Jury Duty

“Courts are places where the ending is written first and all that precedes is simply vaudeville.”

– Charles Bukowski

‘To make a quick judgement does not make one right. The wise person looks at both sides of the matter, with fairness, impartiality, watchful of the truth, wisely and without haste.”

– Buddha

Last week I had to report for jury duty and I took the whole affair rather seriously.I was among the group of the first 35 people called to be interviewed. I honestly thought for sure I was going to be selected for the jury as I sat there waiting. When I was called to be interviewed, I was up at the table for a long time.

When asked if I would be more likely to believe the words of a police officer, doctor, teacher, or other “professional” person, I answered not necessarily. People are people first and foremost, regardless of whatever title they may have. I apologized for any disrespect for the decorum of the court and said that once one reaches a certain age, you’ve hopefully developed a pretty finely-tuned bs detector. I rely on mine all of the time.

The assistant DA said that people make judgments about people every day, that I probably made a judgment about each person at the table before I sat down. I told him no, actually I was thinking about how hungry I was, not evaluating everyone at that table.

He pointed out that on the questionnaire I underlined the statement “sitting in judgment” and asked why. That phrase “sitting in judgment” is pretty serious. Perhaps it can be written “Are you able to make a judgment based on hearing both sides of the case?” as opposed to sitting in judgment that connotes the whole judgement and right hand of God sort of  thing.

Sitting in judgment is hard core. It’s a humbling thing to have someone’s life, someone’s destiny in your hands and it is something to be taken very seriously with humility, with fairness. In making judgments it’s important to be “watchful of the truth.”

They didn’t select me for the jury.


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