Why Jury Service is Important
Oct. 16, 2014
I happened to be in France for my oldest daughter's wedding two weeks ago. While there I got in a discussion with my daughter's future father-in-law about jury trials, something not available to the average citizen in his country. He was very intrigued by the whole idea of a group of citizens from the area deciding cases involving other citizens from the same area. He thought it was a wonderful idea.
As the song goes, "you don't know what you've got till its gone". Right now big corporations are doing their best to incrementally take away your right to a trial by jury. Corporate wrongdoers don't like jury trials because they can't buy them off like they can the politicians. That is how they are chipping away at the right to trial by jury, by getting legislatures to pass laws immunizing them for their irresponsible conduct or allowing them to force consumers to an arbitration hearing instead of a trial by jury. It's almost impossible now to find any kind of consumer contract (credit card, mortgage, bank, etc.) that doesn't contain a clause requiring mandatory arbitration in a forum selected by the Corporation.
If you are ever called for jury service I hope that you will appear. Each day, in every courthouse in this state, jurors serve as the voice of the community. Most people think only of criminal cases in that regard, but it is equally applicable in civil cases.