I hate jury summons. They used to be pretty easy to deal with, I’d put down that work didn’t pay for jury service and I’d get excused. Whether this was true or not was largely irrelevant to me. Now, they don’t give you the choice to get out of it, you have to waste your time sitting around for at least a couple of hours before they just let you go. Honestly, I usually wonder how they could ever put out a bench warrant for me not showing up when they can’t even prove I received the summons, they don’t send it certified.
To be honest, it is a waste of my valuable time sitting around in a waiting room, knowing I’ll never be called to sit on a jury. In all the times I’ve ever done this, I sat on my ass for 4 hours, then they called my group and said go home. I’ve never even walked into a courtroom to be questioned by lawyers and honestly, even if I did, no lawyer in their right mind wants me sitting on the jury. I actually give a damn who is guilty and who is innocent. I am not easily manipulated. In other words, the defense lawyer will throw me out immediately with the prosecution lawyer helping to carry my legs.
The real issue is that the American legal system, as it currently stands, really does suck. It, like the political system, isn’t about facts, it isn’t about reality, it’s about spin. How can one side spin what the other side is dishing out? Don’t get me wrong, I’d actually love to be involved with a system that doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator, but that’s not the system we have today. You have two different sides that aren’t really interested in justice, they just want to win.
The prosecution, of the two, is probably the most defensible in this. They set up the case and decide, before filing the paperwork, if they think they have enough evidence to win. If they don’t, they simply do not file and the individual goes free. During the trial, if it becomes clear that their case wasn’t as strong as they thought, if their evidence doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, they have the option to simply drop the charges and end the trial. While there are certainly abuses of the system we can point to, in general, I think the prosecutors are in the best position to actually carry out justice.
The defense, on the other hand, I find to be largely scummy. It is their job to get their client off. They are not at all concerned with justice, if they find, during the course of the trial, that their client is absolutely guilty of the charges levied against him, they cannot and will not throw up their hands and say “we were wrong, take him away!” Their existence in the courtroom is not predicated on being able to demonstrate that their client is innocent of the charges, only in convincing twelve idiots in a box to acquit.
And then we come to the jurors. Trust me, I just spent a couple of hours in a room stuffed full of them. Seriously, if you were on trial, would you want to be stuck facing 12 people who were too stupid to get out of jury duty? It’s not hard to understand why people don’t want to serve. First off, you are forced, under penalty of arrest, to show up against your will, to stand in long lines that make Disneyland look like a walk in the park, to be stuffed into a room like sardines with people you would never, ever associate with willingly. In my case, I ended up between a black guy with a mohawk who spent the whole time talking to himself and a guy who, once he rolled up the sleeves of his jacket, had track marks on both arms. Yes, it’s the druggies and the crazies that end up in these rooms. Secondly, they just don’t want anyone on the jury that has any kind of knowledge or expertise in the case, they want jurors who are stupid and gullible and easy to manipulate. If you stand up and say you have a college degree, especially in anything remotely associated with the case, you’re out on your behind.
See, what I think ought to be done is that we eliminate both the prosecution and the defense and just have one group that are after the truth. They are neither biased for or against the accused, nor for or against the accuser. Their entire job is to ferret out the truth, produce the evidence and present a case to the jurors that simply lays out the facts and allows intelligent people, who actually want to be there, who are educated and who are not selected for their ignorance and gullibility, to make a determination based on the facts and the evidence and nothing else. I’m sick and tired of the stage show our courts have turned into. It’s not justice, it’s a circus.
So yes, I went to jury duty and I sat on my ass for 2.5 hours in a room of 400 sweaty people packed in like sardines. It took them more than an hour just to check in all those people, and when they were done and posted the lists of people in each group, 3 out of the 5 groups were immediately and summarily dismissed. Thanks for wasting my time. The inefficiency of the process is as ridiculous as the process itself.
Is it any wonder nobody wants to serve on a jury?