Tag Archives: Law

Courage at Twilight: Jury Duty

Mom showed me her summons to jury duty, and asked me what she should do about it.  Having been a prosecuting attorney who tried many cases to a jury, I knew Mom would not be able to endure the experience, even the preliminary stage of jury selection.  So, I helped her fill out the questionnaire, which asked, “Is there any reason you cannot serve on a jury?”  I wrote in my best cursive, “I am too old to be on a jury.  I cannot walk but a short distance because of arthritis in my knees.  I cannot sit for a long time, and need frequent restroom breaks.  I am getting hard of hearing.  And my memory is not what it used to be.  I am just too old and feeble even to show up for jury duty, let alone actually hear the whole case.  And I am a caretaker for my husband, who is even older than me.  I simply cannot report for duty.  Please excuse me.”  She signed the questionnaire after assuring me that my words conveyed her true sentiment.  I felt confident that no judge would hold this feisty great-grandmother in contempt of court for not reporting for jury duty, especially after so articulate an explanation.  Mom had served before on a jury in a criminal case.  She had listened intently to the evidence, applied the relevant law, and found the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  She was proud to have fulfilled her constitutional obligation.  She would be happy even now to serve again, were she able.  But she is not able, and she knows it.  And now the judge knows it.  Nothing but the truth.

(Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay)

Farmer

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I have often second-guessed my career as a lawyer, wondering if I would have been better suited as an ornithologist, a cosmologist, an English teacher, or a writer.  It doesn’t matter anymore, really: I’ve been a lawyer for 25 years.  And I will be the best municipal lawyer I can be until I retire, and happy to do it.  Throughout my career, I have found opportunities to be both the intellectual and the romantic, the lawyer and the poet, the analyst and the naturalist. In my poem “Farmer” I explore the concept of being who we really are in the midst of circumstances that, we think, may not suit us but in which we find ourselves.  And, maybe we are right where we need to be: learning, stretching, becoming.

FARMER

Now,
looking back thirty years,
I would to have sidestepped
a torturous jurisprudence.
I would, rather, to have studied
the sturdy soil,
the art of growing things.
Still, today,
from my desk,
I till and I plant;
I nurture and hoe out the choking weeds,
looking to the harvest.
Resolutions are my cash crop,
statutes and prosecutions.
Policies and proclamations
yield forthcoming fruits.
The pen is my plough,
reams of paper
my fertile, furrowed fields,
poems my flower garden,
where butterflies condescend
to radiate.