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Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: The Benefits of Jury Duty

February 23, 2010

Getting notice for jury duty. It makes many people cringe. The thought of spending valuable days (if not weeks or months) listening to complicated legal issues during a trial causes many people to come up with any excuse possible to avoid it.
Jury duty is a “duty” but it is also an honor. It is a way to ensure that ordinary individuals are the ultimate decision making authority in many cases within our judicial system. In the early United States, leaders made trials by jury the foundation of our legal system. Because of numerous legal abuses by England toward the colonies, leaders sought to prevent the government from controlling all aspects of the judicial system. This is the reason why they placed more responsibility on a jury than on the judges or the lawyers involved in the courtroom process. Founding fathers believed that giving people from all backgrounds (other than women or people of color – but that is an article for another day) the duty to serve on juries would restrain court abuses and promote true justice.
Serving on a jury can enrich individuals in numerous ways. In debating evidence with other jurors, you will meet new people, learn about their lives, and listen to their points of view about the case. It can be an eye-opening experience. Having people from a wide variety of different backgrounds make a united decision can be challenging, but ultimately the confidence of the judicial system is dependent upon such a decision.
Jury duty is also a way to get away from your daily life to do something different and potentially exciting. In doing so, you will gain new insight into the legal system and you may create memories that you will always remember.
Finally, by serving on a jury you\'ll gain the feeling of being an important part of the American system, rather than just someone who is governed. Through this important role, you will have a direct effect on the outcome of a legal case that has likely been pending at least a year. While there are some flaws with the jury system (for example two different juries may have completely different decision findings for the same facts), the opportunity to serve on a jury should be viewed not only as a duty, but as a public service where all participants benefit.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay