Summoned to Serve a Slice of Justice???

I’ve been summoned to appear as a juror…

A small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of cases that make their way through Canadian courts result in jury trials. In criminal law, they are reserved for only the most serious of offenses, such as murder. (CBC News)

court

As a Canadian citizen, it is my, “civic duty to respond to a jury Summons and, if chosen, to serve as juror.”

Me, on a jury, weighing evidence against a man or woman on trial for …who knows what? My gut clenches. I just want to write.

Black and white  courtroom scenes flood my mind. Perry Mason, my Grandmother’s crush, pops into view, having heard his shows playing in the background of my childhood. But this is a Canadian court, and the systems of justice around the world vary greatly. Even the question of trial by jury vs judge – varies. (Yes, I know I used the word vary twice, but you get the idea) .  In the US, “the right to a trial by jury for both criminal and civil cases is more firmly entrenched in the constitution, [so] jury trials are much more common.” (CBC) In Europe, however, trial by judge or a panel of judges is more common. Different ways to weigh a man’s soul?

Hmmm. If I was in deep doo doo, which would I prefer? It’s an intriguing question and I have to admit the human process of justice fascinates me – on paper.

***

Justice is a central theme in your stories, so this will be a good opportunity,” says a voice in my head. The snooty one.

“Oh, yeah. You’ll get twenty dollars a day if you’re lucky, to sit in a hot court room and listen to grisly details of murder, or worse, that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Great opportunity,” says another. My cynic.

“You’re not supposed to be doing it for the pay. It’s your civic duty.”

“But what about my life?”

“Stop being selfish. You will appear and you will serve if requested because someone has to, to make our system work, and while it may not be a perfect system, it’s the only one we’ve got, and if you were on trial, you’d want someone to show up.”

“Can’t I just watch reruns of Perry Mason? Sometimes when he’s really excited he gets a glint in his eye.”

“You’re hopeless.”

****

What are your thoughts on jury duty?

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

Jo-Ann Carson writes a saucy mix of fantasy, adventure and romance. Her latest stories are in the Gambling Ghosts Series: A Highland Ghost for Christmas, A Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day, Confessions of a Pirate Ghost and The Biker Ghost Meets his Match. An anthology of the novellas will be coming out this summer. Currently she is working on Midnight Magic, A Ghost & Abby Mystery, the first book in a spin-off series from her Viking ghost story. Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, playing Mah Jong and drinking good coffee. You can chat with her on social media: You can find all her links on her website - http://jo-anncarson.com

20 thoughts on “Summoned to Serve a Slice of Justice???”

  1. I think being called to serve on a journey is a privilege and a symbol of our Canadian democracy. Sure it can be disruptive to one’s lifestyle, but as a writer there will be opportunities to study an array of personalities keeping our rights and responsibilities in order. For most people, it is a once in a lifetime experience.

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    1. Hi Jodie
      Well said, and I totally agree with you. It is my responsibility, and the people watching opportunity will be wonderful.
      But, I do worry about the grisly details. Imagine sitting through some of the murder cases we’ve all heard about (Karla Homolka comes to mind). I’m one of those people who turns off the TV to avoid hearing and seeing details. But I will need to listen closely and consider everything.
      I have to admit it, I’m scared.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  2. Wow – heavy stuff. Hmmmmm… not sure my standing. On one hand, it is the right thing to do, but on the other, each persons’ individual personal lifestyle demands need to be factored. Best wishes to you…Lisa

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    1. Hi Lisa
      I know I find it hard to find my footing in this one. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  3. Hey, Jo-Ann. Thanks for another creative and thought-provoking post. So I’m presuming you’ve never served on a jury before? Of course, I don’t know how things work in Canada, but in the US, panels of potential jurors are called in, but only a small percentage actually serve. I’ve been called 4-5 times, but only served once. Wanted on one that I’d got on the panel for, but they didn’t take me. Think they didn’t like my responses to some of their questions. LOL I’m a hard liner where rules are concerned and the guy was claiming he didn’t run the red light, even though a police officer and the cameras said he did.
    I also, look at the opportunity as a great opportunity for research besides doing my civic duty. Kind of like voting.
    I confess, while I was teaching and would get those, I wasn’t as excited about going. Hard to plan for a sub for an indeterminent time.
    But now, I kind of like it. Hope your service isn’t too onerous and you get new plot ideas from the experience–that is, if you actually serve.
    I’ll have to give more thought later to whether your system of judges as jury or ours of laymen as judges is better.

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    1. Wow Marsha
      Five times! I’ve been called once before and was crossed off the list before I even appeared. I like how your backbone got you into trouble. Too funny.
      I feel like I’m wading into a swift moving river with a strong current. Who knows where I’ll end up.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. Always love your comments.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  4. I’ve served on a jury once, years ago. I remember that there were many boring stretches where
    I tried very hard to catch who was lying.They all seemed to be repeating the same thing. The accused had smuggled pot across the Canadian border in a bale of hay! One juror with, an exacting sense of justice, finally made us let one of the accused go free.She just wasn’t convinced – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that he was guilty. There was no doubt in my mind.

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    1. Hi Helena
      Great story! I hope I get one like that. It would make a good short story.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  5. I like reading about justice and court rooms. Actually being part of the proceedings, not so much! In the last six months I’ve gone through a human rights case (was settled before hearing) and rentals man hearing which went in my favor.

    I was a nervous wreck so I hate to think what I’d be like if I was on a high stakes case such as Karla Holmoka although I don’t think I’d have a hard time finding her guilty.

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    1. Hi Pat
      I didn’t know that about you. The court following thing. Fascinating.
      I hope I get an easy case that’s over quickly so I can focus on NY. Have you figured out which workshops you want to go to yet. They really look awesome.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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    1. Hi Shereen
      Too funny. I hope the universe hears you.
      Imagine if a group of writers were on a jury. What fun we could have discussing motivation and red herrings. lol
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  6. Was called once but we were moving so that eliminated me. Because I was a victim of violence chances of me being an unprejudiced juror would be slim.

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    1. Hi Pat
      Every time I think of you working hard as a nurse, and being attacked I shudder. I’m so sorry for that.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

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  7. My husband’s been called a bunch of times and served on a gang-related murder jury. I was called last summer but was dismissed because they’d reached their quota. Mostly I sat around bored out of my brains as they worked their way through the crowd. Thank god for books! I showed because I had to, but was very relieved to not serve.

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    1. Hi Joan
      I wonder how your husband liked the gang murder trial. Just the sort of thing I’m worried about. I think I can do bored, like you with my kindle close by, but I’m worried about the trial running into July and I have Thrillerfest all booked. Life is never easy, but then it would be boring.
      Great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Best
      Jo-Ann

      Like

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