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Jury duty

February 2, 2010

I was recently called to jury duty.  This is a duty and obligation that every citizen in the United States can be called upon to serve once a year.  This is also a duty that almost no person wants to serve.  I, like most other people, would do almost anything to get out of jury duty.  My company does not pay for jury duty, so if I have serve on a jury I do not get paid.  Even if I do not get paid, I cannot refuse to serve on a jury and if I do not report to the court on the assigned day I can suffer penalties.

In addition to being a major inconvenience to all that are called to jury duty, it is also very dull, boring and  can seem like a waste of a person’s time.  That said, it is a duty that we must do.  This is one of the costs of living in this country.

In my country, a person charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.  That means the government has the burden of proving a person committed a crime.  The person charged with the crime has the choice of a trial by judge or jury.  Trial by judge is just that, the judge listens to all of the evidence and then decides if the person committed the crime.  Trial by jury means that 12 people are chosen to hear all the evidence and then decide if the person is guilty.

With that in mind I was called to jury duty in Beverly Hills on Friday January 15, 2010.  I reported to the jury room, as required, at 8:45 am.  The drive took approximately one hour.  After parking my car, I went thru the security procedures and reported to the jury room.

As I arrived at the room, the orientation had just begun.  A woman, who works for the court, was conducting the orientation to a room of about fifty people.  She described all of the things that would be required of us while we  were on jury duty.  The orientation, which included watching a video about the importance of jury duty,  took approximately one hour.  After the orientation we took a ten minute break while the court personnel did some paperwork.

The clerk came back and told us that there was a case in Santa Monica that would last 20-25 work days.  The case would start February 2 and end around March 10.  That was why we were called into jury duty.  The judge and lawyers agreed on a series of reasons that would exclude us from serving on this jury.  The clerk called everyone’s name and we answered if we could serve on this jury or not.  When I was called I answered that I could not serve as did most other people in the room.  About 9 or 10 people answered that they could serve on the jury and they were sent to Santa Monica.

At 10:45 am the clerk came back to the room and told us that there were no more trials that would be starting that day and we were excused.  She had to write up our paperwork and call us up 10 people at a time.  I was in the second group and I was finished with jury duty before 11 am.

I do not have to serve on jury duty for at least one year.  Sometimes you just got to love life.  The following is a link to the Los Angeles jury duty.  Jury duty


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