Yesterday Paw Paw had to help me out by keeping the three grandsons while I was called in for jury selection. Normally, I wouldn’t care to “do my civic duty” and would try to get out of it…but as I waited in a hallway full of lined up individuals in our local courthouse I was thinking “hey, this might be a way to get out of the house for a few days and have a break from the boys”…(forgive me, I’m human and a pretty tired Maw Maw). Once we were all checked in and the judge was talking to us, I found out that there were going to be at least two trials (possibly more). Both criminal cases, one that they would select a 16 member panel for (6 jurors +1 alternate for that case) and one that would select a 70 member panel (from which 12 jurors and 1 alternate would come from). Hmmmm….sounding interesting.
My name was called for the 70 member panel. Still not a juror, but a possibility…I then began listening to the prosecution and defense tell us a little bit about the case and explain to us our duties as a possible juror. (I had sat thru this process before, but had never been selected as a juror.) Another “incentive” I discovered was that I would receive $40 a day for my jury service, if selected. Hmmmm…During my working days that would not have been attractive, but now as a “retired” and tired Maw Maw that was quite motivating! LOL
Oooops! Ouch! But then I found out that this case was “continuous sexual abuse of a child”…OMG! Could I now be open minded enough, unbiased enough and listen to the facts clear-headed enough to decide beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not the crime was committed? Since I had first hand knowledge of this subject matter and felt quite emotionally charged over it all, as the lawyers continued to talk to the jury panel, I was torn but remained quiet until the very end. The victim was 14 at the time, it happened on more than one occasion, and the perpetrator was an adult family member. Whoa! Hitting a little too close to home. The other wrench thrown into the mix was that I’m a spirit filled Christian – and know that there is only one judge! Ouch again! What do I do, what do I do? What if they choose me? $40 a day!!?? Is it worth it? Remember, it’s my civic duty to serve as a juror if I have the chance. They may disqualify so many others that they may need me! (I know – a little “grandiose” LOL).
Might I also add – I was praying under the breath the entire time – or at least when I wasn’t texting my hubby or daughter. LOL I should also mention that while they are going thru the selection process (day one) they pay you $6.00 for your time. Yesterday was not at all profitable because I was there 6 hours – ($1.00 an hr?) You can donate the $6.00 to a worthy cause or keep the money. I kept mine – if for no other reason then to defray the cost of my lunch out. (Paw Paw did not want me coming home until I was done since the boys would not want me to leave again!) Lunch at my favorite Chinese buffet was $10.00 plus $2.00 for a tip…so once again the $40.00 a day I was going to be paid if I was chosen to serve on the jury was looking more attractive.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave my daughter in a lurch – since Paw Paw was not up to the task of keeping the boys for the rest of the week and the trial would possibly run all week. She would have to make other arrangements for care and that would be virtually impossible for her.
After returning from lunch they began to question jurors individually – those that felt they couldn’t serve without prejudice or stated that they didn’t feel like they could remain fair and impartial in judging the case. It was beginning to become a long day of elimination. They stated at the very beginning of the process that it’s really not about “jury selection” but more about “jury deselection”. They weed out the ones they feel are not an appropriate fit. At the very end of the process around 3 pm the defense asked if there was anything else that anyone needed to share that would help them in choosing a fair and impartial jury. Out of a desire for “full and honest disclosure” I felt like I needed to share that I had worked with women who had suffered similar trauma as children and once led a support group for such..but that I did feel like I could be fair and impartial…Phew! That was out! I was relieved. I’d done my part. Now it was up to God. If he wanted me on the jury than – so be it. If not, well it was back to being Maw Maw today.
I am happy to report that although the trial began today at 9 am this Maw Maw did not have to report for duty. I’m content being Maw Maw to three young boys today and embracing the “Sonshine” of a spirit led life knowing that I am making a difference in my grandson’s lives even though some days it may seem menial and insignificant. I will continue to pray that the trial I almost became involved in will turn out as it’s supposed to and that a tremendous healing will take place in the hearts of the accused perpetrator as well as the alleged victim.
To God be the Glory!