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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Looking at Jury Duty in a Positive Light

August 08, 2003

I enjoyed the delightful "Jury Duty Is One of the Prices We Pay for Justice" (Voices, Aug. 2). My experiences in jury duty have often been positive. I served once when I had just begun at Loyola Law School. When one attorney asked if that would affect my deliberation on the case, I replied, "I've been in law school two weeks; I don't know enough to be dangerous." The judge and the attorney laughed, and I stayed on the case.

"Serving" doesn't always mean being on a case. During one period I watched movies in the waiting room and was never put on a case. Last year I was called near July Fourth. Every day I had to call, and every day I learned that I was not needed. I served without ever appearing in court. Recent changes are aimed at making jury service better.

Rod Nelson

La Mirada

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Cathy Curtis' piece on jury duty really hit home for me. I recently spent six weeks as a juror in downtown Los Angeles for a murder trial, not by choice, but because there just wasn't a valid reason why I could not serve, other than being a very busy professional.

Those six weeks were some of the most stressful, uncomfortable and draining I have experienced.

On our particular panel we actually were a representation of a full cross section of society, but it took the attorneys two weeks to find the right mix. I agree that while serving on jury duty is inconvenient, rough on co-workers who have to help cover the workloads and sometimes just not fun, it is part of the give and take of our society, which does include all of us.

Anne Slattery

Los Angeles

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