An article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch by Pat Gauen gave me the idea to blog a little about jury duty. Every United States Citizen is guaranteed the right to a jury trial pursuant to the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This system was first guaranteed by the Magna Carta in England hundreds and hundreds of years ago. It’s an amazing system that provides our peers the ability to resolve disputes between citizens of the United States and to decide criminal to conviction under criminal laws. Such an important part of our system, but people take it for granted. People many times don’t look forward to jury duty and its obligations. It sure beats the alternative of having government officials come in as bureaucrats or royalty to decide our claims and crimes like in other countries.
And people can complain about jury duty, but within a bureaucratic, there’s going to be delays and inefficiencies. I certainly wish when I pick a jury that they hadn’t been sitting there for three hours super bored and wondering why their time is being wasted. When we pick juries as personal injury lawyers we should (and I endeavor to) get to the point, ask the pertinent questions and not silly ones, and try our cases as expeditiously as possible. I am sometimes called upon to try relatively small cases when insurance companies refuse to pay what’s reasonable or when the client has a challenging case. In those times, and at all times, I really try to put the evidence before the jury (the trier affect) as quickly as possible and get the case to the jury for their decision as quickly as possible. This enables them to go home to their friends, family and loved ones. I could not be more proud of America’s jury system. It has righted tremendous wrongs in our country and provided justice to people without power.