Week 8 Opinion Challenge!
Week 8 and we are into the 3rd week of practicing No Opinions. How’s it going?
Are you making progress or are you finding it to easy?
If your answer is Too Easy then I have a challenge for you!
Some time back I received a letter in the mail from the Attorney General of Canada. It was a questionnaire for Jury Duty. Opinion #1! Relax Dan it is just a questionnaire. Fill it out and (as Mark J says) forgetaboutit!
About two weeks back I get another letter in the mail from Attorney General. Oh Crap! Opinion #2!
Since receiving the first letter I had a chat with a friend who is a legal aid. I’m looking for ways to get out of Jury Duty. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great honour to be part of. Provided you can make an unbiased opinion and keep an open mind. Easier said then done.
After receiving letter 2 I found myself checking out their website.
www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca and searching the net for ways to get off. It is amazing what some people will try! Keep in mind the court will do everything in their power to accommodate you in order to select the jury.
Finally down to the day I get to have my say in court. Yah Hoo! Well not really. I went down to the court house Nov 14, 2017 for 9am. On my way I was thinking of what I could say and kept telling myself to relax. I may not even get picked.
I arrived with 10 minutes to spare. As I walked into the lobby waiting area it was obviously standing room only. Not many chairs! Opinion #3! Ok Dan it starts at 9 right. After a spell (not keeping track of the time) we started forming a line. Here we go! The steps in Jury selection.
First out of the gate is to register for duty. With summons and a piece of ID in hand we march on. Those who lived a certain distance away continued into another line to get paid for showing up. Cool! I actually made money!
Then once this finished there was a video on what to expect and how the whole selection process works. By 10:30 we were sent out to the lobby. More standing, more opinions fighting for attention. The Law of Substitution! I started signing the Guy in the Glass (to myself of coarse) and thinking of other positive things like how nice the day was turning out to be and the fact that there was a lot of possible jurors to choose from. The more the merrier right?
An hour and a half later 11:50am we start moving back in. Opinion #4! We will just get in there in time for lunch! Good thing I brought lunch.
Once seated a court official reads off the list of the first to be excused. I was not on that list! Dam! You think maybe my thoughts are not inline with the Universe?
Now the process (if you have never had the experience) starts off with the Identity of the accused and the lawyers. The charges are read for all to hear. Opinion #5! Ok I can’t say what they are but lets just say I have very strong observations on the subject. Once this is done the Judge explains what is next and starts going down a list of reasons why one may not be able to fulfill their civic duty. Keeping in mind the trial starts today and could be over within three weeks time. THREE WEEKS! A whole list of things ran through my mind.
Keep in mind I do not recall the exact wording of the questions just the main Jif of it.
1/ Is there anyone who is related/knows/has any association with the accused and or the court officials?
We loss some people here, but not me.
2/ Has anyone read/heard about this case?
3/ is there anyone who knows/experience the crime at hand?
Several people left here with some serious emotional moments.
The list is fairly long and the Judge continually explains and ask each person if they feel wether they can or cannot provide an unbiased opinion. If their answers are personal they are asked to approach the Judge so only he/she and the attorneys can here.
At this time I found myself tearing up.
4/ Is there anyone who cannot understand/read or write the English language?
Sounds like a funny question but obviously makes sense.
5/ Is there anyone who cannot hear what has been said hear today?
Hey! Here’s my change! I have 80% hearing loss in my left ear. My right is ok but not perfect.
Now I must inform you that while out in the lobby I read a sign that said: Assisted Hearing Devices Available. Hmmmm!!! Can’t use that one.
Hell I’ll give it a shot! Judge informs me to keep aware that my good ear will be facing him and the Lawyers. Do you think this will be an problem? Well! You can return to your seat the Judge says. CRAP! Another opinion maybe?
A few questions later and we are maybe a little less than half way through possible jurors.
Is there anyone who shall suffer undue hardship both physical/mentally and financial by serveing on a jury? Hmmmm!!!!!
As I sat and pondered this question on wether it applied to me, I listen to those getting up. This line was pretty long at the start. We heard stories of just having back surgery to being scheduled for a colonoscopy.
The judge points out that if anyone needs to use the facilities the court can take as many breaks as needed. So your not getting off on that one Dan!
Then I hear a person state that they are the soul caregiver.
I’m up off my butt and now in line. I’m up at the mic again and my first thought is that the Judge is thinking. You Again!
I state my junior number, 992 and go into explaining about my Mother and her short term memory loss among the fact that if she has the tap on to do dishes and the phone rings there is a 100% change there will be a clean kitchen floor after she hangs up.
Judge asked if I worked. Yes. What dose you mother do while you work?
I explain that I am only an half hour away and she can call me if needed at anytime. She also has doctor appoints the following week which I provide the transportation for.
I was excused!
Thank You Universe!
So much went through my mind that day after hearing the length of the trial.
Who will I get to check in on Mother? What about her appointments?
Then there is my duty as a MKE Guide not to mention the outside jobs I took on and have to finish before the winter sets in.
To say the least I was relieved and a little Wowed from the reality of it all.
As I walked out of the court my last words to the court official at the door was: “Another Time Perhaps” Unlike so many others I did not smile on my way out.
There was still a fair amount of people left and they hadn’t gotten to the point where the lawyers got to ask their questions. It was around 2pm when I pulled out of the court yard.
Regardless what some people may think this is a very serious civic duty and should not be taken lightly. The law says I cannot be called upon again for another three years. Who knows what the future shall bring.
After all if I was to be on trial I most certainly would want unbiased jurors deciding my fate.
To be honest I do believe I did pretty well in observing my opinions and substituting a positive thought within less than 7 seconds. How often I had to do this? I loss count!
So if you are finding it easy to have No Opinions just think about Jury Duty.
Peace Be Your Journey!