Monday, April 4, 2011

Sidetracked by Jury Duty

by Kelley Lindberg

Some days just don’t go the way you plan.

Late last week, I got a postcard telling me I might have to report for jury duty this morning. I had to call a number Friday night to find out for sure. I called it. Yep, they needed me to show up.

So I showed up at the courthouse bright and early this morning, certain I’d be rejected as a possible juror because I have opinions, I’m a writer, and I’m an uppity female. Lawyers hate people like me, right?

We started the day with more than 50 of us sitting in a room. A couple of really mind-numbing, nerve-wracking hours later, we were down to 8 of us.

Guess who’s Juror #8?


Immediately after the jury selection process was over, we jumped right into the trial. It’s only expected to last for two or three days, which is a relief.

While it’s not at all the way I expected to be spending my week, I feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing anyway. It’s easy to spout off about my civic duty, I guess, but I really do believe in our form of government, the rights we too easily take for granted, and the responsibilities that come with those rights. It’s my responsibility, my duty, and my honor to participate in this trial by a jury of peers, no matter how corny it sounds (and no matter how awful the case).

Although I thought I’d spend an hour or two getting rejected and then be back home working, it turns out that getting my week hijacked and rearranged for me reminds me that sometimes I have to look to the larger world and set my own problems into perspective. And it also reminds me once again how privileged I am to live in this country, where justice isn’t always easy, but it’s crafted by our own hands.

Next week I’ll be back writing about food allergies. Until then, keep your fingers crossed that I and my seven new friends reach the right verdict.

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