They still don’t get it

June 6, 2008

Chief Deputy Jury Commissioner
Superior Court of California
County of Santa Clara
191 N. First Street
San Jose, CA 95113-1090

To whom it may concern:

You all seem to have serious difficulty with comprehension.

When I responded to your summons, I offered four reasons why I should not serve on a jury. Each of these reasons stands on its own. That you respond demanding documentation of one of these reasons without acknowledging the others raises serious questions about your ability to follow through on your threats of an arrest warrant and fine. Such things can only be done by those who display a higher level of competence than you have in this case.

Though this is plainly a futile exercise, demanding much more of you than you seem intellectually capable of, I will reiterate those reasons.

I am a full time student. I included a copy of my registration in my earlier response. Importantly, because I am a full time student, I receive financial aid which pays the bulk of my expenses for an entire quarter. Jury service would disrupt my studies, and therefore the financial aid upon which I depend.

I teach public speaking classes at California State University, East Bay. Jury service would therefore disrupt not only my own studies but those of approximately sixty students whom I can expect to register for my classes. I have access to only about $20,000 per year through student financial aid. Most quarters, I can only teach one class, meaning I earn $700 per month in addition. This summer, though I will be teaching two classes, I will still be essentially indigent.

These two factors lead to a third reason, being the extreme financial hardship jury service would impose. Your persistent demands for my service suggest a determination to obstruct my education, to keep me impoverished, and even to leave me homeless in the service of a regime that shelters elite interests while imposing heavy costs on the poor. The pittance you pay for jury service, which I understand intended to ameliorate the involuntary servitude you seek to impose will not even pay the cost of gasoline to and from court, let alone defray living costs for the entire quarter that you jeopardize. My financial situation also means I am not available between quarters, as I simply do not have money to budget for the costs of court attendance.

Finally, no judge will accept me for jury duty due to my conscientious objection to this system, which cannot be called a system of justice, but rather of law and order, where law is made by the rich and enforced to protect its own class interests against the poor, and order is a system to preserve that hierarchy.

My experience is that judges universally understand this. We might not agree on the merits of justice relative to law and order, but they seem, on the whole, to have at least a minimal level of intelligence. You, on the other hand, are simply acting as a bureaucratic moron.

You are wasting your time, the Court’s time, and my time. So, either go away, or send the sheriff. I do not believe you have the intellectual capacity to follow through on your threats and will not voluntarily comply with your “order” to appear. My response, if compelled, to your persistent harassment will be to require an explanation for how you can reconcile your demands with plain language in the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and how you can reconcile such demands of me, which might barely—and rarely—inconvenience others, with the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment.

Sincerely,

David Benfell

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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