21

Justice is Blind, Deaf and Ninety-one

More notes from the Elder Care Underground:

My mother got another jury duty summons in the mail today. 

Back around the end of December, she got her first summons since moving here from California about eleven years ago.  As you know, she’s 91 years-old.  

They don’t give you a lot of time to respond to the summons; just a few days for you to fill out the form for exemption or disqualification and get it back to them before the jury trial’s court date. 

As you can imagine, when my mother got her first summons, it threw her into a tizzy.  She (and my Dad) were always fearful of any kind of governmental authority.  They were honest to a fault.  My Dad even enlisted in the Coast Guard when WWII broke out although he could have sat out the war by getting a job at a defense plant that was hiring nearby.  He didn’t think he could live with himself if he didn’t “do his part” for the war effort by serving in one of the military branches.

So, with the first summons, I filled out the form and checked the box that said she was exempt from duty because she was over 70.  I figured that was that. 

They’d see that she was over-the-hill (legalistically speaking) and they would take her off the list of potential jurors.

Wrong.

When she got her second summons, I was annoyed.  What part of over 70 don’t they understand?  She’s not any younger than she was four months ago, and yet they want her to fill out the same form to qualify for exemption.

This time, I wrote a letter to the Justice of the Peace who’s in charge of rounding up jurors and put it in the envelope with the juror questionnaire. 

I asked him if he would please remove my mother from the pool of potential jurors.  I said she was 91 years-old, essentially blind in one eye, deaf and often confused.  I closed by saying I seriously doubted that she was juror material.

But, hey—maybe she’s some defense attorney’s idea of the perfect juror. 

By the end of the trial, she wouldn’t remember any of the negative testimony against his client.