Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Inconsiderate Government

Last Wednesday I received a juror summons from the US District Court, North Alabama District. The letter said I had to fill out the form online or get it in the mail within 5 days. Um, 5 days? That's kind of quick, don't you think? Especially when delivering the item around a holiday that oft translates into a four-day weekend. What if I'd been on vacation? Or out of town on business? Or if my mail got mis-delivered (happens all the time in my neighborhood - we'll get someone else's mail, or they'll get ours, and often it's longer than 5 days before it's redelivered to the correct address)?

On top of this (I did get the form filled out online within the allotted time period), the court to which I've been summoned to serve as a juror is 55 miles away from my house (55.2, according to Google Maps). And it's (up to) a two-week period of service. And I'm supposed to check the court website after 5 pm on the Friday before I'm supposed to report on Monday to see whether I actually have to report. And this is all the two weeks before the week of Christmas. Um, what if I'd already made plans to be out of town (fortunately I haven't, although there are other things that might be impacted since I'll be so far away on a daily basis)? And I won't even know until after regular business hours on the Friday before I'm supposed to report? And I only got the notice a couple of weeks before the reporting date, too? Rather inconsiderate, I think. Couldn't they have provided notice a little earlier, so I could plan for this? My business requires our travel plans to be made with more advance notice than this, so I could have had a business trip planned (fortunately I don't).

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind serving jury duty; after all, that's one of the privileges and duties we as Americans are afforded (and for which we're responsible). But they could at least be a little more considerate towards those they ask to serve as jurors (I understand issues about wanting to ensure no "contaminated juries" and so forth).

Ah, well... what can I do? Guess I'll find out less than 72 hours beforehand whether or not I'm actually supposed to be there.

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