Yesterday I spent one looong day serving “jury duty.” My husband would tell you I’m a whiner for complaining about this. This is the first time in my 9-year “voting career” that I have been summoned for jury duty, compared to the four or so invitations that Justin has received.
I have to confess that, although I should have perhaps entered into this experience a little more excited about performing my civic duty (as the people in the jury service orientation video reminded me, “Jury Service is one of the greatest signs of our nation’s privileged status…,” and I’m often surprisingly receptive to Kant’s ideas of “duty ethics”), I couldn’t muster much excitement.
So, instead, I spent my time in the waiting room brainstorming all the possible ways that I could ensure a dismissal from service were I to make it all the way to the “interview phase” of jury service.
I now offer you, in no particular order, my top ten methods for avoiding full-fledged juror service (Note: They are heavy on the satire). May they serve you better than they have served me:
10. “I’m a staunch adherent to Two-Kingdom Theology, as were many of my Mennonite forebears. So, while I very much respect and support the court’s God-ordained right to make decisions regarding criminal justice, my allegiances and loyalties lie with God’s kingdom, and I don’t want to mix the two.”
Of course, at this point, the judge/attorneys could point out that I am, in fact, serving jury duty because I’m a registered voter and the gig would be up…
9. “My sensibilities are too post-modern/post-structural for this court. My tendency, were I selected, would be to deconstruct everyone’s argument, to look for both/and solutions, and the best that I could promise to offer at the end of a trial would be a solid ‘perhaps.’ Besides, I’m a little offended by this dualistic ‘guilty vs. not guilty’ paradigm you are using.”
8. “I’m a strict complementarian. As such, I don’t believe that women should be engaging in rational thought and discourse in the public sphere. Wouldn’t my skills be better served providing childcare for jurors and/or baking tasty treats to share at a court recess?”
OK, you’re right: can’t go that far.
7. Even though several weeks ago I spent an entire blog post trying to dispel some of the confusion between the Mennonites and the Amish, I could play with the confusion created by our shared heritage in order to befuddle the courts. I could suggest that I need extra mileage reimbursement because of the daily wear and tear on my horse and/or request that my $15/day stipend be paid exclusively in hay.
6. “I’m a pacifist.”
This is true, and somehow, and unfortunately, surprisingly effective at making attorneys and judges squirm.
5. “I’m a feminist. As such, I hate all men, and would have to rule against the plaintiff, defendant, judge, or all of the above, just depending on gender.”
Again, probably not a stereotype I would actually want to promote.
3. “I’m a 6.5 generation German immigrant. Are you sure you feel comfortable with a foreigner on your jury? Sometimes cultural nuances can be tricky.”
2. “I just finished a Master’s degree at a highly liberal educational institution. You could pretty much just call me a communist. I even like Cuba.”
1. Or, I could just suck it up, stop playing into stereotypes, answer questions honestly and serve whatever jury “sentence” comes my way….not as exciting, though.
Any other suggestions?