Voices from the Jury Box
Impressions and Insights from Experienced Jurors
Citizens, who had served on juries, were asked how they would describe the experience from a personal point of view.
1. What would you say to someone who asked you what it was like for you to serve on a jury?
- It is a weighty responsibility. Someone's life and well-being are in your hands, and the evidence is seldom black or white. You know that what you are doing is terribly important, but you also know that your knowledge and ability to process information are imperfect.
- Being in a courtroom, for what may be the first time, can be a bit intimidating. But as long as you know and believe in your sense of right and wrong, then it is your right to be there. It is your right, and your duty as a citizen, to serve and help the justice system.
- I felt like it was a sense of duty that was informative and enjoyable – to work and deliberate with others who want fairness in the courts.
- It's an honor to be able to perform such a meaningful civic duty. Also, if I were ever on trial, I would want someone (like me) who could be fair and objective. Additionally, you get to meet new people and gain insight into the legal process.
- It felt overwhelming but exciting. You are no longer watching TV; this is real life. A big responsibility is expected of you, and I felt honored to be chosen.
- Our country asks very little of us. The responsibility of serving on a jury, initially, was overwhelming. Your judgment is critical. I kept in mind that if I were on trial and I depended on the fairness of jurors, I would want the best person possible for me or my family.
2. What would you say to someone who has misgivings about serving on a jury?
- Please do it. Don't deny yourself the privilege of serving the justice system. Be fair and balanced in your deliberations and understand the facts of the case.
- Your fellow citizens are counting on you.
- As a citizen it is your civic responsibility to serve on a jury when called. You would want a fair trial as a plaintiff or defendant. You should afford others the same respect.
- It's a great experience, so embrace it! and enjoy it!
- Try to be fair and impartial to both the defense and the prosecution. Listen to the facts, not the feelings.
- It is an amazing and powerful opportunity and experience – one that will strengthen your sense of humanity and your own responsibility.
- Unfortunately, there are relatively few instances when most of us, in life, really make a difference. Serving on a jury is one of those instances. What you do on that jury has an impact not only on the defendant and plaintiff but on their families and the community at large. If I were a defendant, I would want to be served (and that is how I view it) by the juries I have been a part of.