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kruger_d's avatar

Why is it important that jury duty be mandatory?

Asked by kruger_d (3882points) 1 month ago

Could a system based on availability/interest serve justice? Would it necessarily cause race/gender/age/belief system bias?

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9 Answers

kruger_d's avatar

In this scenario, a person would volunteer for a time period, and then be required to serve barring the usual excuses like illness.

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s just that way for fairness and practicality / efficiency. After all, even with it supposedly mandatory, there are many people who avoid it.

Bias is another consideration, as is the idea that perhaps too many of the people who would want to serve on a jury might want to do so for dubious reasons.

kritiper's avatar

If it wasn’t mandatory, you wouldn’t have a jury. Or you could have a jury that could be bought.

ragingloli's avatar

If it was not mandatory, you would only have jurors that wanted to be jurors.
Which invariably means that people with existing biases and agendas would be grossly overrepresented, making the process even less “just”. Not to mention people who will happily take someone’s money to vote a certain way.
Similar to how violent and authoritarian government organisations, like the police or the military, largely attract violent authoritarians.

jca2's avatar

If someone was employed, would the employer want to pay the employee for something that the employee did voluntarily, which took them away from the workplace?

SABOTEUR's avatar

The present process of randomly selecting jurors is to ensure (or try to ensure) the person accused of committing a crime gets a fair and impartial trial. Jury duty is usually not something people look forward to, so instead of imposing or allowing select people to serve, every able-bodied person is required to serve. One of the obligations of being an American citizen.

Using only people who want to be jurors potentially denies people the opportunity of having a fair trial.

Dedicated jurors have to be paid. Businesses are unlikely to keep someone on the payroll if they spend the majority of their time in court. You then open the possibility of juror decision being influenced for monetary gain.

Random jury selection protects the juror. In due time dedicated jurors become known jurors.. Known jurors risk the threat of having themselves or their family and friends threatened to ensure a particular juror vote.

si3tech's avatar

@kruger_d The simplest, best explanation is: So that, should we be the accused,
we will have “a jury of our peers”.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

I agree that there probably wouldn’t be enough people who would want to do it to get a fair sampling of the population.

Yes, it is mandatory, but I got a bit of a surprise the other day. My mom is now in a nursing home and I still live in her home from when I was her caretaker, so I bring in the mail and everything. I opened what I thought was the summons for me, but turned out to be a summons for her.

The next Monday I called the juror’s office to find out what we need to do. My mom is 84, so she would be exempt, but she can no longer sign paperwork. Even if she was physically able, she would not be mentally fit to serve on a jury. Like so many other issues that our family is dealing with right now, I expected us to have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get this taken care of. I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke to someone on the phone on Monday, explained the situation, and have them tell me that they would remove her from the list so that she wouldn’t ever get another summons again. I really thought we were going to have to provide some sort of proof.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are 2 considerations which dictate the necessity of the mandate. The first is the requirement that anyone accused of a crime is entitled to have their guilt or innocence determined by a jury of their peers. The second is that it is an obligation of citizenship for each of us to participate if feasible in assuring our inclusion in the pool for consideration as jurors.

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