Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Performing my civic duty...

I was called to jury duty this past Monday. Actually, I was called several months ago but continued to reschedule the date. Finally, I ran out of rescheduling options and had to report to the dreaded jury assembly room.

The last time I had jury duty, I was pregnant with my 17 year old. I didn’t even make it onto a panel. I was excused. Since that time, I have claimed exemption from jury service due to having a child under 10 to care for. Well, my youngest is about to turn 11. The time has run out on that excuse!

Because of the hurricane, this was the first day the criminal courts were in session after a hiatus of 2 weeks. They assembled at least six panels that I know of. I was put on one of those panels – one of 63 individuals for a murder trial. The judge told us the trial would easily last until Friday. I sighed and gulped hard. This was NOT in my plan!

The judge explained the process to us and encouraged us to speak up and ask questions and voice our concerns. “The people who never open their mouths … those are the people who end up sitting in the box behind me,” she said, pointing to the jury box. That was all the encouragement I needed to talk; and so I began formulating my “plan” for getting out of jury duty. I decided I would play the ministry card…

I’ll cut to the chase. After the 4th time of raising my hand to share a “concern” I had based on my conscious and beliefs, the prosecutor said, “Yeah, I think I’ve got you….” LOL!

Suffice to say, I was not picked. I feel a tad bit guilty. Perhaps that young man on trial could have used someone like me with a little more empathy for the broken. Yet I know God still could have put me up in that jury box despite my attempts to avoid it. Next time (famous last words) I’ll be one of those people who keep their mouth shut.

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