Since the Los Angeles Unified School District does not pay its teachers for meeting our civic responsibility of jury duty and we are forced to serve during our vacation time, I grudgingly found myself driving downtown in the morning madness instead of enjoying the first weeks of my sorely needed summer vacation.
Because of the jury duty horror stories I had heard and read ("Jury Selection's Tricks and Tribulations" by Cecil Smith, Aug. 25) I was convinced that the only obligation I would meet for the next weeks was to catch up on my reading.
This was not to be as I soon found myself in Division 52 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court listening to Judge Robert Lopez. "Look around the world today," Judge Lopez advised us, "and know that this very room is the last stronghold of freedom. We need each of you to ensure that our freedom does not end here." Perhaps because of the hostage crisis at the time or perhaps because we took his words seriously, we did not try to be excused.
The jury, selected by competent prosecution and defense attorneys, was composed of a true mixture (by occupation, sex, race and age) of citizens. Judge Lopez, the court bailiffs and attorneys treated us with respect and dignity at all times. We, the jury, were awed with our responsibility (we were serving on a murder case) but it quickly melded into pride as we instinctively trusted one another, and knew that as a group we could reach a just verdict.