Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Op-Ed Columns

Jury duty is a right and a responsibility

IMAGINE yourself being in a courtroom among many other talkative peers. A man walks in and announces the arrival of the judge. A judge arrives and bangs his gavel on his large oak desk. You rise and then sit on a hard wooden bench while a man wearing orange jail clothes is escorted in by a police officer. The defense and prosecution shake hands and the trial begins.

This may be experienced by a citizen while serving jury duty.

When one hears the word jury, one may think of a group of citizens who attend a court hearing and vote guilty or innocent. Jury duty is much more than a day away from the office. It is the right and responsibility of Americans to give their time to serve the judicial system of the United States of America.

I believe that our government should continue to use juries in courtroom trials. There are those who believe that jury powers should be limited because most jurors have no formal legal training. Individual jurors may not always pay attention to the evidence and, worse, may take their own biases into consideration when rendering a verdict. Additionally, while deciding the fate of a person, one juror may vote and agree with the others due to peer pressure.

However, I believe our courts should keep the jury system in its present form because it's what our founding fathers intended. While writing the Constitution the Founders created amendments, which stated the rights of fellow Americans. The Sixth Amendment states the rights of an accused individual in the United States. Included in this amendment is the right of all persons to a speedy and public trial. They also have the right to a trial by an impartial jury.

Those who wrote the amendments to the Constitution intended to ensure that the innocent are not convicted. The juries of the United States make our court system a unique one rarely seen anywhere in the world. Under our jury system no one individual determines the guilt or innocence of another human being. Juries play a key role in our law and court systems and are heavily relied upon throughout our nation.

Therefore, taken in its entirety, I believe the jury system is a symbol of America as well as a part of our culture. Juries are the best way to decide if an accused individual is guilty or innocent and whether a person is responsible for damages done to someone else. Juries are picked at random to help prevent bias and unfair treatment toward the accused.

There is no perfect system to determine guilt or innocence, but trial by jury is the best and fairest system.

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