T Nation

Is Jury Duty a Form of Slavery?


#1

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jan/17/scores-plucked-off-street-for-jury-duty-in/

mike


#2

Is equating every single duty in society to slavery worth taking seriously?

The answer to this question and the one asked in the title is no.


#3

1) You're compensated (as you would be if drafted into the army, btw).

2) In every jurisdiction of which I'm aware, they choose jurors off of the voting registry, so if you don't want to be called for jury duty, don't register to vote.

3) Is school slavery? It's required.


#4

Gentlemen, in what what way is people being pulled out of a grocery store and forced to serve on jury duty different than drunken dockworkers being snatched outside of bars and pressed into the English navy 240 years ago?

mike


#5

It must really piss these people off to have to do some shit for there country. Heaven forbid they actually get called on for jury duty. Was it a bit of a rush? yes. But at the same time when you sign your voters registration card it you know that you are saying anytime that you can do this one civil duty.


#6

I'm with Mike on this one. I don't want to get into a debate about Jury Duty in general. But, the way it's presented in the article is way out of line. Anyways, couldn't potential jurors just start going on about "them queers and jews" and get themselves removed? Just a thought.


#7

It is not slavery just because you are not always allowed the luxury of fulfilling your civic obligation at your best convenience.

The court needed jurors to proceed and only 39 people out of 200 summonses showed up. How would you handle it?


#8

Well, I agree, this seems highly unusual. Seems as if the problem is that they don't enforce the penalties on failing to report for jury summonses. Otherwise this wouldn't be an issue.

The government has a problem, in that people are guaranteed a jury trial for criminal proceedings, and they are also guaranteed a "speedy" trial - but both of those would be impossible if people refused to serve on juries.

So - probably an overstepping of authority by the judge in this case. They should have granted continuances and moved the dates forward, while contacting everyone who didn't show up and threatening them with prosecution.

However, the premise was whether jury duty itself was a form of slavery - no, it's not. It's a matter of degree - totalitarian communism could be construed as slavery, while you'd be hard pressed to find many people who thought that our current rates of taxation amount to slavery. Impression into the British Navy for years might constitute slavery; emergency jury duty, not so much...


#9

Perhaps we wouldn't have a difficult time getting people to work jury duty if there were just compensation.

Perhaps too if one returned a jury duty card with a refusal to perform, checking a box essentially waiving their own right to a jury trial would suffice.

I confess that while I do find it akin to slavery, I won't be getting into some sort of shootout with the cops when I am summoned. Not exactly worth it. I'd actually like to be called up for it to be perfectly honest. Instead we force others to do what I am willing to do.

But here's a question: Many of you insist upon it being okay because it is a civic duty. What dictates a civic duty?

In the heat of a shootout, should a cop be able to deputize you on the spot and force you to help him apprehend a suspect?

If we could not get anyone to work as a security guard in the Senate chambers, should you be allowed to be drafted to work it?

If they can't get janitors to work in your state capital building, should you be able to be pulled out of work for a day with a janitor's summons?

mike


#10

Well stated, Boston.

And while the judge is this case was pretty aggressive, I suspect it had to do with the fact that far too many folks were treating "jury duty" as a "jury option" - and work couldn't get done. If this approach rankles citizens, at a minimum it will shine a light on the problem and they can seek a different solution. But it's clear there is some kind of problem.

If you can't get enough warm bodies to seat a jury, the right to a jury trial doesn't mean much.

And I agree - this isn't slavery, not by a mile. Not ever duty owed to the public is "slavery", and to be frank, we've diminished the real evil of slavery by invoking the comparison so often and so carelessly.

Mikeyali - perhaps you should try real slavery and report back. Maybe then you won't be so cavalier to think everything you don't feel like doing is "slavery".

By this low threshold, my "freedom" to drive anywhere on the road at any speed I want is a form of "slavery". My duties to take care of my child is a form of "slavery". Nonsense.

And impressment into the British navy seems an odd comparison - being forced to leave your country against your will and serve a foreign sovereign smells a lot more like slavery than the "price" of participating in an legal system that buys you a right to enjoy the same privileges of the system (a jury trial).


#11

Seconded. Every time I really lean toward libertarianism, I see arguments like this, and realize more individualism is seldom the answer to the problems we're facing now.


#12

And forced collectivism is?


#13

Yeah, true. While I didn't want to get into the overall jury duty debate, I'll have to agree with BB and Thunder. If we're to enjoy the right to a trial with a jury of our peers, not to mention a reasonably speedy trial, we have to have some kind of system to bring in jurors. It's the way things were handled in this case, that bothers me.


#14

Where did he say forced collectivism was the solution to libertarianism's failures?


#15

I concur - the new new libertarianism is, all too often, an appeal to rights with none of the responsibilities.

Those who spoke of liberty in the past knew you couldn't have one without the other.


#16

Libertarianism has failures?

And what has libertarianism to do with individualism?


#17

This is of course nonsense. Not wanting anything from others means embracing responsibility for your own actions.

The less we want from government the more responsible for our life, health, safety and education we are.

Maybe the libertarianism in your head exists only there and nowhere else?


#18

Yawn.

Individualism, libertarianism - either one - GDollars never suggested forced collectivism as his solution. So why say he did?


#19

Heh. How is that different than anyone's version of "libertarianism", including yours?


#20

No, really if you go the libertarianism has never been tried and how come that is so route, you also have to admit that it hardly had the chance to fail.

Also, GDollars wrote what he wrote in the context of forced jury duty and that is forced collectivism.