Originally Posted by MiddleAgedAl
In theory, I get what you are saying and agree. Sadly, not everyone gets any compensation by their employer for it, and some genuinely cannot afford it; they may be locked into financial obligations that are impossible to meet without that help, especially if it's a long case.
They say that jury duty is a very important thing, but when you look at the compensation for it, that quickly blows a hole in that assertion. What message does it send when they pay less than a grade 10 student makes at McDonalds for that same amount of time ? The system is profoundly broken, and basically creates an incentive for many (not all) people to try and get out of it.
If they cant scrape up the funds to compensate people properly for the level of important decision making you are asking them to do, then at least pass laws to make it illegal to financially penalize people who suspend their payments during jury duty or something. That would add teeth to the idea that it's such an important duty.
Otherwise, it simply has the unintended effect of filtering out the good people who were trustworthy enough to get jobs and loans, and lets in those with nowhere better to be, or people who do have somewhere better to be, but are not clever enough to get out of jury duty (with some exceptions of course, but not enough IMHO to make it a jury of my "peers".)
All good, no major disagreement. But when the best and the brightest are always able to find a way out or are excluded for those same attributes you end up with a justice system that is broken. We are left with juries who are populated with the semi-competent, too "slow" to escape, yielding results that we all shake our heads over. I've done a dozen courts martials (not the same of course) and been called and disqualified from three civilian court cases. Each disqualification was for the worst of reasons--too educated, too experienced, too familiar with the crime, too whatever. This system is broken.