Monday February 11, 2013

Some things just shouldn’t be rushed. Important things. Like justice. It’s not like nuking a hotdog. ("Adjudicated absurdity," Eagle op-ed, Feb. 5).

Called to jury duty three weeks ago, I wasn’t looking forward to the waiting room or the wait. But entering the courthouse, I was cheerfully greeted and promptly processed through security. A cordial court officer, who made the hallway seem brighter, escorted me to the well-worn waiting room. Another officer, another smile, another "Good morning."

The room filled rapidly, we waited, eventually called to the courtroom. (Sister Anna Maria, my third grade teacher, would have been impressed at our orderly passing!) Once seated, the judge concisely outlined the case and a few judicial queries were responded to with a few raised hands. Some same questions were asked in over 100 sidebar interviews with the judge, but more clarity and certainty was thus obtained. This stuff matters.

Fourteen of us were chosen for the jury: a retiree, a clerk, young laborers, a farmer, a machinist, an artist, a nurse, a salesman, a student, a teacher, two business owners, a first-time father of premature twins.

The trial lasted a week, during which we spent much off-time together, and not allowed to discuss the case until official deliberations, we got to know each other pretty well. Our complaining was limited to the winter weather chilling Park Square.

The trial itself was a difficult one for all of us, but, in the end, the defendant received a fair hearing and a just verdict. The victims spoke and were paid the attention due them. Everyone was treated with respect, courtesy and consideration. Justice was paramount, not time.

If I ever find myself in a court as defendant, I hope that the system works just as deliberately, with just as many comforting redundancies, as it did in this case. Justice requires patient safeguarding of our rights. It’s pretty important stuff. Too important to be microwaved.

ANTHONY DEMICK

Hancock