What Every Juror Should Know

A jury duty notice is about as welcome as the flu. Everyone has an excuse why they cannot or should not be a juror. Serving on a jury takes precious time away from your job, your family, your appointments, and your normal daily activities. It’s an inconvenience, for sure. It’s also a privilege.

The jury is the backbone of America. One of the core values of American citizenship is the right to trial by jury. The right to trial by jury was one of the issues over which the Revolutionary War was fought. Next to voting, there is no more important duty for citizens of a democracy than to serve on a jury.

Jury service is a duty of citizenship, a high privilege, and an opportunity to observe and participate in democracy. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution protect citizens’ rights to trial by jury. A “fair trial” is synonymous with a “jury trial.”

The next time you or someone you know gets called for jury duty, think of how you would feel if you were the person whose case was going to trial. Would you want a jury of people who felt inconvenienced and miffed that they were being forced to give up their time to decide important issues for someone they don’t even know? Or would you want a jury of people who take the inconvenience in stride and view jury service as a civic duty and an opportunity to participate in America’s heritage of democracy?

“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” ~ Thomas Jefferson