Daniel Ellis is a racist, homophobic liar. Says so himself. Ellis was one of a pool of 60 potential jurors called to serve on the Massachusetts grand jury. He completed his jury questionnaire noting he didn’t like gays or black people and, during a courtroom interview, stated, "I'm frequently found to be a liar, too. I can't really help it." The judge in the case briefly detained Ellis, who could now face "perjury and other charges".
I’ve been summoned each year for the past two. The first time I was excused, second time I wasn't called and happy as a clam about it. I was miffed and passive aggressive at the prospect of serving. I thought, "If I get selected and the defendant is some dumb ass who steals or writes bad checks or beat a kid or poisoned a dog, he's going doooowwwnnnn. He (or she) is too lazy to work for success, has no good judgment and compassion or just plain broke the law and doesn't deserve my time as a law abiding citizen." Crazy, circular, elitist thinking, I know.
Point is, if you are a racist or just don’t care, like to stir things up, lie or toy with stupid people, why would admitting that result in a tongue-lashing from the judge and possible charges? Yes, it's a civic duty, but also one that deserves the authentic self, especially when lives, livelihood and basic freedoms may be at stake. I often wonder about the makeup of a jury, specifically in high profile, lengthy cases with a good deal of evidence and testimony and expert witnesses. If I were on trial, would my “jury of peers” include only those who are my age, college educated, middle class, straight white women, single, no children? Does a jury made up of mostly women favor or disfavor certain cases? Men? Straight? Gay? Are some questions off limits?
The first time I was excused from jury duty was due to personal experiences and a vocal belief in the failure of the justice system, one that protects criminals at the expense of the victim. I was told, however, I would be called again, regardless. A friend who recently graduated Law School told me I could be a dream juror, depending on the case and the lawyer. I can’t say 100% I wouldn't have preconceived notions. We bring who we are, what we believe and our experiences, good or bad, to the court room.