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Letter to the Editor: Jury Duty is an Important Opportunity

Research shows that citizens who serve as jurors come away from the experience with a higher regard for the justice system. Even if they aren’t selected to serve in the courtroom, potential jurors waiting in the jury assembly room, understand the vital importance of their role in helping parties resolve their disputes before going to trial.

Letter to the Editor, New Haven Register

Two months ago, I received a letter from the U.S. District Court summoning me for jury duty. Like many, I was not excited about taking time off, thinking my work was too important.

I asked for a change in service dates due to conflicts, thinking that could get me excused. Jury Clerk Nancy Spielberg promptly proposed alternative dates that fit my schedule. That went exceptionally smoothly. But I still needed to take time off.

Upon arrival, I found the whole process was outstanding. About sixty potential jurors and I were ushered to Judge Janet Hall’s court. The session was well organized, efficient and, above all else, an opportunity to learn how the jury process works. Hall was the epitome of organization, information and empathy. I’m confident that everyone came away with an understanding of the jury system and its importance. Nonetheless, I still felt the need to request a hardship dismissal for work. Waiting to explain my hardship, I asked myself why my work was more important than any of the other potential jurors.

I came away with a better sense of understanding the system, trust and comfort in the selection process, but, above all, an appreciation for the need of ordinary citizens, like myself, to serve when given the opportunity.

There were health care workers, those involved in insurance, laborers. I began to realize that those summoned that day represented a cross-section of ordinary people just like me. I began to feel humbled by the experience and came to realize that it was shameful to neglect this duty. Jury duty, while not always convenient, is necessary.

I never knew if I would have been excused from the pool of jurors. The necessary jurors were selected before my number was called. I came away with a better sense of understanding the system, trust and comfort in the selection process, but, above all, an appreciation for the need of ordinary citizens, like myself, to serve when given the opportunity.

Mark R. Trojanowski

September 19, 2013

North Haven, Connecticut