Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Today, for the sixth time in my life, I sent in a little card that disqualifies me for jury duty. As in every case past, the county found me too late, and we've already moved on. 32 years old and I've never even been eligible when asked; I feel like some sort of civic virgin.

I wish it were otherwise. Jury duty has always seemed like my kind of thing. Sit quietly and listen to arguments, try to separate out fact from innuendo, spelunk oppositional words for evidence, truth, assumption. Make your case to eleven of your peers, and convince them of what you've seen if you can. Dispense justice, at best.

More, like many bloggers I suppose, I believe in my civic duty. I long to serve, and regret the missed opportunity for service.

Most folks I talk to hate jury duty, because it isn't really jury duty. Three times out of ten, it seems, a call for jury service is ultimately a call for sitting in a room all morning only to be denied a chance to serve. The rest of the time, you make plans for job coverage and child care only to call the night before and discover that you needn't even show up that day.

I reject this dismissal. If even potential availability supports the possibility of giving all defendents the best shot at a decent jury of her peers, then I'll make myself available. Though I'd much prefer to be in the courtroom for the duration, I have no qualms about being the one rejected that someone more appropriate for that particular trial may sit. The point of service begins with pool membership.

Sure, there's fun stories about folks in low-turnout areas being recruited off the street -- last year, for example, I heard from some young folks who had been corralled into service on the spot from their parking lot hangout in downtown Brattleboro. But generally, people called are not people sequestered. And generally, people loitering are not called.

And I really, really want my shot as sitting in chairs, one of twelve along the line of fate. Look forward, in fact, to the day we're settled in enough to make service a reality.

Alas, until then, the universe has chosen otherwise. For better or worse -- and sometimes both at once -- the wandering life turns out to be pretty far under the civic radar. Sorry, Franklin County. Once again, you missed your chance at seating someone who actually wanted to be there.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:40 PM |

I have never been called for Jury Duty. I am not sure how I feel about that. I have one coworker that has been called twice since I have worked with her (6 years). My mom has been called, but never heard a case.

BTW...is that Willow in the corner of your blog, or you, or some kid you found online?
Is indeed Willow -- at just around two years old, on the beach in Florida (I photoshopped the beach out but left the textured shadow). I like other people's line-and-bubble blogdesigns, but prefer simple and elegant for my own, I guess.

If I still had easy access to some older and PS-prepped files, I'd change the image there to the "jamming willow" from last year's festivals. My hope is to get an equally jammin' pic of her, and maybe one of Cassia, for long-term redesign.
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