Why Jury Duty Violates Civil Rights

Whenever a court can determine that a child’s rights or a person’s right to schedule work when they can get work is not as important as sitting in a jury box, listening to countless lies, it is a violation of a person’s civil rights.

Yesterday, I listened to a judge (as most do) arbitrarily say to people that, “we must all must make sacrifices to serve on a jury.” That is such hogwash! A mother with a special needs child asked to be excused from a three-day trial and was told, “find somebody who can assist you. We all have to make sacrifices.” What about the child who doesn’t understand the manipulative aspect of jury duty?

For the gentleman who had just scheduled jobs and could lose clients, “we all have to make sacrifices.”

For everyone who declared that spending three days away from work would be a hardship for them as individuals, this was the response.

When I explained that I was a part-time professor and would not get paid, I received the same response. I only work seven hours a week and if I miss four of those hours for jury duty–who’s going to make the sacrifice for me?

My question is this? When I can’t pay my bills will the court make the sacrifice to pay them? Will the court pay for the additional medical assistance that could be needed for a child traumatized because they didn’t understand that jury duty was a “sacrifice” all had to make?

This is a jacked-up system to force people to make sacrifices over situations that were not of their making or choice. I know the constitution declares everyone to have the right for a trial by jury, but where in the constitution does it declare that those who are not willing to make the sacrifice of missed pay, or creating traumatized children have to participate? And since when is the sacrifice only worth a pitiful amount of money? All mandated jury duty participation should be compensated at the jurors’ rate of pay or the equivalent of what they lose in the process of “making the self-sacrifice” to accommodate others. Money is not everything and when a student or professor loses time needed for instruction, that time cannot be recovered and everyone loses.

As a former volunteer Chaplain for the Metropolitan Jail Ministries, most of the inmates I ministered to admitted guilt for that which they were arrested. As far as I’m concerned, if a person is arrested, they’re guilty.

As for civil cases–when I see smarmy defendants smiling to win over a jury, I’m turned off and would automatically find in favor of the plaintiff.

No consideration is given to a person’s personal situation and everything is geared to satisfying the constitutional right of the one brought into court–for whatever reason. What happened to the rights of those who are simply trying to make it–financially and those who are trying to take care of home and family? If the same mother who was denied the right to be with her child who needed her were brought to court on neglect charges, how would that work?

We need a better way to determine who the jurors will be–in any case–because there are people like me who have already made up their minds–before any evidence is heard.

And like I told the judge yesterday, I would not want a juror sitting in on a case who was so distracted by personal matters they wouldn’t pay attention to what was going on in the courtroom. In other words–because of a personal situation involving the mental stability of a child and the possible break-up of a marriage, I knew I was not going to pay attention and I would not want me for a juror.

I was excused, but what about all the others who have situations in their lives that are just as important to them as mine was? How do they protect their civil rights–the right to provide for the needs of their families, instead of sacrificing themselves for those who would not appreciate them–one way or another.

If being a juror is a sacrifice for the individual, then the court systems must also make a sacrifice of being human and cognizant of individual needs or risk being sued for the loss of clients, pay, and the care of special needs children.

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Unfolding life perspectives as an educator, wife, mother, grandmother, next president and preacher in all I write. Believe Him! DC-- mary.hallrayford@gmail.com

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