Getting called up for jury duty generates mixed emotions in many of us.
Some see it as an honour to participate in the justice system. Others wonder about those types of people.
The contrast was never quite so clear the other day when I witnessed someone who was genuinely disappointed to miss out.
They got called up, which as citizens of this proud fair land, we’re all destined to do at some stage of our lives, usually an inconvenient stage, somewhere between canteen duty and going to work.
But unlike most of us, she made it through several stages of balloting before being cut.
As a result, she was gutted. That struck me as odd because the idea of being stuck in court with a bunch of strangers for an indeterminate amount of time determining the guilt, or otherwise, of some stranger fills me with reasonable doubt in terms of what I generally think is “fun”.
And I have been known to supply letters from my employer backing up this conviction which usually fall on deaf eyes at the court house.
The usual refrain being to ‘get in line and wait your turn’ for the cattle call that is the jury selection process. Designed, as far as I can tell, to earn you a parking ticket.
But not this particular person the other day. She was, as they say in legal circles, “right up for it”.
Attracted by the heady mix of paid time off work, the chance to see the legal system up close and personal, and if guilty, strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.
Not that power should go to your head.
She made it through several screening rounds before being rejected at the last hurdle on the basis, according to her, that she was not the a) right gender b) not the right age, and/or c) not in the right attire.
A tricky one to adjudicate from my point of view because, prima facie, I had lobbied for the yellow top, which she had chosen not to wear.
Not that we knew the reason why she was cut, but instinct told me that in this sensitive moment I should go with the vibe, because some people CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!! (about my fashion advice).
“Objection your honour”, but no, she’d had to walk, bitterly noting that there were others left in the jury who didn’t look half as impartial as her.
The sense of rejection was palpable.
She claimed the defence, or the prosecution, or both, had profiled her.
Quite rightly marking her down as someone of superior intelligence and unwavering diligence who may very well pose a threat to any barrister off their game.
Not that she’d formed any biased opinions, but if the evidence presented ...
A conspiracy, a plot, a great outcome, I reasoned.
But she couldn’t see that. She’d wanted to participate and had been spurned.
Justice denied before the arguments had even started.
Getting called up for jury duty’s like that, I’d said, only to be told to rest my case.