A duty to protect and serve us all | Everything Bremerton

In the past five years, I have served twice on a jury that included a full trial with deliberations.

In the past five years, I have served twice on a jury that included a full trial with deliberations.

During my first jury trial, in which the defendant was charged with drugs and weapons violations, we the jury were able to arrive at a consensus and deliver our verdict.

This past month, I entered into service on my second jury trial. This was a trial that had to do with a topic that is difficult for nearly everyone to hear and consider: child molestation. Once the testimony was completed and closing statements were made, we the jury found ourselves split. We could not agree on a consensus and ended up meeting the definition of a hung jury.

At that point, we were collectively called back into the courtroom to individually confirm with a yes or no answer if we would be able to reach a verdict. Once every juror confirmed that we would not, then we were dismissed from any further service.

Receiving by mail a Summons to Appear for Jury Duty is often viewed by most as an ill-timed disruption to our already busy schedules. The next thought that comes to most people’s minds is how to get out of the obligation as quickly as possible and what personal excuses could be mustered up to achieve that dismissal.

I have always viewed jury duty as an opportunity to learn. I personally embrace it as a way to further my education and understand what it means to be part of the important checks and balances within our judicial system.

If our situations were reversed and I was now in the position of being a plaintiff looking for justice or the defendant looking to maintain my innocence, I would want the best jury pool possible from which to choose. The last thing I’d want is a group of individuals that did not want to be there or would not be able to take their duty seriously.

I continue to be impressed with the professionalism, organization and patience exhibited by the Kitsap County judicial and jury administrative staff. They have their jobs down to a science and it shows. While the court system runs on its own schedule and its processes can at times feel slow or drawn out, there are specific due process reasons as to why it needs to be that way.  Administrative staff members and appointed bailiffs are more than happy to answer questions about the court system and the jury process; one simply needs to ask.

Improving technology means that your responses to the summons you receive in the mail can now be completed online through the eResponse website. The Kitsap County Clerk’s Office has a page specifically designated for all of the information and questions you may have regarding your service as a potential juror. However, the recorded message (360-337-7072) is still the No. 1 go-to source to find out if you have been selected during your week of service.

The next time you receive that Summons for Jury Duty in the mail, embrace it as the opportunity that it is — to protect and serve us all.

Online: www.kitsapgov.com/clerk/juryduty/jurymain.htm