Why I don’t believe in Jury Duty

I realize that it’s flat out unpatriotic, what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I refuse to sit on juries.

It’s like the bromide: “If nominated I won’t run. If elected I won’t serve.”

If I get a summons (and it seems like I get one every other month or so, rather, than every three years as authorities profess) I try to respond immediately with a letter proclaiming my hostility to what I describe as the Criminal Injustice System. It’s not a “justice system,” it’s just us, in the system.

If I wait too late and must appear in the courthouse for possible jury selection, I begrudgingly go down, hoping I won’t get called for a potential jury. Usually I do my time waiting for the day to end.

But on several occasions I have been called for possible selection for a jury. At first, when I used to appear regularly on live television at a station in “Da Hood,” I would complain to the judge that I would not dare sit on a criminal case, where a defendant (or members of his Crew), or a victim’s family member might recognize my face and want revenge if the verdict did not suit them. Folks have been stalked outside TV stations, and I was once threatened in an elevator by someone who had seen me on TV.

Now that I am no longer a celebrity, I simply tell the judge, that because I don’t buy into the system, I am unwilling to find any defendant guilty. Period.

I realize that silly young Black youth volunteer for billets in the jails, as though jail is a rite of passage which confers manhood on them, but no matter. I’m not buying in to the criminal industrial complex. Not me.

And then there is my sincerely held conviction that too many political prisoners are on lockdown, not because they are actually guilty of criminal offenses, but because they offended the political mores of the powers that be.

The Innocence Project has freed more than 200 innocent men from death row, now that DNA evidence can conclusively prove a defendant’s innocence, even though the Constitution is supposed to guarantee the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

How many thousands of others, it’s fair to reason, are innocent of lesser crimes, but were railroaded by crooked prosecutors and cops, or left to twist slowly in the wind by incompetent lawyers who take money from a concerned mother or grandmother, and then never put forward anything like an adequate defense of an innocent defendant? How about those innocent defendants represented by overworked public defenders, or those who are convinced to simply “cop a plea” to a lesser offense, just so they can clear the court’s backlog? Nope. Not me.

I am convinced that former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal is innocent of the charge that has left him on death row for more than 25 years, of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. I am certain he did not do it, and the evidence supports my position.

I don’t believe Imam Jamil El-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) is guilty of killing an Atlanta sheriff’s deputy, which has landed him in a notorious “Super Max” prison in Colorado, where even light and air are practically prohibited from entering or leaving. There is ample evidence also to support his innocence, but the rigged court system (as in the case of Abu Jamal) did not permit its introduction in his trial.

Troy Anthony Davis, who is likely to be executed in Georgia, now that the Supreme Court has denied his final appeal, is another. There is no physical evidence linking him to the murder for which he is convicted, all of the non-government witnesses against Davis have recanted their testimony against him.

The list goes on and on. There’s Bradley Manning, the poor Army Private, who is accused of leaking all the sensitive government documents Wiki-Leaks exposed. Give me a break! How could a lowly private get access to such sensitive documents, and no sergeants, or captains, or colonels, or generals have not been in on it with him???

Then there are The Cuban Five.

In their case, there is evidence of extensive payments from the U.S. government to Miami journalists covering the trial of the five men, in order to manipulate public opinion against them. Tell me about it.

So, sorry, that’s why I’m not planning to sit on any juries anytime soon.

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