The other day I was sitting having lunch at a local establishment by the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. There were three people sitting within earshot of me, one of whom was had been called for jury duty and was actually selected to hear a case. One the gentleman’s companions asked him about the case, he properly told them he could not talk about it. Kudos, young man!
What really struck me about the general conversation about jury duty that followed was how thoughtful these three people were. More than once the two who were not sitting on a jury commented how weighty it would be to be selected to sit on a jury in a criminal case and have someone’s liberty in your hands. I was both surprised and pleased by the tone and tenor of conversation.
I was surprised because I simply did not expect the speaker who was not sitting on a jury to have spent much, if any, time actually thinking about the issue. In my mind, I didn’t believe anyone would think about such things before actually being called for jury duty. I was wrong (at least in this instance).
I was pleased because, as a criminal defense attorney it is important for the people who actually sit on any jury in a case I am in to think of the weight of the decision that person needs to make regarding my client.
Although I did not approach these folks before they left to thank them for their thoughtfulness, I will carry it with me into my next jury trial and, hopefully, each and every jury trial after that. I may even craft a question to prospective jurors who have been called to potentially hear a case I am trying to gain more insight into whether they have thought of how their service and, more specifically their decision, could effect someone’s life…before they received their summons for jury duty.