06 February 2009

If you search, you find a lot of "jury duty scam" articles, wherein some miscreant exploits other people's obedience to authority (in this case, the judicial system) to get personal information.

In fact, the widely-promulgated idea that citizens are compelled to jury duty is a scam. The accused has a right to a jury, but this does not obligate innocent citizens to become property of the state. (Similarly, the same constitution allows for a military (although not the foreign intervention so common today) but does not permit conscription a.k.a. the military draft.)

You will read judges laud responsible citizens, that's fine, but you'll also read about judges having armed men pull people off the street. You will read about folks who are harmed by their jury experiences (from PTSD to physical discomfort to financial stress to child abandonment to the humiliation of a frisking) yet who never realize they are free. Free to ignore slavery notices. Free to decline the invitation mistakenly called a jury "summons".

Remember, just because an idea is widespread does not make it correct. Your only duty is to yourself.

But if you do accept the offer to participate, understand the job: look at http://www.fija.org

And don't answer personal questions in front of others --see the judge privately. Some people are so promiscous they just don't care what other people know about them. You should.
And probably do, but many are intimidated. The courts work for you, not the other way around.

Remember, other people will remember names, might take pictures outside the court, and pretty soon its on the innertubes, forever.