Today I muse...about jury duty!

I love looking at all the fall decor popping up on the blogs and Pinterest this time of year. It really gets me in the mood to start my fall decorating…and then I step outside…and it is still 90+ degrees with high humidity. I. JUST. CAN’T. DO. IT!

This year we are taking our annual fall trip a few weeks early because of Brian’s work schedule. Since I don’t see the sense in going to Colorado before the Aspens turn, we decided to head north and see a part of the country I have never visited…Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Yellowstone. I AM SO EXCITED!!!

We have a day trip booked in Yellowstone, a fishing trip on the Snake River out of the Grand Tetons and two days open for “whatever trips our fancy” days!

It looks like it will be jeans and boot weather there so MAYBE when we get back it will be a tad cooler and I will feel like digging out the fall decor!

In the meantime, I have to “muse” about something that has been on my mind for a few weeks…

A few months ago I received notification that I had been selected for jury duty.

What is interesting is I have been a register voter for 37 years and a licensed driver for 39 and this is the first time I have been called for jury duty. Weird.

Anyway…I got the call that I was to report for jury duty. It was for a three day trial, so if selected I should be prepared to serve three days.

I personally believe jury duty is a RESPONSIBILITY we all have as citizens of the United States. We OWE it to our community to serve when called. I didn’t try to “get out of it” and I didn’t grumble.

I showed up and I took it seriously.

I wasn’t chosen for this particular trial…but I walked away with a very disturbed assessment.

About 60 people show up for voir dire (the preliminary examination of a juror by counsel.)…all white…mostly middle aged and up.

The two defendants were young (maybe early 20s) black men. One was all tatted up…his arms AND neck! One’s britches were sagging and he had gold teeth. Both defense attorney’s spoke of “judging” based appearance…one even pointed out that it was important not to label them “thugs.”

The attorneys spent the morning asking questions of the prospective jurors…anyone ever been a victim of a crime…anyone have a felony record…that kind of thing. A few prospective jurors had prior travel plans or “moral issues” with serving and were dismissed. We broke for lunch and when we can back they read off the names of 12 jurors and 2 alternates.

I looked at these young black men’s jurors. All white…two were MAYBE under the age of 30 but pretty much all were at least 40 years old….old enough that tattoos, gold teeth and sagging britches might over ride the admonishment to “not judge.”

The objective of voir dire is to select an impartial jury from a randomly selected juror pool who will be fair, listen to the facts of the case, and render a just verdict based on the evidence.

We are not guaranteed a jury comprised entirely of our race or gender…and truthfully we are not even guaranteed a “jury of one’s peers” by our Constitution. However, the courts have ruled the jury pool must include a cross section of the population of the community in terms of gender, race, and national origin.

I have debated on whether to comment further on this matter…I will leave this here for you to “muse” with this simple question…does a jury full of white middle aged people REALLY represent a cross section of our population?