8/19/2004

YOUR CIVIC DUTY

Your civic duty is to serve in jury duty....however, most people will do anything to get out of it. Why? Well, lemme count the ways: it pays close to nothing, you usually aren't paid by your employer for time lost (unless you're lucky) - which usually leads to using up all vacation time, sick days, etc., the time commitment is uncertain, and maybe being forced to make hard choices.

Oprah, however, served jury duty this week and it made all the news. It was such a huge deal because she decided to serve, rather than get out of it. If she wanted to, she probably could have gotten out of it easy. How often do you hear of celebrities serving jury duty? If the media frenzy about Oprah were to serve as a barometer, then, the answer is rarely.

I've gotten 2 jury summons, both while I was in school. I, therefore, got out due to financial harship and because I'm a student. I'm really interested in law and the judicial process (maybe due to too many John Grisham books) and wouldn't mind serving on a jury. If it weren't for the lousy pay (here $10 a day at last check) and having to miss work (more $ lost), it would be an easy decision.

Perhaps there should be a change in the way jurors are compensated. Especially for those who serve for an ungodly amount of time, such as in the high-profile cases. It seems the only compensation they can get is from writing a book about their experiences. $10 a day? If they really want jurors that aren't unemployed, retired, and superinterested, then they better make the experience worth it.

Civic duty can sure be a pain. It shouldn't be.

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