Jury Duty

Last week I had to do the Jury Duty thing again. It is a privilege and a responsibility for citizens of our country, but it is also a pain in the rear. Usually I make a call and find out the trial has been cancelled (probably due to plea bargaining) and I’m off the hook for another couple of years. Last time I actually had to go down to the Justice Center and then get told the trial was cancelled. So I haven’t actually been a juror or even gone through the selection process. But this time I went a little further than before.

After watching a video on what it was all about, about thirty of us went to the courtroom and sat down. Then after a few instructions and questions the judge called 12 of us up to the jury box for more questions. I was the last of the 12 called trying to fill out a six-person jury.

The prosecutor gets 20 minutes to ask questions of the prospective jurors, then the defense attorney gets 20 minutes. Each side got three challenges for cause and three peremptory challenges. A challenge for cause means that there is something in the juror’s answers to the questions that might indicate a prejudice or bias in one direction or the other, and so they are dismissed. A peremptory challenge doesn’t have to have a reason for dismissing a prospective juror. I was dismissed on a peremptory challenge.

Of course I was hoping to get out of the jury. I had work to do and I think the justice system is pretty stupid. I call it the “no justice” system. In my opinion a fair jury would be randomly chosen, for instance.

But besides that, I am certain no one would want me on a jury. I think too much, am too intelligent, and too much of a leader for either side to want me (this is why churches and synagogues don’t want me around also!). Why do I think that? Because a “fair and impartial” jury is never wanted by any lawyer. All lawyers want a biased jury – biased in their favor.

It’s one of the biggest lies in the justice system that they are looking for a fair and balanced, unbiased jury. Who would be dumb enough to want that, if you were a lawyer? You would want the odds in your favor. The defense wants to get their client off. They are not looking for justice at all. The prosecutor is already convinced of the defendant’s guilt, and wants to put him or her away in jail or punished in some other way. The judge is biased too. Not for or against a particular defendant, and not for the law, but for his or her (in my case, a her) own view of the law and for the views of the law from her peers (other legal professionals). They want professional recognition, and to be able to climb the ladder to the Supreme Court. Or a lot of speaking engagements for high fees.

It was funny how I was dismissed, too. I got to be dismissed by BOTH the prosecutor and the defense. (They REALLY didn’t want me on that jury!)

Here’s how it happened. The prosecutor was asked by the judge if he had any challenges for cause for the first half of the pool (the first six people called). I was in the second group of six (the eighth possibility). Then the defense was asked if he had any challenges for cause in the first six people and he didn’t either. Next the prosecutor was asked if he had any peremptory challenges for the first six. He eliminated one person, which caused the rest of us to move up a seat (they kept us in order for some inane reason). The defense attorney didn’t realize the judge was still limiting the review to the first six people (I hadn’t moved up to the first six spots yet) and used his first peremptory to challenge me. The judge corrected him that we were just looking at the first six still. So then the prosecutor used his second and third peremptory challenges to get rid of one person ahead of me, then me. So I got to hear that both attorneys wanted me gone. The defense wanted me gone so bad he couldn’t wait his turn!

Our legal system has gotten so out of whack compared to real justice (and real law – God’s Law) that it’s a joke. No wonder they are removing God’s commandments from so many courtrooms. They don’t want to be reminded that they are just playing games, or trading lives for influence and prestige, or denying justice to the oppressed. They want those pesky reminders scrubbed away so they can pursue their own selfish interests.

The thing is, erasing the commandments doesn’t change the fact that God demands justice. He was the one who set it up that man must see to equal justice. If someone sheds blood, we (as a group) must make sure that his blood is shed also in punishment.

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:5–6, AV)

Our trial wasn’t going to be a murder trial. By the questioning it was easy to guess that a man had been accused of driving under the influence and that the influence was marijuana. The defense was going to be something along the lines of mere road rage connected with something about getting the wrong mail. Law officials (rightly so) are looking for some definition for driving under the influence of marijuana (in our state marijuana is legal) because there isn’t a handy test like a breathalyzer for it. So the prosecutor had a “bias” that way too. Not a bad bias, but certainly not the “fair and balanced” thing he stated he was looking for.

God’s laws are being rejected everywhere, especially by the church. We can see the results of this lunacy everywhere we look. I was especially aware of it in the rejection of my service as a juror. On the one hand I was happy to get out of the farce (although perversely I was also a little put out by the double rejection). But on the other I was sad, because justice is not to be found in our courtrooms anymore. It’s out of the church, it’s out of our courts, and it’s out of our land. And God will require it of us.


Judge with Righteous Judgment

The tenth, and perhaps not the last, guideline is about weights and measures. The verses we’re going to look at are about scales or measuring sticks. But the principles apply to all of our dealings with each other, especially in the field of justice and discernment. We are to be honest and fair in all of our dealings, not just the merchant transactions. Everyone who doesn’t is an “abomination to the Lord.” Not being honest and fair is an abomination to God, right up there with homosexuality and eating pork.

13“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. 14“You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. 15“You shall have a full and just weight; you shall have a full and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. 16“For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16 NASB95)

God is always concerned about honesty and fairness. Accurate weights and measures are just one aspect of His desire for what is right and true. His Word is the standard, and we are supposed to use it without cheating. We don’t want take a tiny verse out of context and make a big doctrine with it while ignoring other, larger parts of the Word. Like this verse on judging, frequently used by people to avoid responsibility or say they shouldn’t answer for their behavior.

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. (Luke 6:37 NASB95)

Jesus seems to be saying we should avoid judging. But let’s add another verse on the same subject to our measuring stick.

24“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24 NASB95)

It might appear on the surface that Jesus is contradicting Himself. But of course, that’s not the case. It might help to realize that judging has several different meanings. Sometimes we can think of judging as condemning and sometimes as discernment.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Judge with Righteous Judgment