But not in a good way... I was here yesterday
for jury duty.
The criminal courthouse was connected to this...
the county jail.
It was a bit unnerving for it was also located in a rough neighborhood of the city.
This was my first time being summoned to criminal court for jury duty. Civil court is where I've always been sent so this was a new experience for me. Around the lunch hour I was called to a courtroom on the 5th floor for the jury selection process. They sent 50 of us to this courtroom to hear a brief description of the case and answer questions to the judge first, then the state attorneys and the defense attorneys. Any of them could decide whether to keep us as jurors or not.
In general, most people do not like being selected for a jury because it disrupts their life. Let's face it, it's inconvenient. I, too, was hoping not to be selected on this jury for my own inconvenience and for the type of case it was.
The charges were kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor.
So you hear all sorts of excuses why a person cannot serve on a jury. Due to the nature of this one, many of the prospective jurors claimed that someone close to them had been raped. Immediately they were excused.
We were all asked the same set of questions such as:
"Do you know personally any judges, criminal defense attorneys, or police officers?"
"What high school did you go to?"
"What do you do in your spare time?"
"What do you like to read?"
I was questioned near the very end and I had noticed that anyone who stated they went to a Catholic High School were excused by either the state or the defense. They didn't say it was Catholic but the ones mentioned were all prominent ones in our city's area. As for myself, I did not go to a Catholic High School but when I was asked "What you do in your spare time?"
I responded, "I teach religious education, I'm involved in pro-life work and I'm a Catholic Blogger."
There were all sorts of rumblings at the state attorneys table and the judge turned to them and asked if they had any questions for me. Surprisingly, they said no and excused me from serving on this case.
This surprised me because I thought I would have been the exact type of person the state would want serving on the jury. Maybe they thought I would blog about it, and I am, without disclosing the names of any involved parties. Why would the state care that I'm Catholic and serve as a religious education teacher and do pro-life work? Was this religious discrimination? Admittedly, I was stumped.
I believed the defense would send me packing. Not the state. I'm really curious to know why but the truth is, I'll never know and I did my duty by going down for jury duty.
More importantly, there was a minor girl who allegedly was kidnapped for a couple of days and sexually assaulted. Her family was in the courtroom watching the jury selection as was the defendant. All parties involved need prayer asking for God's forgiveness, mercy and healing. There was definite suffering and pain in the family and I felt it.