‘Hazardous Lottery’ at Superior Court
Our readers wrote letters throughout 1989 expressing their viewpoints on a variety of issues. Here are condensed versions of some of those letters. We appreciate their taking the time to share their viewpoints and look forward to hearing from more of them in 1990.
Allow me to suggest a powerful deterrent to would-be violators of the law in Orange County. Let them spend one day--just one--in the Jury Assembly Room and/or the jury box of the Superior Court of the County of Orange. The problem, as I see it, lies not at the bench, nor with the attorneys, but with the hazardous lottery know as “a jury of our peers.”
I arrived at the Superior Courthouse, naive as a college freshman, eager to perform my jury service in the most thoughtful, unbiased manner possible. What I encountered was a room filled with prospective jurors who know that they, too, will perhaps spend interminable hours waiting to be called. Do they bring books or magazines? Correspondence or projects to be completed? Crosswords puzzles even? No. Instead, multiples of the citizenry assembled are content to sit for hours, staring witlessly into the middle distance. There is clearly nobody home.
Then, if one is fortunate enough to be selected as a potential juror, it is still tough to make the final cut. Possession of an operable brain, all (well, most) of one’s faculties, quickly renders a candidate suspect. With keen insight, I soon discerned that these qualities, along with basic honesty, were deemed unnecessary in some jury boxes.
Judgment by a jury of my peers? I quail at the thought.