Have You Read Your Jury Summons?

I’m fired up today so look out.

It appears Tuolumne County reached the H’s this month because both hubby and I received our Jury Summons in the mail this week. I received mine on Thursday and Shawn received his on Friday.

I was tingling with excitement that I might finally get to serve. It’s not like I’ve never been summoned before but because we have moved so much, every time they notify me that it’s finally my turn, I’ve moved and living in a different state. I managed to get to sit in the jury room once for a few hours but nothing exciting happened there.

About now you should be wondering what in the world has me all fired up. I finally got around to reading the summons today, what a crock. I’m so upset right now, if I had an extra $1,500 just laying around I’d seriously consider staying home in protest.

Peace Officer Exemption

I started reading:

You are qualified to serve if you…

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Are a citizen of the United States
  • Are a resident of Tuolumne County
  • Speak and understand the English Language (I gave this one some serious consideration.)
  • Have NOT been convicted of a felony or malfeasance in office (Do I really understand English? Maybe I should look up the word “malfeasance?”)
  • Are NOT the subject of a conservatorship
  • Are NOT a peace officer as defined by penal code section 830.1 or 830.2(A),(B),(C)

Gee, all someone has to do if they don’t want to serve jury duty is become a cop. Interesting. Moving on…

I began reading the Trial Juror Information included on the form.

Jurors are essential to the administration of justice. Jury trials cannot be held unless people such as you are willing to perform their civic duty.

California Code of Civil Procedures, Sec. 204 states, “No eligible persona shall be exempt from service as trial juror by reason of occupation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, or for any other reason.”

Wait did I read that right?

“No eligible persona shall be exempt from service as trial juror by reason of occupation…”

Isn’t “peace officer” an occupation? This appears to be a huge discrepancy in the law. Ok, granted I would not want a police officer sitting on a jury of my peers, if I were on trial but they could always be excused. Why would a “peace officer” not be required to do their civic duty? You know the one that is so important? Perhaps, it would jade their view on the criminals they deal with on the streets daily if they were forced to serve? Maybe they would hear something that would affect them on their job. Oh yeah, they might have to face someone they arrested. Big deal. Maybe someone will write and explain this to me?

I got over it until I read further.

Court Security

All persons entering the court facilities are subject to search…

Hold the phone. They are going to demand that I appear in court to serve on a jury, and then they are going to infringe upon my right to be secure in my person as provided by the constitution and subject me to an illegal search. Even if I have not been accused of a crime and have not been charged with any wrongdoing?

Folks I don’t know where you come from but from where I’m sitting this is plain and simple crap. I used to fly back to Michigan every year, until the September 11 incident and they started searching people. I haven’t flown since and refuse to fly a commercial airline until these measures are repealed.

I’m madder than a wet hornet after reading of this injustice being committed against innocent citizens doing their civic duty. I can tell you now that come August 15th, I could find myself sitting in jail because I have no intention of letting my rights be violated.

It is imperative in today’s society that we know and exercise our rights. Yes, jury duty is an important foundation on which our communities rest. However, it is more important that citizens know their rights under our constitution and not only request them but demand and use them.

My only recourse in respect to flying a commercial airline is to boycott them because technically they are private companies and can choose to apply security measures across the board that they feel protects their consumers. When I contract with them for service, I agree to follow their policies. If I do not agree my only recourse is to find another service that does not have such stringent policies.

Unfortunately, because the federal government has gotten into the act and legislated these security measures, the law gets a little muddled and complicated to fight. I learned many years ago to choose my battles wisely. There are many laws in place that have been mandated by congress. Many of them are illegal particularly those that affect the private sector but they will remain on the books until they are challenged in the courts.

Unfortunately, the airlines are in a bad situation. They must be licensed to operate by the FAA, the government branch which regulates the industry. Since congress has declared that this is a national security issue, the airlines must comply with the new regulations. [Nevermind that the hijackers who were flying during 9-11 had inside help and their weapons did not come though security.]

That said there is a huge difference between choosing to fly and being mandated by law to appear for jury duty. If I would attempt to protest by deciding not to comply with the summons, I can be not only jailed but also fined a hefty sum. The law cannot command a citizen to show up and then choose to violate their God given rights, any law that does so, is unjust and therefore a non-law and doesn’t deserve to be observed.

It’s time we know the difference and hold our public servants accountable.