Think About It: Jury Justice - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

May 12, 2014

Think About It: Jury Justice

If you've ever been summoned to appear for jury duty, the first three thoughts that might go through your mind are: why me? I don't have time for this; and- now how can I get off from this time-consuming function? Well, think again. Beyond the simple fact that it is a civic duty to sit on a jury of peers unless there are compelling reasons to ask to be dismissed, the actual process is fascinating and revealing.

I recently sat in the jury box for a circuit court case that stretched out over four days due to recesses and days off for various reasons. I found the instructions from the articulate judge to be clear, helpful, and thought-provoking. While we all bring our own personal baggage and beliefs into any subjective situation, you hope that the facts, as laid out by lawyers, witnesses, and/or defendants, will provide you with enough information to make a rational, objective decision that leaves you clear in  mind and conscience, without a reasonable doubt. 

My fellow jurors provided articulate rationale and spoke with conviction as we deliberated behind closed doors to come up with our verdict. People who I'd never seen before and perhaps will never see again shook off the dysfunctional nature of mid-day jury calls, 90-minute lunches, and mediocre attorney questioning to render a decision, and did so with an absolute seriousness that belied the nervous nature of being in court, speaking up among strangers, and making decisions about someone else's future. So the next time you get that simple civic request in the mail, hopefully it will remind you that this formal proceeding helps to define what a true democracy is all about. It may be an inconvenience, but it's most certainly a necessary one here in Hawaii and throughout this democratic country. Think about it…


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