“The judge’s job was to ensure that the people were able to remain unbiased. Her questions were simple. Questions like: are you willing to consider giving someone a financial award based on pain and suffering? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to be fair in your judgment in this case?”
One of the greatest days of my life was when I was summoned for jury duty. You heard me right, it was absolutely exhilarating. So far, I’ve only had the pleasure of being summoned once, but ever since then, I’ve been on pins and needles until the next time.
I still remember walking into the courtroom. As we entered, the plaintiff placed her arm in a very uncomfortable position. I was “weirded out” by how she was standing, but as I walked closer to her I realized what she was doing. She was showing off her 10-inch scar.
As we stood to greet the judge, we–the dozens of potential jurors–silently waited for the judge to explain the case. It was very simple. The plaintiff was suing the defendant for driving under the influence and causing her pain and suffering.
One by one, potential jurors were called to the front and interviewed. I had heard of this process, watched it in the movies, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that it was everything I ever dreamed of and more.
The judge’s job was to ensure that the people were able to remain unbiased. Her questions were simple. Questions like: are you willing to consider giving someone a financial award based on pain and suffering? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to be fair in your judgment in this case? Do you have any extenuating circumstances that will keep you from being able to serve? One by one, the jurors gave their answers. I will never forget some of the jurors’ excuses for why they would not be able to serve on the jury. There were many that day, and here are some of the most notable.
The openly racist lady
The day started off with a bang. The plaintiff happened to be Hispanic. The first lady told a story about some “abuse” she received from her previous employer. It ended up with her having to quit her job because of how unbearable it was working for this man who happened to be from Mexico. She then looked to the judge, sobbing. and said, “Right now. because of how my employer treated me. I’m not sure I would be able to judge fairly towards the plaintiff in this case.” She went on to say, “I’m sure she is probably a very sweet lady with a wonderful family, but I don’t think I would be able to get over the fact that she reminds me of my employer.” Incredulous, the judge asked, “Are you saying that you won’t be able to avoid racism towards the plaintiff because of what country she’s from?” The lady simply said, “That is correct.” And so the floodgates were opened.
The guy who was involved in accident as a youth in England
This one was the most shocking. This man with a British accent described, in very gruesome detail, the story of when he was driving as a young man, within the first month of having gotten his drivers’ license, and hitting a young boy who was crossing the street. He kept saying, “I am so fascinated by this I wish I could serve on this jury, but I simply can’t; any conversation about car accidents will bring back that boy’s face to my mind.” As the judge pressed him and tried to convince him that it was a completely different situation, he insisted, “I am incredibly fascinated by all this, I really, really wish I could do this, but I cannot.”