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.

Shalom
Bruce

Thoroughly Investigate

Our God is a just God, and He expects His people to pursue justice too. But influence pedaling is a major past time. Pastors or rabbis are untouchable. Money is king with a lot of people. Real justice is scarce. Many want to commit the Law to the rubbish heap so they can pursue their agendas unburdened by accountability or humility.

And don’t try to sell me the lame concept that justice and love are separate. People try this all the time. You’ve heard it said (now where have I heard that statement before?) that we should exercise ‘justice in love.’ This is true, except that the two are not separate. Justice is love; love without justice isn’t love.

If we use the Word properly, we are doing both. The reason Jesus had to die is because justice and love both had to be satisfied. One could not be exercised by God without the other. It was a very difficult thing for God to justify sinners without merely ‘overlooking’ sin. The resolution was the death and resurrection of God in human form. There is such a thing as being too harsh. But that is generally connected with condemnation, not justice. We condemn when we try to practice justice outside of God’s Word, and fail to investigate according to the Word.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 9 section on Thoroughly Investigate

Summaries of the Law

A number of times in the Word the Law is summarized. Some of them equate the Law to the fear of the Lord through the treatment of the widow and orphan and the proliferation of sorcery (probably connected with the use of drugs), adultery, oppression of the hired worker by stealing his wages (like our government) and those who swear falsely (such as politicians who take the oath of office to defend the Constitution and do not).

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5, ESV)

Some equate justice and righteousness to the treatment of the widow and orphan or the shedding of innocent blood (think of Benghazi, abortion or the Gosnell murders).

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (Jeremiah 22:3, ESV)

And some are more comprehensive, covering what is “just and right” whether it is ceremonial, civil or moral.

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:5–9, ESV)

But His statutes and rules by any measure are the definition of justice and righteousness.

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:18–19, ESV)