You don’t like jury duty, me either, what a coincidence!!!! Let’s be honest, no one enjoys it. But now I realize the importance of making sure there were people like us on the juries. Now I see what happens when all of us don’t want to be on jury duty. There are millions of people like you and me who don’t like jury duty. We need to understand the importance of allowing those charged to have a jury of their peers. We need to remember that if we aren’t on the jurors then we aren’t able to help our communities. It starts with us. If we aren’t serving on juries then who is? How many jurors are racist, yet are serving on these juries because all the good people found ways to not serve? How many of the jurors are solely blue lives matter and regardless of the video evidence will not vote a cop guilty? I do not like jury duty either, but what I have come to realize is I do not like the not guilty verdicts or mistrials even more. In fact, my hatred of them makes me want to serve. I am jury duty ready. It is time, we need to start stepping up for jury duty.
If you wonder about who is on the jury and making these decisions think about the Jeremy Lake case in which a cop killed his daughter’s boyfriend and had 3 mistrials. It has come out, “after Holmes released jurors from service at 2:30 a.m. Saturday, one of the jurors who deliberated wrote a public Facebook post expressing anger against what was described as two older jurors who “could not look past their own prejudice towards black people” and refused to even discuss the case with the rest of the panel. (Tulsa World)
Those are the type of people who are on juries. We do not want to be on juries because it is time-consuming, yet we are quick to protest a verdict. You can’t talk out of both sides of your mouth, saying you are trying to get out of jury duty, but then upset about the verdict. Saying you will do all you can, but not serving on a jury because you do not want to do it. However, when the not guilt verdict comes out you quickly complain about the members of the jury and the verdict. Yes, I am fully aware that serving on a privilege is somewhat of a privilege, especially if your place of work does not pay you for the time there, but if you can do it and you will get paid then why aren’t you doing it?
I don’t know about you, but I am so damn tired of hearing all these not guilty verdicts for cops who are on video killing people. I am tired of cops getting not guilty verdicts when it has been shown they lied about what occurred, they lied about why they shot, they planted evidence, or they hassled witnesses. I am tired of hearing about cops who have killed unarmed people and are getting away with it. I am tired of hearing about:
Sam Dubose’s Killer having 3 mistrials
Philandro Castile’s Killer being found not guilty
Michael Brown’s Killer having no indictment by the grand jury
Eric Garner’s Killer having no indictment by the grand jury
Tamir Rice’s Killer having no indictment by the grand jury
Sylville Smith’s Killer being found not guilty
Walter Scott’s Killer being found not guilty
Terence Crutcher’s Killer being found not guilty
Keith Scott’s Killer being found not guilty
Jeremy Lake’s Killer having 3 mistrials
I am tired of waiting for a verdict to come, only know what it really will be. NOT GUILTY. It is time to change our feelings on getting jury duty. It is time to take to jury duty like we are taking to our activism or advocacy. Within that line of thinking it is time to get to talk about the important information regarding jury duty pay and time off.
As mentioned above, it is understood that in some aspects it is a privilege to be able to serve on a jury as the daily pay you receive is not comparable to pay from an employer. With that being said, “the general rule, which applies in most states, is that employees must be allowed to take time off work for jury duty or jury service. Employees may not be disciplined, fired, demoted, or otherwise treated negatively because they have taken jury leave. A few states go further and make it illegal for employers to discourage or intimidate an employee from serving on a jury, a practice that’s all too common.” (Guerin) In case your employer tells you that they can fire you if you serve please refer them to the Jury Act 28 US Code 1875- Protection of Juror’s Employment if they have any questions.
You are allowed through federal law, to be a juror, however, the problem is your employee doesn’t have to pay you. It depends on each state if they will. Here is a link explaining what states have paid or unpaid leave as well as what the penalty is if they deny you the ability to serve.
Now on to the actual jury compensation. Each state sets their own compensate rates as well as how long you have to serve to get certain amounts. It is a pittance for the job you are doing, I understand. Your time is worth more than what they pay, but we have to serve if we want change to occur. You do get compensation for jury duty, but it is small, no more than $50 a day. Here is a link to the compensation for jury duty. This will help you to understand what you can get paid daily within your state. Now on to the actual jury compensation. Each state sets their own compensate rates as well as how long you have to serve to get certain amounts. It is a pittance for the job you are doing, I understand. Your time is worth more than what they pay, but we have to serve if we want change to occur. You do get compensation for jury duty, but it is small, no more than $50 a day. Here is a link to the compensation for jury duty. This will help you to understand what you can get paid daily within your state.
If you work for a federal agency I have good news for you. You will get paid your full salary during jury duty! Now, there is no reason for you to not serve. “An employee is entitled to paid time off without charge to leave for service as a juror or witness. An employee is responsible for informing his or her supervisor if he or she is excused from jury or witness service for 1 day or more or for a substantial part of a day. To avoid undue hardship, an agency may adjust the schedule of an employee who works nights or weekends and is called to jury duty. (If there is no jury/witness service, there is no court leave. The employee would be charged annual leave, sick leave, or leave without pay, as appropriate.” (OPM.GOV)
I hope after reading this you are considering changing your view of jury duty, and realizing the importance of it. We cannot change things if we are not a part of, and because of that we need to make our voices be heard and our faces seen.
Shout out to Pod Save The People, Deray McKesson @deray, Sam Sinyangwe @samswey, and Brittany Packnett @mspackyetti for talking about the Jeremy Lake case mentioned above. The conversation started me thinking about the importance of jury duty for the sake of our community.