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Do Jurors Have A Right To Privacy?

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Have you ever come home from work looking to just kick back and relax, but before you do, you opt check the postal mail and see that official-looking envelope staring right back at you?

Your stomach starts to feel a little uneasy as you hesitantly begin to open the letter and dreading what might be inside. You then unfurl the folded contents within with a slightly shaky hand and realize that your worst fear has come true. Yep... YOU'VE GOT JURY DUTY.

Without a good enough lie and with no other way to get out of it, you're going to have to report to your local -- or God forbid -- your nearby federal courthouse. All you can do is hope that your name doesn't get called, but if you do get called, that they don't like something about you and that you're services will no longer be needed.

But as luck would have it, they DO like you and they want YOU to serve on their time-wasting, embarrassingly low-pay jury. FUCK!!!

You didn't ask for this, but the law says you've gotta do it. Ugh...

I once had a co-worker who decided that he was too busy at work to be bothered with jury duty that day. He then got a not-so-friendly phone call telling him that if he didn't show up within a half hour, a state police car would be summonsed, he would be placed in handcuffs and then they would drive him from the workplace to courthouse. I must say that I've never seen someone leave the building so fast.

So now you've been kindly 'asked' to serve on a jury and you find out it's going to be this high profile case that the entire country will be watching. Your life now for the next month-plus is going to be eating, drinking and shitting this case. How fun.

Since you are now totally hosed and have no choice but to do your civil duty, you decide that you'll be the best darn impartial juror you can be.

During your particular case, the prosecution presents a shabby argument, is unable to prove an actual murder took place, presented various disputable evidence and could provide no real motive whatsoever.

You and the other 11 other jurors now have no choice but to go by the book and determine that this accused person -- while unlikeable, irresponsible and not especially believable -- is 'Not Guilty' because no guilt could actually be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The decision doesn't mean that you believe that this person is innocent, but that no one can be reasonably certain that they actually committed a serious crime.

Little do you know that upon the announcement of your collective decision that the outside world now thinks you are the stupidest people on Earth and just made the worst decision in the history of bad decisions -- or at least the worst decision since 1995.

The average person is outraged because they don't have to apply the law to how they feel nor do they have to digest all of the details of the case that you did. Their emotions dictate their conclusions about the case and those conclusions don't actually have to be founded in fact or be put up against a 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard. Plus, it doesn't help that the media had convinced everyone of this person's guilt all along.

Luckily, the judge of your trial worries about your well-being and decides that he's going to withhold all of your names so that you won't be exposed to death threats or worse. The problem is that some news organizations don't really care about your well-being and want to get all of your names in print for every unstable kook to harass you, threaten you or even harm you. Is that really fair to a jury who were legally bound to to perform their civil duty? Of course it's not.

The point here is that folks on this Casey Anthony jury -- regardless of how people felt about their decision -- were forced by law to be on that jury. They didn't elect to be part of this media circus and were never interested in being part of the story. They were simply doing their duty -- the very same duty that most of us have been or will be asked to do at some point in our lives.

Now if some of the jurors want to be bold enough and put themselves out there for public consumption, that's on them. But I'm sure that some folks on that jury just want to go back to living a normal life again and if they do, shouldn't they be allowed that right?

Until today, I had no idea that it is normal procedure to release the names of a jury right after a trial concludes. I understand that it's done so that our legal system is open and honest, but the idea that some news organizations are trying to get these names out into the media ASAP seems irresponsible to say the least.

After all, should one of those jurors actually be harmed by some kook who invested way too much emotion into this case, who would actually benefit from that? The same people who want to put these jurors' names out there, of course. The media would have another big story and they wouldn't feel the least bit guilty about glorifying it as they do with every tragedy.

In my opinion, there should be an extended window of time for all jurors' names to be publicly released to ensure the safety of those who serve. Until the next media obsession comes along to erase this case from 99% of our short-term memories, these poor people may be in danger.

And if something did happen to one of these jurors or their families, who would ever want to be a juror on the next high-profile, highly-charged case? Would jurors begin to quietly begin wonder about their own well-being if they made an unpopular decision? If the seed of concern actually took root in some jurors' minds, outcomes of future cases could be affected.

While multiple states are now swiftly drafting a "Caylee Anthony Law" as we speak all because of the sour grapes about the decision in this case, you won't likely see anyone drafting a law to protect the identities and the well-being of these jurors due to their highly unpopular 'Not Guilty' decision. Who is going to be eager to protect those innocent people and look out for their best interest? If the media is able to get their way, no one at all.


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