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Jury Duty

Being a US-citizen earns you two important rights that nobody else living here has: you can vote, and you can be called upon for jury duty. I have voted twice already since becoming a citizen, and that was quick and easy to do. Jury duty, however, is something that not everybody gets to participate in. You have to be summoned and selected out of a pool of people.

When I received notice to fill out a form, and then later got my summons to show up today, I was excited!

Some people had given me advice about what to say to avoid being selected, but I wanted to be selected. I checked in at the courthouse on time. About 30 people were there, waiting. We watched a brief movie about what to expect as a juror in Indiana. Then we all went upstairs into the Circuit Court on the third floor of the Allen County courthouse in downtown Fort Wayne. The place is stunningly beautiful! 

After initial instructions from the judge both parties to the case had the opportunity to ask questions, and try to find out what the jurors' opinions would be. About half of the initial twelve jurors were excused, based on their answers to those questions. After another two rounds of questions and answers and replacing individual jurors, I was lucky to make it onto the panel.

The trial was about a criminal case; a class C felony of operating a vehicle while on a lifetime suspension of the driver's license. The defendant actually defended himself. I thought, that was not a good idea. He should have taken the professional help, that was offered to him. After listening to two policemen's testimony and examining the defendant's eight page long driving record with over 40 violations on there, the jury came to a unanimous verdict quickly: guilty!

We were dismissed after that and not allowed to hear the sentence. One of the jurors said, he knew about a similar case where the defendant had been sentenced to three years in jail.

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