November 19, 2020
I would love to be a juror sometime. And even though I suspect that one party or the other would exercise one of its preemptory challenges to remove me (after all, who wants a lawyer, of all people, on thei jury?), the truth is that I would be an eminently fair and reasonable juror.
But if I received a notice of jury duty today, I would respectfully decline.
While the news that some very promising vaccines are just around the corner is very, very welcome, we are still a long way from returning to a pre-pandemic level of normalcy in most areas of life, and that includes the judiciary. On November 9th, in an effort to bring some normalcy back to the system, the federal district in Vermont conducted jury selection for a trial at the courthouse in Burlington. On Tuesday, we learned that one of the court officers has since tested positive for COVID.
Since the officer was masked at all times, and exercised appropriate social-distancing, it is altogether possible that he was exposed somewhere other than at the courthouse. Nevertheless, the court has “written to all jurors who attended the hearing to advise them of the potential exposure and to recommend that they speak with their primary care physician or the Vermont Department of Health concerning the advisability of a COVID test for themselves.”
If I get a jury duty notice sometime late this summer, I’ll happy to go.
In the meantime, I think I’ll sit this one out.