Thursday, June 18, 2009


About six weeks ago Cole and I happily trotted out to the mail box.. hoping to find the latest Pottery Barn catalog or my newest Real Simple, but instead, all I found were bills and a jury summons.

"Great." I mumbled. "It's bad Mommy?" Cole asked judging the expression on my face more than the words that came from my mouth. "'s not good" I opened it.. and immediately began looking for my out..remembering something about my mother always getting out of it for having small children. It clearly says if you work outside the home and have childcare you can't offer up the excuse.

I happily postponed..then failed to show, but called them and asked to reschedule and finally I was all out of options. Monday was it. Jury duty here I come. Armed with the second book in the Twilight series, comfy but appropriate clothes and my iPhone- I drove myself down to the County Courthouse.

You know the drill. Room of hundreds..everyone stands in line because they think their excuse is better than everyone else's to get out of it.. For two hours this went on. I sat in silence reading my book. Then they started assigning us to cases. I get sent to a courtroom with about 70 others. The process of voir dire began. For hours we sat for the judge to first explain to us how the jury interviewing would take place, and then to be questioned by the DA and the defense attorney. I was on the front row. Perspective juror number 7. All I could think about was getting out of it and as I listened to this room of my "peers" answer questions - I was shocked by some of the responses. I realize I am somewhat of a sheltered, liberal thinker, but the room full of my peers made me glad for my upbringing.

They don't give many details about the evidence or the case. We only knew this: 6 counts of indecency with a child.

When the DA asked if anyone in the room would have issue with handing down judgement, one lady raised her hand and said " I'm a Christian and I believe that we will all be judged one day- I just don't feel that it's my place to do it.. I can't pass judgement on another human being.." I sort of raised one eye brow... having seen this woman spend 10 minutes with the judge in the initial holding room trying to get out of it... I was, if I'm honest, a little skeptical. The DA said "Fair enough" and visibly marked her off the list.

I thought about that woman's statement. For a minute I thought she was totally wrong to say it. Indecency with a child? As a parent or a person, how could you not offer judgement? Then I started thinking about my own own judgement if you will. Why is it that I don't think it's my place to judge on some issues, but on others I have no problem....shouldn't our human ability to "judge" be consistent?

The Defense attorney started doing the questioning at this point. He started picking on me because I'd managed to remain fairly quiet during all of this hoop la. Probably because I will still shocked at this room full of my peers. My rule out question was this: "Ms Peterson could you consider probation for the accused if he was convicted on all six counts?" Maybe it was my answer or maybe it was because I started arguing with the defense counsel about the way he was asking the question, but I was released. I'm glad... I didn't want to hear the particulars of that case, but I could have passed judgement and I can't decide if that's good or bad.