I was called to jury duty recently, and I’d like to report that Connecticut’s judicial system has its priorities straight.
Turns out, you can’t get out of jury duty by whining about how busy you are at work. But you can be excused if the trial would conflict with a vacation that you’ve booked and paid for.
I was excused for other reasons, being deemed unsuitable because of my job. (Not the blogging. The "real" job, what with the news and the journalism and all that.) At least that’s what the judge said.
What really warmed my heart, though, was his declaration to the jury pool that if we had a vacation scheduled for the trial period, he would excuse us. "We’re not going to ruin your vacation," he said.
How good! How true! How righteous!
Americans have a great judicial system, and it’s important that we all do our civic duty. But I think we can do it without losing our vacation time. Because, really, we have a lousy vacation system – we get less vacation time than workers in most of the rest of the developed world.
If I had to choose between the right to a speedy trial by a jury of my peers and decent vacation benefits, I’d have to go with the whole speedy trial thing. But can’t we have both?