Why Jury Duty Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Constitutional Action

By Andrew Guthrie Ferguson | Go to book overview

Conclusion

In the local courthouse, 4:30 p.m. is known as “the witching hour” for jury verdicts. A half an hour more and the jury will need to return for another day of deliberations.

I look across at my young client still wringing his hands. He has barely moved from our uncomfortable bench for three days. The courthouse feels empty. A law clerk shuffling papers in the hallway interrupts the stifling silence. I touch my copy of the Constitution for good luck. Will the jury be willing to come back for yet another day of deliberations?

The courtroom clerk pokes her head out into the hallway. “We have a verdict,” she announces. My heart beats louder in my chest. I watch my client ease himself off the bench. He neither smiles nor frowns and heads to take his seat in courtroom. He looks to be at peace. Watching him, I wonder if he knows that he could be taking his last

-161-

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Why Jury Duty Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Constitutional Action
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Foreword - The American Jury System- Democracy at Work xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - An Invitation to Participation 9
  • 2 - Selecting Fairness 27
  • 3 - Choosing Equality 47
  • 4 - Connecting to the Common Good 65
  • 5 - Living Liberty 81
  • 6 - Deciding through Deliberation 101
  • 7 - Protecting a Dissenting Voice 117
  • 8 - Judging Accountability 139
  • Conclusion 161
  • Notes 165
  • Text of United States Constitution 197
  • Index 229
  • About the Author 234
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