Monday, February 16, 2009

Civic Duty

For the first time in the 19 years I've been "qualified," I have been summoned for jury duty. On the whole I don't mind. On the whole.

However, I have a couple little concerns. One is very realistic. The other might be a bit on the ridiculous side. Let's start with ridiculous, shall we?

The thing I'm worried about is if the case is something like murder or rape or something scary. I've always worried about being a juror for something like that. What if the defendent gets my face in his mind and is found guilty and later gets out of prison and comes after jurors for revenge? Scares me. Truly.

The other is financial. Jury duty pays $15 per day. If it's four days or more, they start paying you $30 per day. I hate to break it to them, but if I miss more than this one day tomorrow for jury duty, their $15-$30 will not pay my bills. There's just not a lot of breathing space. I'm keeping on an even keel right now but if I get stuck in a long trial I'm sure I'll feel the repercussions for a while.

And further more, I've got a trip to Sydney coming my way soon. I'll explain that later, but all I can say is that if jury duty makes me dip into the Sydney funds, I'm going to be seriously crushed.

I believe in being responsible...even on the civic level. A community, city, state, country, world won't work if we don't all pitch in together. I get that and I want to do my part. But I'm seriously wondering who's going to pitch in when I can't pay my bills because I'm doing civic duty.

And to end things on an upbeat note (that will seem to contradict my concern, but I'll explain later)...yes you read that right up there, I am SO going to Sydney...later this year. More later.


Dee from Downunder said...

I would hate to do jury duty. Can't you get out of it, being a teacher?

As for Sydney.... wahooooo!

Hillary said...

:) @ wahooooo!

As for jury duty, being a teacher is not an automatic exemption. I went and reported for duty and the day was spent going through a selection process in front of a judge and the two sides of a lawsuit.

They WILL take into consideration hardships that sitting on a jury could financial difficulties, hardships in the family, health conditions, etc. But they spent quite a while questioning us. At one point they were trying to see if we had preconceived notions about general topics that related to the case. One of the questions basically asked if we had a particular opinion about lawsuits in general. I responded to the question by telling them that I think on the whole they are excessive. I acknowledged that there are some times and situations when there is no other recourse but I stood by the opinion that at least within our nation, they were overdone and often frivolous.

I don't think the plaintiff's attorneys particularly wanted me to sit on the jury and I was excused. They didn't say that was why, but I would imagine that was part of why they didn't choose me. That and some other opinions I voiced.

I was just relieved that I wouldn't have to miss more work.

Dee from Downunder said...

I guess he did not want someone with a brain on the jury then... LOL

One way to get out of it!

Hillary said...

LOL, it worked.