“You will be judged by a jury of your peers.”
Perhaps there are no more disturbing words to be uttered on the face of the earth. Or so I thought as I sat at the Johnson County Courthouse recently, one of 50 people waiting for the possible privilege of serving as a juror in what was expected to be a six day trial. I couldn’t imagine a more enjoyable way to spend six days at the beginning of one of the busiest months on my calendar.
Think about that phrase, “a jury of your peers”.
Now, if that was me on trial, I’d be worried that I would be judged a dozen men and women who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty. Although the judge sternly warns that they won’t dismiss you merely because it is inconvenient, or because it interferes with your work duties, the fact is that every one of the half dozen folks who said they had child-care issues or work-related conflicts was allowed to leave. Only those of us not inventive enough to come up with an excuse was required to remain.
Then the lawyers start by asking silly questions. “Do you believe you are a fair and objective person?” one asked. “No, sir”, I was tempted to respond, “I consider myself to be a biased, intolerant and inflexible bore”. I would have said it if I thought it would have resulted in my immediate departure, but I didn’t.
When asked if the potential jurors recognized any of the parties to the lawsuit, one young woman pointed to the defense attorney and said, “He looks like the guy on the back of the phone book.” Oh yeah, I’d want THAT girl to decide my fate.
Now, a jury of my peers would have to be Christians. That means different things to different people. To some people, it simply means they’re not Jewish or Muslim or some other religion. Others might think it means that they’re “good” people. But by “Christian”, I mean they are really followers of Jesus Christ.
However, for them to truly be my peers, they must not too good a Christian. I mean, they must be the type of Christian who sometimes misses their quiet time, falls asleep while praying and laughs at Seinfeld. Otherwise, they may be very good Christians, but they’re not my peer.
They must also be Chiefs’ fans. This is essential, because I am convinced that if I ever commit a serious crime, it will likely be a result of going off the deep end after watching the Chiefs play. Only another Chiefs’ fan can truly understand how a missed field goal or a dropped pass can drive you to a life of crime.
Finally, my peers would have to be men who have spent their lives around lots of women. I grew up in a household with four women—my mom and three sisters. Now, the two most important people in my life are my wife and my daughter—wonderful, marvelous people, but of the female persuasion. Again, I believe that only another man who has lived with so many females could possibly begin to understand the reasons for my blank stares and why I always put down the toilet seat.
So, if I go on trial, I’m telling my lawyer to stack the jury with Christian Chiefs’ fans (which are surely easier to come by than Christian Broncos’ fans) who have lived their lives in homes with lots of female influence. Either that, or just take me before Judge Judy.