Jury Duty

Jury Duty in Texas is a pretty raw deal for a lot of people. In Galveston County you are told to show up at 8 AM at the courthouse. Mind you they don’t even open the doors until 8, so you’ll be waiting with about 50 to 200 other people trying to enter for various reasons through only two metal detectors. Then you arrive where you’re supposed to be to find a sign telling you to wait until 8:30 AM to start signing in. Once you’ve finally signed in you wait until 9:30 or 10:00 AM for everyone who didn’t show up on time to finish checking in. Then you watch a really lame video about being a juror. After you wake up from this a clerk tells you all about what you’ll be doing and all the exemptions and such. A judge comes in after a few more minutes and tells you the exact same thing, then lets everyone who has a good imagination come up and try to get out of jury duty. After denying most of these the judge will swear everyone in. Once you’re sworn in the clerk comes back with several longs lists of names to send people to various courts. If you’re chosen you go as part of the jury pool to be chosen to actually end up serving on a jury. If you aren’t chosen you get your note saying where you’ve been and you can go home, at the earliest about 11 AM Of course you need to call every night after 6 to see if you’re supposed to report to a court for the next day. At the end of the week they’ll generally release you from duty.

All of this is tedious and annoying. Now compound it with the fact that many people are not paid while on jury duty from their jobs. This means they are losing money from all this waiting around. Sure, you do get paid a whopping $7 for your day, but that doesn’t impress even a child anymore. I’d have to pay a kid $20 just to mow my lawn, and that takes less time. Of course if you’re summoned back you get $40 for the second day and every day after that. Not that its much better, but its more than $7.

I know the jury system is an important part of our country. I know our courts can’t afford to pay a lot of money. It still seems to me that putting such a burden on the juror isn’t a fair thing to do. Imagine you’re on trial for murder. Innocent or guilty it doesn’t really matter. When it comes down to it do you want a jury of your peers, who happen to have been ripped off for the past several weeks because of you, sitting their deciding your fate? Maybe its just coincidence, but perhaps this is why we have so many people on death row in Texas. Maybe angry juries? I’m just saying…

Posted in rants

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