May 09, 2012

The jury's in.

Last night I officially signed up for jury duty. As much as one can actually make the choice to sign up for jury duty.

All day I waffled about whether I should say that it would be a financial hardship for me to sit on a jury. Unless you're unemployed or your employer still pays you jury duty is a financial burden on everyone. $20 a day for the first ten days. $60 a day after that until you hit fifty days (yes, ten weeks, assuming weekends aren't involved) you get $100 a day. At least, that's what my internet research told me. I've read in some places than in our province you get $50 a day but I'm not holding my breath. I have asked my boss if he'll pay at least a portion of my salary and he's looking into it although I'm not holding my breath. It's not that he's not a nice guy, it's that he has a business to run and I can certainly respect that.

Everyone I've told that I've got jury duty (or at least the initial selection) coming up has said how much it sucks. Financially it's a clear blow but aside from that I'm not sure. I had a fair amount of time to think about and research it yesterday and I've learned a few things. First, jury duty has been likened to slavery. I guess I'm lucky I live in a province that bothers to pay it's jurors even a small amount. Second, it really is the luck of the draw. Most people go their entire lives without ever being called for jury duty and some get called up numerous times. I read an article (rant) by someone who had been called up three times.

I get it. Jury duty is boring and can be incredibly scarring. People think it's a violation of their rights. I think that while jurors could certainly be better compensated for their time (think EI) it's still an important institution. I just really believe in democracy and the way our country is run. Before you get angry, I don't agree with all of it. There is a lot, in fact, I disagree with. I disagree with the first past the post voting system that our country has had in place. I believe that a single transferable vote system would be better for democracy. I also believe that ship has sailed for our province. I think that as inefficient as it might seem to make our government  it would make society more democratic. And I like democracy. I see the reasoning behind a jury of one's peers. As painful and boring as the process might be I still think it will a worthwhile experience.

I did some deep thinking last night on the way home and made a decision. Karl and I make a good income between the two of us. For a year and half we essentially lived off of his wages with me bringing in some income but nothing significant. Is it really that big of a financial burden on us to lose a couple weeks wages? Right now, no, not really. It's an inconvenience to be sure but we're still going to be able to put food on the table, gas in our cars, and Tim Hortons in our bellies. And isn't it my duty to support the system I live in?

All this speculation and I'm not even sure if I'll be chosen to actually serve. That's enough talk of this until June 4th when I'll know more.

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