The Importance of Jury Duty

As I sit in the crowded jury lounge at the El Cajon Superior Court in Southern California, I am reminded of the importance of jury duty.  We are a nation of great freedoms, many more freedoms than responsibilities.  One of those responsibilities is to be available for jury duty.  In fact, I would place jury duty and voting as our two most important civic duties.

I will admit that jury service is a pain in the neck.  I will be out of the office at least a full day and compensation for jury service is small ($15/day per day plus 34 cents mileage).  At least California has the “one day service” rule, meaning that you are excused for 12 months if not picked to serve on a jury the first day.  The last time I was on call for federal court jury service, I was on telephonic standby for nearly a month.

While the trial by jury system in America is far from perfect, I would not trade it for any other legal system.  And without enough jurors, disputes go unresolved and criminal trials are delayed.  f trials are delayed, criminals who do not get their constitutional right to a speedy trial can be set free as a result.

So when you get that jury summons, don’t toss is aside.  It is both an honor and your responsibility to serve.

Carl Starrett

Carl Starrett is a consumer bankruptcy attorney in San Diego, California helping debtors file for protection under Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

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