Jan 6, 2010

Civic Duty

No, I have not been called in to jury duty (at least not in the last 10 years), but Clint has. And he has rescheduled it 3 times.

The first summons was for a day in April that his dad was scheduled for major surgery and Clint was responsible for getting him to the hospital and being their through the procedure. I don't know what the reason the second date was missed, but the 3rd was scheduled and marked on the big calender at his office. I repeatedly reminded him of his upcoming responsibility. Until about a week before, when his company scheduled him to be at a conference...in another state...on the day they knew he was supposed to have jury duty. I am not certain if he rescheduled again or not. If he did, he probably didn't tell me so I couldn't constantly remind him of the date!

My one and only brush with performing my civic duty came when I was 19. My boyfriend at the time came from a long line of cops and his father was a DA investigator. I was given plenty of tips to get out of it. I wasn't really worried about it. I really didn't figure anyone would even pay any attention to me. It ended up being a drug dealing case, where the accused had been convicted several time prior for the same offense and had been living in a know drug house.

When my name was called, the defense attorney asked me what my opinion was about the punishment on drug charges. My response was something like as follows, "Well, I believe drug charges should be met to the full extent of the law. My sister had been deep into the prescription drugs along with some other illegals. Nothing anyone tried got her clean until she decided she was ready to be a grown up and got herself clean. The best bet is to keep them off the street until as long as possible to protect others" I answered honestly and really figured since the question came from the defense I would not be picked. I was incorrect.

I found out I had been picked for the jury about mid afternoon, and sat through some instruction for an hour or so. About that time someone asked for a recess for the remainder of the day, so I had to come back the next morning.

All the following morning was sent waiting on lawyers and delays and negotiations. The accused ended up pleading guilty, but wanted the jury to decide the punishment since the judge was notorious for being harsh on dealers. We learned about the guys criminal past and then were told our options for punishment. The max for this guy was 2 years behind bars and I thing it was a $2,000 fine. We went back and forth on the max for awhile but ended up just imposing the jail time. We ended up figuring that if he eventually paid the fine, it would be with money earned selling drugs to kids and causing more harm. If he didn't pay then it was just more tax payer money used to try to collect money they would never see.

I can't say it was a bad experience. I was already a Court TV buff (before TruTV) and gave me a different perspective of how the system works. At least different from the mock trial we had in Debate in High School.

2 comments:

Aunt Becky said...

It sounds kind of awesome.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I was called up for jury duty not too long ago, but I had to write in that it would be a hardship on our family, as we are a single income family and I can't afford to put my kids in daycare. They let me out of it.