UPDATE (or further study): In the comment(s) on this post, TS makes the point that only question 45 should be asked. I share his disbelief and dismay about the other questions I have to answer. But back to question 45, I wonder about this too-and would appreciate the opinions of others. Mrs. Curley and I have been batting this back and forth all day.
Scenario: You are doctor (or a nurse) in a hospital. You walk by a room where a doctor is just about to perform an abortion. You clock him to prevent the abortion at that instant. You are arrested and charged with assault and battery. I am on the jury. The judge, in his instructions, says that no matter how you feel about abortion, the jury's job is to determine simply if the You, the defendant, is guilty of assault and battery. (Or would he instruct us to dermine simply whether YOU clocked the doctor or not-two different determinations). I, on the jury, say no criminal assault and battery took place as YOU were defending the unborn baby. The law says otherwise. Yet can I send someone to prison for doing what I think is right? And if I am predisposed to find YOU innocent in this case than my answer to Question 45 would be no and therefore am theoretically excluded from any jury service.
I note that judges themselves are not bound by this as they can be activisit in making law rather than interpreting law. So why can't juries do the same when unjust laws are being challenged?
I received summons for jury service on Friday in the mail. I have served on a traffic court jury once, but this is for the United States District Court of South Carolina-that is Federal Court. They ask you to fill out a questionaire and apologize in advance for its invasiveness. Not only are they invasive (what's that about a right to privacy???????-Ah Ha! only when it suits the forces of death....) Let's see what you all think of some of these questions:
17. What are your hobbies, special interests, recreational pastimes and other spare-time activities, including sports?
18. What magazines and newspapers do you regularly read?
20. What social, political, civic, religious, and other organizations do you belong to or are you assoicated with?
22. Have you displayed any bumper stickers on you automobile in the last twelve months? If yes, please list each bumper sticker.
There are also many questions about the kinds of jobs you, your spouse and your family members (father, mother, brothers, and sisters) have held, and about any criminal offenses committed by any family members. There are also several questions on whether you could be unbiased against different in numerous situations.
Question 45 is very interesting: Regardless of any opinion you may have concerning a particular law, would you be able to set aside your feelings and follow the law as stated by the judge?
This last questions brings up many thoughts. I seem to remember reading somewhere in the last 2 years or so a lengthy article or debate about how juries should be able to nullify unjust laws. This purpose of question 45 would seem to be asked in order to disqualify anyone who had this notion. Haven't decided exactly how to answer Question 45 yet-honestly, yes-but the exact wording....
How about the others? Is it just my imagination or do these questions have nothing to do with impartiality and everything to do with trying to predetermine a verdict by ruling out certain members of the public for jury duty? I mean really, how would raising chickens or making wooden cabinets, or playing football with my kids bear on my suitability for jury service? Would like to hear the thoughts of others. Perhaps someone from Southern Appeal would weigh in?
From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!