Posted by: theedwardsfam | January 28, 2010

Jury Duty

So I had Jury Duty today and have been thinking about it.

First, I totally forgot until last night when my phone reminded me.  Instead of being grateful for the opportunity to serve my community I GOT MAD!  I got mad at myself for forgetting about it.  I got mad at the fact that my day with my family was out the window!  I got mad at the government for ruining my one day off & possibly more.  I got mad at whoever broke the law requiring people to have to serve on a jury.  I got mad at my wife for trying to remind me that I should have a good attitude about it.  I even got mad at the police for catching the guy…ok, so I didn’t get mad at them, but I got mad at everyone else! (I have since repented and apologized to my God & to my wife!)

I couldn’t sleep all night (the Lord telling me I shouldn’t be upset!) and when I finally got up I was changing my attitude.  I read my Bible, played with Peter & Jen for a few minutes and then drove to the courthouse thinking of how God was going to teach me and use me in this situation.

Here are some things I thought while at the courthouse for 4.5 hours today.

1) I sat next to several people while waiting, some were nice & respectful, others were strategizing how to get out of jury duty (and talking about how they were wasting their lives drinking, etc – my opinion not theirs!)

2) The selection process by the Judge and lawyers is interesting.  I was able to answer some of their questions in a way that pointed to Christ (like we had to say what we liked to read…I said the Bible! and got a few double takes) :).  It was interesting to try to guess the motive or reason behind their questions (whether or not they wanted me or another person on the jury).

3)  There should be some kind of consequence for people who are unwilling to serve and are unqualified to serve because they aren’t responsible or “upstanding” citizens.  Why is it the people who don’t want to “waste their time” get to go home and actually waste their time getting drunk (one guys plan – not kidding) while those who are model citizens (like the two women next to me) have to stay and give up 2 days???

4) I worked in a courthouse for 4 years (my first job) and I knew more than most people what was going on, but it was still very different being in the jury box and being asked questions.  It was very hard to understand how some people couldn’t answer some basic questions they were asked.  Some just couldn’t let the possibility that the man accused of the crime might not testify (right to remain silent) not sway their opinion.  others it seemed were just trying to get dismissed…and they did!

5) During a recess (break) two of the potential jurors were talking about bootlegging (stealing) microsoft office & other programs for their home computers…IN THE COURTROOM!  I was shocked!

6) I did have quite a bit of time to read George Muller’s autobiography (first 60 pages) and review some memory verses and met a lady from a church I partner with often for events, etc.  So it wasn’t an unprofitable use of my morning.

7) Each side (prosecution & defense) gets up to 5 “peremptory challenges” which means they can ask for a juror to be dismissed without stating a reason.  I don’t know what the reason was, but I the defense excused me with their 3rd challenge.  Possibilities: 1) I stated that when you break the law (cocaine) there is a consequence for it. 2) I’m a pastor – therefore have higher standards than most people – or so they think and HOPEFULLY SO if I follow the Bible instead of the world. 3) They didn’t like the fact I have friends in Southern California who are law enforcement officers…despite the fact that I said ALL of those facts wouldn’t keep me from making a decision based solely on the facts that were presented.

8) I wished I had answered at least one question in a way that pointed to Christ.  I was asked if my friends who are police officers ever make mistakes. I said yes.  I wish I had said, “there’s only been one person who never made a mistake and He died almost 2000 years ago.”  But hopefully the other things I said pointed the 60 people in the room towards Christ.

So, I got to leave at 11:30 am and spend the rest of the day with my family! :)

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