serve as a valuable check against state abuse of the system.

In civil matters the juror's role is also important, as an impartial (again, hopefully) arbiter between plaintiff and defendant. Personally, I'd rather have my case -- whether as plaintiff or defendant -- decided by a group of my peers than by a single judge, who's mood often depends on what he had for breakfast.

Serving on a jury is one's civic duty. Having educated jurors is essential to the proper functioning of the system and safeguarding the rights of our citizens. Instead of being a burden, jury duty should be regarded as an honor.

If I get on a jury I'll be surprised, though. As long-time readers know, before I became a professional geek I was a practicing attorney, and I've maintained my law license. So, I expect that if I'm called, I'll be excused during voire dire (jury selection).

I would like to serve, though.

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