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5 Ways Jury Duty is Like Parenting

October 20, 2011 6 comments

I recently had the pleasure privilage misfortune occassion of being called for jury duty.  In all of my previous juror summons I was released the night before, including the time I forgot to call and was lucky that I was released and did not face a bench warrant.  (Although secretly, I would like to play up my bad girl image just a tad – do bad girls say tad?)

I am truly very interested in serving as a juror.  I am fascinated by the process and the cases.  My dilemma, as with all things in my life, is the luxury of time.  If I miss work, my work does not magically disappear, it waits for my return. (Thoughtful and gracious my job is, huh?)  I imagine a time in the future when I don’t work as much, the kids are less dependent and then I can bask in the Perry Masonesque experience. (This may coincide with the time that I will be able to use a handicapped parking placard due to my advanced age).

As I sat in the parking lot watching people walk in and progress through the metal detectors, I felt a familiar tightness in my chest. It felt like… the pressures and stress of parenting.  I immediately whipped my head around to ensure that I had not inadvertently brought a kid with me that should be somewhere else.  Thankfully the car seats and boosters were empty, but my neck did hurt from whiplash. (I have accidentally had unsuspecting stow-aways in the past, but that story is for another time).

After spending the morning in one of the little courtrooms in my small town, I began to understand why it felt like parenting…

  1. You’re asked to pass judgment on something you did not witness.  You’re given two sides to the story, but each side has different perspective and has the ability to lie.  And thus we have the daily life of a parent.
  2. Weapons are prohibited because the temptation to use them can be high. Has anyone ever thought of putting a metal detector in my house around 5:00 pm on any weekday night?  Don’t bother- I know how to make a shank out of a Crayola.
  3. Almost anyone can serve on a jury or be a parent, but not everybody should.   I live in a unique county that is a blend of affluent people, average folks and backwoods country characters.  Despite the written reminder, the simple dress code of ‘no shorts, no tank tops and must wear shoes’ was broken by several prospective jurors.  There was even a fascinating gal who took the strategy of sharing with everyone that she had a mental disorder that would get her off of serving on a jury.  But if that did not work out, she planned to stop registering with the Department of Motor Vehicles or renewing her license, but she did state that she would, of course, still drive.  You can see where I would question the appropriateness of this woman upholding our laws.
  4. There’s other people telling you how to do it, when you really just want to go with your gut.  Think of the millions of parenting books out there.  Do you know which ones I follow- Betty Crocker and The Idiots Guide to Bartending.  If chocolate and booze won’t make me a good parent, I find it hard to believe anything else will.  As for being a juror, I consider myself a balanced, objective person – give me two seconds to look at the defendant and I’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt if they’re innocent – or at least well dressed.
  5. Your time is not your own.  My kids run my schedule, unless I am at jury duty.  At jury duty I can be forced to sit quietly (the quietly part is especially tough) for hours before I am told that my vacation interferes with the length of the trial and that I will be summoned again within 60 days.  You know what this means…

Numbers 6 -10 on why jury duty is like parenting are not far off!

Aside from the fact that this post may dash any political ambitions I might have, what do you think about jury duty?  Would you rather parent your kids after a birthday party double-header the day after Halloween or sit on a jury for a civil claims litigation?

 

Turns out my parenting skills may be transferable to jury foreman...

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