Jury duty is the duty of being a citizen. And were it not for the unfair justice system in the country, I wouldn’t mind so much serving. That being said, I am also a bleeding heart so even if I thought a guy was guilty, I would consider his social circumstances or other factors and favor a lighter punishment. So I don’t think anyone would want me on a jury.
I was called for jury duty a few years ago. I was screened for a serial killer trial. Even locals wouldn’t remember because the accused and victims were poor, forgotten, under-educated, marginalized and mostly minorities. When I was being screened, I told them that there’s a better than 50 percent chance when someone is arrested, he or she probably is guilty. But I also said that wealthy people have a better chance of getting off because they can afford the best council. I am sure that last remark didn’t make me a favorite with the defense. I was not selected. But as I sat there, I noticed the poor defendant looked so pathetic. It was clear he was of limited mental capacity. Yet after he was convicted, the prosecutor called him the most dangerous psychopath he’d even encountered. The man also was tried for attempted murder while in prison. I still contend he is a victim of his upbringing. See why I don’t belong on a jury? See why I should never date?
Just this week, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was fond guilty and awaits the jury’s second phase determining whether he will receive the death penalty or life in prison. It goes without saying I am 100% in favor of abolishing this heinous, archaic practice of capital punishment. And I am equally uncomfortable with the US blood lust for a brainwashed child. He was 19 years old when he committed this act with his radicalized brother. His crime is horrible. But what does killing him solve? It makes us no better than any murderer.
We are way, way too punitive in this country. It’s ingrained in most people. Whatever a punishment, it’s “not enough.” Really? For you? Or to pay the price of the social wrong and earn one’s place back into society? What about rehabilitation? Redemption, Christians? We don’t even want people to vote after they’ve committed a crime. Why? And we’ve got more people in prison in this country than any other country. There are more African-American men in prison than employed in the U.S. Private prisons are now big business in this country. That simply encourages corruption. Is this all to help society or to maintain an underclass?
Our scales of justice are far from balanced and Lady Justice is far from blind to money, fame and power. Former CIA agent and current Defense Attorney and radio host Jack Rice said anyone with $100,000 will never get the death penalty in this country. We all know how many poor minorities are sitting on death row and the number proven innocent is in the hundreds. Yet I lose count of all the rich who have gotten away with murder, literally. Our war proliferators and profiteers face no justice at all. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied us into Iraq and the world knows it. This country does nothing. In fact, neither Bush or Cheney will travel to Europe because they risk being charged with war crimes by The Hague. That kind of justice could right a whole lot of wrongs.
But even as guilty as I thought O.J. was, when I watched them read the verdict, just before they read the verdict, I genuinely felt sorry for him. I can’t help but feel compassion for any human being who falls so low in their moral path. I feel pity. (OK, then my jaw dropped when I heard the verdict.) I agree with Thomas Jefferson who said, “Better one hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be condemned.” Leave me on jury duty a week or so and we can improve those odds! I’m not trying to avoid my civic duty; I’m just being honest.