November 16, 2010 10:52:00 AM
With Circuit Court in full swing in Lowndes County, we''re reminded of one of the civic responsibilities, most all of us are called upon to perform from time to time -- jury duty.
Unfortunately, some of us view being called to jury duty as a prison sentence unto itself. It can be time-consuming, taking us away from work or family obligations. During the jury selection process, attorneys can ask some probing questions of jurors. Some of us may be uncomfortable deciding another''s fate.
We''ve heard people lament being called, and wondering aloud what the best way to get out of jury duty might be.
Granted, there are good excuses for not serving. National Guard members on active duty, for example, can be exempt if their commanding officer says it would interfere with their duties. Judges can grant passes to the elderly, or those who are the sole caregiver for an elderly loved one or child. (Of course, convicted felons and people already on trial for something else are exempt.)
When that notice comes in the mail, we hope your first thought isn''t how to shirk your civic responsibility.
Consider if the shoe were on the other foot and you were on trial. Wouldn''t you be hoping that thoughtful, responsible people were on your jury? Wouldn''t you like yourself on your own jury?
A well-rounded jury makes our justice system work. Most trial attorneys would tell you "jury selection" is a misnomer. Attorneys don''t pick juries -- they merely work with those citizens who show up and take part.
Serving on a jury can be enlightening, and give you a unique window into the community, and our justice system. Most jurors remember there service for the rest of their lives. A feeling of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of having served, lingers with jurors forever.
A good crowd of prospective jurors was available at the Lowndes County Courthouse this week, and we appreciate their service, and willingness to serve.