Not always fun, but it’s our duty

The sharp knock on the door came in the early evening hours. A glance out the side window revealed a uniformed Livingston city police officer, piece of paper in hand. Alarm bells rang.
Had he come to make a criminal charge? Perhaps that little jaywalking stint got noticed? Or the overdue library books? Would someone be led away in handcuffs?
None of the above. He was simply delivering a city court jury summons, something the court has officers do in person.
While a little unnerving, it’s all part of the civic process in Montana. Courts around the state vary in ways they advise citizens they’ve been picked for possible jury duty. Some are delivered in person, as Livingston City Court does, and some are with a phone call, but most often a letter is sent.
When you get summoned, it is your civic and legal obligation to respond. However, courts can grant excuses for certain things like illness, vacations, doctor’s appointments or old age.
But don’t expect a break for having to work, even if it’s your own business. Nor for lack of transportation, unless you live where there is no bus service. Nor for child care issues.
And don’t expect to avoid getting drawn for jury duty if you haven’t registered to vote. Jury lists used to be created from the list of registered voters, but now the pool includes driver’s license holders as well. So it’s pretty hard to hide.
Being a juror, or having to show up to see if you get picked for duty, can be a pain and an unpleasant life interruption, but it’s a necessary civic obligation. That inconvenience could be avoided, of course, if we all were citizens of a country run by a dictatorship that makes all decisions on guilt or innocence, but who wants to live in that kind of society?
Not us. So we do our duty.
So, the next time an officer knocks on your door or you get a jury summons in the mail, think about that dictatorship and thank your lucky stars we live in a state, and a country, where a jury of one’s peers honestly and to the best of its abilities weighs justice.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961

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