Please Look at the Jury System
The draft notice comes in the mail, not unlike the one from the 60s: "Jury Summons: You have been radomly selected to serve as a juror in King Country Superior Court. By order of the Court you are summoned to appear at King County Superior Court at....."
Several hundred persons, mostly middle class and white, show up on a Monday morning at 8 a.m. They are given a pep talk on an American's right to trial by a jury of his peers, then a film. Then they are advised that as jurors they will be paid ten dollars a day ("the same as in the Eisenhower Administration"), and immediately thereafter they are asked if they would like to donate that daily ten dollars to a fund to provide day care for the children of defendants on trial. In the moment, many prospective jurors, including yours truly, sign the form to make this donation.
Seven or so years ago, when I last was summoned to jury duty, the same request was made to provide funds to support day care for defendants. Sitting there in the jury room on a recent morning, I wondered, why has the Legistlature after all this time not provided for such purposes and why is there no fund to support day care for the children of impoverished jurors--the folks paid the measly $10 a day? Why are jurors, when they are feeling vulnerable, hit up for this purpose--hit up to help defendants just as they are being assembled for particular cases that happen to involve, after all, defendants?