The Joys of Jury Duty

Dog is giving the oathMy 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.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 A Killer RetreatKarmas a Killer (4)

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! KARMA’S A KILLER is available for pre-order now!

 

16 thoughts on “The Joys of Jury Duty

  1. Pamela Woodfield

    Thank you for posting this. First, it’s important to remember why jury’s are there should we find ourselves on one. Second, I’m saddened to hear you were a victim. You certainly aren’t one now. You have gone on to become a successful writer & I’m sure you’ve had many other victories in your life. What a strong woman you truly are.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you, Pamela. I in no way would trade my life for any other. We all live through traumas and hurts and challenges and heartbreak. It’s part of the human condition. Anything that happens to us can be a platform for growth. Including jury duty. 😉

      Reply
  2. Nancy Perkins

    Funny how jury duty is like the Lottery. A Co worker’s mother and I were called 3 years in a row. When the judge learned that fact he sent us both home and struck our names permanently from the list. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed. The federal judge had no such attitude, and told everyone that’s the breaks. I don’t mind, they have donuts and coffee. It’s heartening to see the earnestness of the jurors when they deliberate. It gives me faith in humanity, how carefully they weigh testimony and evidence. Did you find that to be true in your experience? You are an inspiration and I am proud to know you.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thanks, Nancy. The three times I actually made it on a jury, the deliberations were very earnest. Biases inevitably bled through, but in all but one case, we were able to get past them. That was the hung jury I was part of. One of the jurors believed anyone arrested was automatically guilty and wouldn’t change to not guilty regardless of the evidence, or in this case, lack thereof. She hid that belief in voir dire. But yes, I do think people try to do the best that they can. Which is why I tend to get cranky with news reports that defame jurors. It’s an incredibly tough job.

      Reply
  3. Jeanie Jackson

    Thank you for sharing from your perspective. Although I have friends who were “touched” by violent crime, we all focused on the verdict and punishment, I had not really focused on the people of the jury who brought about the verdict, about the time and thought they have to put into making a fair decision without benefit of real tools; they have to rely on the words of the lawyers and the way they lead the testimony evidence to be presented. It is a big job and I thank your for reminding us how important it is. I still won’t look forward to the job if I am ever chosen for a major case, but I will recognize how important it is.

    Reply
  4. Joan S

    Tracy, your timing couldn’t be better…I just sat through 2 voir dire’s today, and begin jury duty tomorrow. This is the 3rd jury, 4th time…and yes…I do wonder how come so few of us seem to get chosen over and over?

    I do find the whole process pretty amazing, aside from the loss of income. I would love to see more people get the opportunity to try it ;-]

    I find it amazing how the jury process brings the best out in most. They take it very serious once it begins.

    I’ll go in with a good attitude tomorrow with this post on my mind.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thanks, Joan. Everything I know about you makes me know you will be an EXCELLENT juror. Open minded, smart as a whip, and compassionate. All the best qualities both sides could hope for. Here’s granting you wisdom and peace.

      Reply
  5. Diane S.

    I was hoping you’d go on and tell us more disaster stories. Now we know you’re writing true stories not fiction! Lol.

    Reply
    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      I can pretty much guarantee, if something unbelievably funnily bad happened to Kate, it happened to me. 😉

      Reply

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