“Court Case Friday”
Jury Service – Duty and Sacrifice
Very few jurors try to get out of serving in my court – because of the patriotic speech I give.
I explain that trial by a jury of peers is the worst form of trial – except all others. I talk about the horrors of trial by combat, trial by ordeal, and trial by ruler/judge.
I remind jurors that we must make certain sacrifices for our freedoms, like voting, paying taxes, and obeying the law. Jury duty is one of those sacrifices.
I point out the hundreds of thousands of Americans made the ultimate sacrifice, by giving their very lives, for the freedoms we enjoy.
I conclude by informing them that some judges never ask jurors about hardship. For example, one of my colleagues is a decorated Marine Vietnam War hero who presided over a yearlong murder trial. I asked him how he handled the hardship excuses. He announced: “I never ask about hardship. When 55,000 Americans were drafted and died in the jungles of Vietnam, no one asked them about hardship!”
My Super-duper Overly-conscientious Dedicated Juror
I once had a juror who was “too conscientious” – if that is possible.
On the morning before the last day of trial, a woman juror telephoned my clerk. The juror explained: “I am in the emergency room at Hoag Hospital. The doctors insist on doing emergency gall bladder surgery. I told them, ‘I can’t because I am on a jury duty.’ The surgeon is standing by. Would you put Judge London on the phone, so he can tell the surgeon to postpone the operation because I need to go to court?”
I got on the phone with the woman and the surgeon. I praised her dedication. I reminded her that we had alternate jurors who were eager to serve. I promised that I would use her example of dedication in my jury speeches. I advised that although I am a legal expert, the surgeon is a medical expert, there to protect her health and life, and that we should defer to his judgment. She agreed.