Jury duty, oh those two dirty little words...or are they? Not too many people get excited when they see that card arrive in the mail--the notification that it's their turn to be a potential juror for the upcoming term in their county. Some people even feel a sigh of relief when their term has passed and they hadn't been called. It has even been joked about in many movies and ridiculed in conversations as to the punishment of jury duty. I ask you to take a different look at things. No matter what type of case you are called to evaluate, do you realize how important a juror is to a case? The jurors ultimately are the decision makers. You decide the case. Of course, you are aided by the guidance and expertise of the judge of that particular court, but you get to listen to the facts of the case and determine the outcome. This is a huge and valuable burden. If you were that plaintiff or that defendant, wouldn't you want someone like yourself to objectively take a look at the circumstances and render a verdict? These cases are so very important to so many families. This is a right, a privilege and a duty that you have been given and when that notification arrives please try to embrace the experience in a positive manner. Many times after I accompany Geoff Brown to trials, when the court permits, I call the jurors and I talk to them. I get their firsthand thoughts and feelings on the matters which were presented and amazingly I hear more often than not that it was a pleasurable, interesting experience that they were glad to take part in.
For this great task that you are asked to undertake, please know counsel, parties, and judges all appreciate you. We know that you put your lives on hold for a period of time to see cases through. We know it is difficult to be at the court's mercy and unable to go about your normal everyday living and we know what strains this can put on your personal life for a period of time. However, please know how important these matters are to plaintiffs and defendants alike. After all, should you ever find yourself in need of seeking justice through our judicial system, wouldn't you too like to have a juror on the panel just like yourself? So, I leave you changing those two dirty little words, jury duty, into something different, an act of consideration and an act of kindness, two new words: THANK YOU!