Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Joys of Jury Duty

Dog is giving the oath

My husband and I suffer from what we’ve dubbed “The Vacation Curse.”  Whenever we go on vacation—as soon on we go on vacation—bad things start happening.  We’ve endured pretty much everything:  multiple business disasters at my yoga studio, car breakdowns that stranded us for several days, personal illnesses, several veterinary emergencies. I was even notified that my father had been hospitalized with a serious health condition—when I was literally halfway to Mexico. My studio assistant quit the day I came back from my one and only week-long cruise, saying that she couldn’t handle the stress of dealing with everything that went wrong while I was gone.

Welcome to my life.

Jury duty this past week proved to be no better.  By 9:30 AM on my first day, I was already desperately trying to find out why the instructor hadn’t shown up for our morning class and  scrambling to deal with a mistake by my publisher that forced me to pull back and re-write several newsletters, e-mails, and other marketing materials that were scheduled to automatically post later that day.

Before I go on, let me say that this is my fifth time on jury duty, so I have plenty of experience to put in my novels.  I’ve served on three trials—two of them about two weeks long. I’ve experienced the grace and the challenges of reaching a verdict, as well as the frustration and heartbreak of being a member of a hung jury. I’ve done my time. I’ve given to the system.

Yet the next time I’m called, I’ll do it again.  Happily.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a survivor of a violent crime that happened about twenty years ago.  The person who committed that crime was sentenced to seventy years behind bars. Seventy years during which I can have a happy, productive, fear-free life.  Seventy years during which I don’t have to worry about him harming me again.  Seventy years during which he can’t harm anyone else.

That gift was given to me by twelve jurors and two alternates who donated close to three weeks of their lives to a trial.  Fourteen people who had business fires to put out, sick kids to nurse, life hassles to deal with, and lord knows what else.  Fourteen people who probably didn’t want to be there.

Fourteen people who will never understand how important their time was to me and to the other women my assailant hurt.

And those fourteen people were there for him, too.  They listened to make sure that justice prevailed for him, too.  In some ways, that’s even more important. If I’m ever accused of a crime, I hope busy people (most of whom would rather be doing anything else) will temporarily put their lives on hold for me again.

So you see, in spite of the hassle, in spite of my frustrations, in spite of the curse that seems to follow me, I will never say no to jury duty—not if I can help it.  I hope you don’t, either.

As for vacations, well, that’s still to be determined.


Tracy Weber

You can preorder Tracy's newest mystery, KARMA'S A KILLER,now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!


Miss Merry said...

What a wonderful testimony of the importance of serving others in a democracy.

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you, Merry. Both for commenting and for reading the article!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Wow, Tracy, you really do have good reason to participate in our legal system. As a lawyer, despite being a transactional attorney, I found being on jury duty interesting, but I'm sure I never felt as deeply about it as you do. So glad that justice was served.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Linda. Lawyers get a bad rap, but without them our system would collapse. I'm so grateful.