What if jury service made you a better citizen? New social science research on juries and democratic engagement makes exactly that argument. Like an immunity boost for our civic constitution, jury service appears to ward off civic apathy.
When my jury summons notice appeared in the mail, all I could do was breathe a sigh of despair. You know how it is: the jury in-take crowds, the lists of instructions to be followed, the canned videos.
Every year millions of Americans are summoned to jury service. Yet, no organized, centralized space exists to collect or share what jurors think about this experience. Juror voices are lost. And, this is a loss for the court system and American democracy.
Criminality is not unique to New York in the 21st century. However, we can glean from our texts that living a religiously committed life means working on four levels of transformation: the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and societal.
The shame meted out on women and the harsh public criticism leveled on moms over openly breastfeeding makes no sense -- especially when there are so many other disgusting things we, as humans, allow other humans to do unchecked, unpoliced and unpunished.
Nowadays, it's more difficult to know when summer is about to end. Both Now Husband and Miracle the Cat continue their usual routine year-round, and give no indication of being aware that the calendar pages are flipping by.
At first I assumed the Jury Summons was addressed to me, possibly my husband. I thought. I have so many projects booked up for the next several weeks, jury duty would be such an inconvenience. They probably serve bad coffee, too. And then I looked closer ... it was addressed to my son.
Last week, North Carolina state Judge Gregory Weeks issued a sweeping ruling setting aside the death sentences of three North Carolina prisoners because of a wealth of evidence proving the prosecutors' racial bias in jury selection.
Isn't it ironic? Here we are deciding on another's freedom when our own freedom has been denied. We aren't given the right to flip jury duty off. We aren't given the choice to turn it down. We simply must show up.
It was an offer I couldn't refuse: Report to jury duty for a mob trial or wake up next to a horse's head. My wife, Sue, who wakes up every morning next to the other end of a horse, said it would be safer to do my civic duty than to end up on trial myself.