Excused

The last time I got called for jury duty, and actually had to face a judge, I had had to get up at an hour of the morning that I really don’t deal well with. I’ve never been an early riser, and I never will be. I simply can’t do it. I really hate life when I’m getting up that damned early, and anybody who gets me up this early without a very good reason is likely to face my wrath. And that judge was plainly obnoxious about the adherance to law issue; he kept saying it over and over again.

So when questioned, I was really cranky, as I declared, “There is more to justice than law.”

Today was different. I got to sleep in til about my normal waking time. And the judge, and his clerk, were unfailingly polite. He had to ask a lot of questions before I saw an opportunity to introduce my views on the relationship between law and justice, and that juries should not be confined strictly to a consideration of the facts.

Of course, this was code for jury nullification, though I actually was implying far more, challenging the very nature of the system of justice in this country. And the judge recognized at least the part about jury nullification. And so I was excused.

Had I actually served on the jury, however, I would have had to get up at an unreasonable hour in the morning each day for probably the rest of this week. And that would surely have made me cranky.

The case was ugly. The accused faced two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, allegedly committed on two different women, and one count of indecent exposure. I will have to ponder another day on why sexual assault can be considered anything less than a felony.

Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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