Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The March of the Jurors

A march around a courthouse made my spouse wonder.

Yesterday, my spouse was called to jury duty, a civic duty required from time to time for those who live in the United States.

For the benefit of my readers who do not live in the United States, here's a brief explanation of what jury duty is like.  

We use a jury system to try people accused of crimes.  A jury of "their peers" decides guilt or innocence.  Each week, a pool of people is called - juries are selected.

For my spouse (who ended up not having to serve-the case did not go to trial), he saw some of the experience through the eyes of someone else - his elderly mother, who has mobility problems.  And, it made him wonder.

The jurors had to gather at the Broome County courthouse, in downtown Binghamton, New York.  As part of their duty, they were marched a couple of blocks - and up a flight of outdoor steps.  Then, after the case was disposed of, the same thing in reverse.

At least two of the group were using canes for mobility.  No ramps or other help for disabled was evident.  The people using canes had to walk, and use those steps.  There are a lot of elderly in our area. 

Normally, at this time of year, there might have been snow on the ground, too.  Fortunately, we are having mild weather.

Nevertheless, it made my spouse, and me, wonder.  What happens to the citizens who can't take the march of the jurors?

What if my mother in law had been called?  She needs a walker.  She is prone to falls. We, and his brother/wife, are her caregivers. What would they have done with her if she had been called to jury duty?

Those days, for her, may be over.  A woman of pride, would it bother her if she was not able to take the march of the jurors, and may have needed to be excused?

I hope we never have to find out.

Have you served on a jury?  What was your experience?

Today is day 17 of NaBloPoMo.

5 comments:

  1. My father was summoned for jury duty while he resided in a nursing home and was not mobile. They can be excused with a doctor's permission. While it is an inconvenience, usually there is plenty of time to get the paperwork in order.
    I served once many years ago. A woman was suing the Courthouse because she fell going up the steps to do some business there. I learned a lot about the legal system during those two days. Our foreman was an 80 years old former businessman from the area. He was as bright as a new penny and led us to a informed decision. In our area, jurors are not chosen weekly, but for a period of six months and can be called anytime during that time.

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  2. I think if they have mobility problems, they're probably excused.

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  3. We once got a letter from jury to attend but we had an exemption since we are not citizens of USA. Troubling the senior citizens especially who have mobility issues doesn't sound good. But I believe there is an excuse for them

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  4. It makes me feel sad the the in many places around the world, the infrastructure is not disabled friendly and I wonder why is that?
    Thanks for sharing about jury duty. I would not have known otherwise.

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  5. I came very close to serving on a jury, but I was able to get out of it because I was very pregnant and I had complications and had a series of tests scheduled for a crucial day in which they needed potential jurors to be available. I apparently won't get called to serve again for seven years or so? I want to believe that your mother in law would not be subject to the juror march, that somebody would make some sort of an accommodation to assist her. The people were extremely accommodating with me when they saw my condition.

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