Jury Duty In A Reluctant Society

I was summoned for jury selection this week and not selected.  There were 80 potential jurors there and my juror number was not called.  It took about 90 minutes to obtain 12 jurists and 2 alternates.

As I was sitting in the court sweating it – what if I get selected -?  It was for a sex assault charge that the judge said would take the rest of the week to conclude.

As I sat there, I decided that I would serve and not try to get out of my civic responsibility.  Now if it had been a trial expected to last several months, that would have been different.  The Superior Court sits in Pembroke, ON an hour by car each way from my home.

Everyone it seemed in that court room was sweating and praying they would not be selected.  About half those who were called up asked the judge to be excused for a variety of reasons – health, family, job.  It was kind of appalling to see.

Fortunately, a sufficient number of jurors did not try to evade their civic responsibility and were accepted by the opposing attorneys.

The judge was very accommodating and thanked us all for coming.  He went on to explain that it is every citizen’s responsibility to serve on a jury if selected – it is a corner piece of our democratic society – it can be a rewarding experience of bonding with others and reaching a common decision.  He also reminded us that now that we know how it works, to better clear the deck next time of upcoming responsibilities and be prepared to say yes.

I guess he is right but many of us don’t seem to consider this a desireable or worthy way to spend our precious time given all the other responsibilities we shoulder. It is all about time crunch!

Enough said.  Fulfilling one’s civic duties like jury duty or voting for that matter is not high on our bucket lists anymore.

My sincere thanks to all those people who do serve on juries and to those who work in the justice system for carrying out justice as best they can in a reluctant society.

Epilogue

After returning home I called Elections Canada because I had not received a voters card. Marie had. I was told I was not in the system at all. Sometimes this happens explained the service agent. Alas the online system for self-registering was down and I was told I can register the day of the election at the polling booth. I hope this is true as by then it will be too late to correct. A reluctant society – an ambivalent government.

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