Paul's Perambulations a personal blog

April 11, 2007

Unsuitable for jury duty

Filed under: Peace — admin @ 9:34 pm

The following story serves as a reminder that a particular witness can continue to be a witness far beyond the event itself.  Yesterday I spent the whole day at Media Court House undergoing jury duty selection for a murder trial.  When the judge and attorneys queried me about my answers to some of their form questions, my explanations may have helped de-select me, as follows:

What was the crime that I had been convicted of?  “Carrying the message directly to Christian employees of Lockheed-Martin that making weapons that could destroy the world was not a practice that Jesus could approve of.”  What were the crimes that I had witnessed? “Workers for peace being arrested at the Pentagon and Lockheed-Martin (the world’s largest military producer) for their peaceful civil disobedience.”  What was the maximum penalty for the crime for which I was convicted?  “$500, but after hearing my defense at trial, the judge reduced my fine to $100 and court costs, said he essentially agreed with me except for my method, and shook my hand.”  Why had I said that could not promise to follow the judge’s instructions?  “If there were a significant conflict between the law and my conscience, I would have to follow my conscience.”

 Oh, and I wore a button (next to my juror button) that said “Support the troops.  Bring them home.”

So, no jury duty — makes me think of Arlo Gurthrie and Alice’s Restaurant.  For those of you not old enough (or over-the-hill enough) to know better, that is an iconic song of the 70’s, putting in verse how a Thanksgiving Day misdemeanor (dumping trash illegally because the dump was closed) resulted in the unintended consequence of his being found unfit for the Vietnam draft because of his criminal record.

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