A Lesson In Civic Duty

Mar 3, 2011

Getting a jury summons in the mail is not cause to rejoice for most people. It means missing a day or more of work and sitting for long periods of time waiting for your name to be called while watching bad movies in a large, cold room. If you do get chosen for a jury panel, however, you get to see the legal system in process.

Recently, Under the Sun co-host Dan Grech and Miami New Times reporter Tim Elfrink were both selected as part of a jury pool for a criminal battery case in Judge Nushin Sayfie’s courtroom. It came out during voir dire – the part of jury selection where the prosecution and defense question potential jurors – that both Dan and Tim were journalists. It is a widely held belief that journalists do not get chosen to serve on juries. Why? Because journalists are too close to the process or may write something unfavorable about either side after the case is over.

Going against conventional wisdom, Tim was chosen to serve on the jury, along with five others. And he did write a story about the case. Listen to the piece to find out what he learned about jury duty, what he thought about the case and what verdict he and his fellow jurors reached. Also, you’ll hear about the uplifting moment during the process that reminded everyone why it is important to not ignore that jury summons.