Wednesday, December 21, 2016

John Schlesinger on Jury Service

State Circuit Judge John Schlesinger (and former AUSA in the SDFLA) wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald about jury service.  The conclusion:
Jury service means sacrifice. Miami’s civil courthouse, built nearly 100 years ago, is in deplorable condition. Jurors arrive having steeled themselves for a day of waiting patiently in the jury assembly room before enduring the tedious process of questioning at the hands of the judge and lawyers, and then, at last, hearing the facts of a case and rendering a decision. For their trouble they get inadequate seating, inadequate parking, inadequate bathrooms and outdated and undersized courtrooms. Plus, they’ll have to go elsewhere to find a decent cup of coffee.

But the rewards of serving on a jury and ensuring that justice prevails in a courtroom are immeasurable. Jurors represent protection, a bulwark against powerful societal interests and a sometimes rapacious government, none of whom has a monopoly on the truth. And with today’s all-volunteer military, it is the only significant sacrifice, other than taxation, that our country still asks of us as citizens.

The next time that notice comes in the mail, don’t think of it as an imposition. Don’t call or text me to ask how to get out of it. Consider it an opportunity to be soldier in the cause of justice.

And, for God’s sake, bring your own coffee.

3 comments:

Kissimmee Kid said...

Older courthouses, built by folks who knew what they were doing, have courtrooms where one can hear the proceeding without a bunch of electronic amplification. Decades ago I went to Miami and saw a trial in a handsome room, that looked like a formal courtroom, where I could hear and see everything.

In Europe they hold court in courtrooms that have been courtrooms for hundreds of years. We can't keep a courthouse in good repair? Have our building skills declined since the 1930s? Are the construction trades of 2016 inferior to the same tradepeople of 1916? Is it the Latins?

Why can't you just preserve the courthouse you have?

Anonymous said...

I know Kissimmee Kid is trolling, but I can't help it.

The Miami-Dade Courthouse was completed in 1928. The population of Miami-Dade County in 1930 was about 143,000. The population of Miami-Dade County today is about 2.7 million.

The Courthouse wasn't designed for the traffic that it gets. It has nothing to do with the tradespeople or the Latins or anything else. It is a function of design versus use.

Anonymous said...

Kissimmee Kid will also be the loudest critic of any bonds or taxes to cover the costs of repair or construction.