When comparing the system of justice in the USA to other countries, we can become horrified and perplexed at how unjust legal systems are around the world. Talking with friends, quick life motto's that have been instilled since childhood come out, "If you can't do the time don't do the crime" or "they just look like they were up to no good" or "they wouldn't be sitting in jail or going through this problem if they hadn't done something to get them in the mess in the first place." That's easy to say until you are on the other side of the law for no good reason. We also see, time and time again, innocent people being convicted and guilty people walking away free.
Our freedoms are sometimes taken for granted or not valued by fellow citizens. How would you feel if you woke up one day and someone stole your life and the citizen jury was just trying to get out of the room to get back to watching TV or working? It is a system failure when our duties as citizens are not taken seriously and left to people that have no business being on a jury, but hey, they showed up!
If we didn't have a mandatory system for jury selection we would be like any other country and that wouldn't be the American way. We all seemingly have the right to a jury of our peers to gain "fair" results, yet most citizens rank jury duty the same as a trip to the dentists office. Social media provides a source to work collectively to come up with a good story to get out of jury duty and as a person that has been called to serve, believe me, the courts have heard every story in the book, daily.
A fundamental "catch" to living in a republic founded in our Constitution is civic responsibility which is defined by the dictionary as the "responsibility of a citizen." Civic responsibility is comprised of actions and attitudes associated with democratic governance and social participation. Civic responsibility can include participation in government, church, volunteers and memberships of voluntary associations. Actions of civic responsibility can be displayed in advocacy for various causes, such as political, economic, civil, environmental or quality of life issues.
Civic means, "of, relating to, or belonging to a city, a citizen, or citizenship, municipal or civil society"
Responsibility refers to "the state or quality of being responsible or something for which one is responsible such as a duty, obligation or burden"
A citizen is "a person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a state or union"
Citizenship means "a productive, responsible, caring and contributing member of society."
The US Government and Department of Homeland Security state that citizenship means to "Stay informed of the issues affecting your community. Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others. Our government also lists the Citizens Rights and Responsibilities.
The small burden of serving as a juror is the price we pay for the privilege and responsibilities we have as citizens of this country. One day, it could be you or someone you love involved in a trial and this duty should be taken seriously to maintain our system of justice. Our very survival, your very survival and freedom, depends daily on how we perceive our duties as a society and not to downplay it.