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)
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.”
What are your thoughts on jury duty?