Jury Duty

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This morning I was faced with a prospect that most Americans dread: Jury Duty! As a Registered Voter here in Santa Cruz, from time to time I receive a jury summons. I had actually received the summons this past October, but I couldn’t make the date they specified, due to travel obligations. So, I asked for a postponement, and was granted one – until today.

I was asked to report to the Watsonville Courthouse – I’d never been to the Watsonville Courthouse. It was jam packed with jurors like myself, standing quietly in the hall outside the courtroom, waiting to be called in. I don’t know what was going through everyone’s minds…how to get out of jury duty, most likely…what phrase would get them off the jury list…

Before showing up, though, I had determined that I would not attempt to dodge my civic responsibility. I have yet to actually serve on a jury, and while I feel I can ill afford to spend time away from work, we do each have a responsibility to be a part of our community. Someone who serves on jury is often subjected to raspberries such as “What, couldn’t get out of it?” – but if I must suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…or something…so be it!

A few minutes after we were all seated in the courtroom, the judge came in…we all rose (just as on TV) and sat when the judge said we may be seated. The judge then thanked us for coming, and told us we would all be going home. A sad thing had happened this weekend, you see – Art Danner, a Santa Cruz County judge, unexpectedly died:

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2006/January/29/local/stories/01local.htm

I didn’t know Mr. Danner personally, but he was a well respected and well regarded member of the community, and to die so suddenly and so young must be absolutely devestating to his family and friends.

As a consequence, the whole court schedule is out of whack, and for that reason, they had no trial to assign us to that day. We were dismissed, and we don’t have to come back for at least two more years.

Ordinarily, most folks would be happy to have been let off the hook. I would have been, too – but under the circumstances, I just wasn’t feeling the magic. My heart and prayers go out to the Danner family.

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