Everything Bremerton: The call to serve

State of Washington, County of Kitsap, summons to jury duty, for Colleen Smidt. Yep, when sorting through my mail last week, there it was. Jury duty.

The average citizen spends most of their lives on the outside of the justice system looking in. We watch the news and read the papers and rail against the injustices of the world. Especially when that lack of justice rises from an overloaded and overwhelmed court system that at times favors expediency over complete due process for both the criminal and the victims.

What we, the average citizen, tend to forget is that we are a part of that system. A very important part that allows us to participate in and uphold the laws of our community for our fellow citizens. When we receive a summons to jury duty it is not something to dismiss or avoid but something to embrace. The call to serve in this capacity is not an easy thing to do and it certainly is not ever convenient. Sacrifices usually have to be made when it comes to family activities, employment and finances during this time of service. From my experiences the right thing to do is not ever easy or convenient and it shouldn’t be, because that is what makes it the right thing to do.

Since moving to Kitsap in 1998, this will be the fourth time I have been summoned to the county court. During my last call to serve in 2002, I was actually selected for a trial and ended up being voted in as jury foreman. At 32 I was the youngest person on my jury. The trial lasted about a week. We ended up finding the defendant guilty on all counts which included meth production, possession of illegal firearms and dealing quantity amounts of marijuana. Our final verdict of guilty as a jury took a very harmful person out of our community for a number of years. Yes, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had when the system works in the way our founders envisioned.

I completed the survey portion of my summons and returned it to the court last week. If any of you receive a summons this year, don’t avoid and don’t make excuses. Serve your community and become someone whose efforts go on to make important improvements to the diverse makeup and quality of the jury pool. You might possibly advance to see justice fully served.

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