Friday, April 24, 2009

Night Court

I was called for jury duty recently. I wouldn't have minded doing it, but I couldn't. I work for myself and simply could not afford to take the time out. I wrote asking to be excused and I was. Life when you're self-employed.

That self-employed people cannot take the time to serve on juries is obvious, but what if the numbers who are self-employed starts to rise rapidly. David McWilliams says the recovery will be "freelance driven, and not employee driven," that people will take work where they see opportunities, mostly on a temporary basis. I agree, but if we're going to be a nation of freelancers then our juries are going to suffer.

Juries will be composed of the unemployed, the occasional remaining employee in a big company and retired people. Nobody else will be able to afford to serve. If we want a jury of peers it seems to me we might have to change the way the jury trial system works. For a starter, we should have evening and night trials. Being at court for 4pm is a lot less of a problem than being there at 9am.