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Offline mcollier

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Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
« on: July 11, 2018, 05:00:10 PM »
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  • Today I had to serve on Jury Duty. 

    After a day-long process, I was not empanelled. 

    But a few questions came up re: a traditional Catholic's obligations/restrictions when serving on Jury Duty. 

    • They asked all prospective jurors while under oath to state if we would follow all laws in rendering a verdict, no matter what our personal feelings about the laws might be. I raised my juror ID card indicating that I could not. I responded this way because, in my understanding of Catholic theology (and the teachings of St. Aquinas), immoral laws are to be treated as invalid laws. Later when the Judge called me in before himself and all of the lawyers, he asked this question again, where I was able to clarify "if and only if" the law is an immoral law. - Did I get the Church's teaching correct and did I handle this situation in the right way? 
    • If I was empanelled they would have asked me to swear an oath with my left hand on a KJV of the Bible. If this would have happened today I would have said (in front of 73 other potential Jurors, the Judge, the lawyers, the defendant, and court staff/security that I would not be able to do so unless they had a Douay Rheims, Latin Vulgate or other proper Catholic Bible). Would that have been the right response? 
    • Is there anything else that I am missing that a traditional Catholic should know (or be cautious about) related to carrying out this or any other civic duty more generally speaking? 

    Thankfully was not selected this time around.   8)

    Thank you


    Offline Miseremini

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 05:28:05 PM »
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  • What was the oath you would have had to swear?
    "Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and them that hate Him flee from before His Holy Face"  Psalm 67:2[/b]



    Online Pax Vobis

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 05:30:02 PM »
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  • Most of the crimes which involve a jury are crimes against the natural law (i.e. murder, attempted murder, grand larceny, rape, etc), so the idea of an "immoral law" won't apply in 99% of the cases.  

    I've been on a jury and never had to swear on a bible.  Even if you had to swear on a KJV bible, who cares?  You're just promising you'll be truthful and just; you're not swearing to convert.  It's not a religious issue!

    Finally, you should consider it a supreme honor and duty to serve on a jury.  It is also a HUGE act of charity to do so, for you are giving your fellow man a hearing, whereby society decides if he is innocent or guilty.  Ask yourself this question:  If you ever found yourself in the unfortunate situation where you had to stand trial and be judged by a "jury of your peers", wouldn't you hope that the jury was filled with 1) traditional catholics, 2) law-abiding, honest, hard-working citizens or 3) some combination of the two?

    If you try to avoid jury duty you are doing a disservice to your community, by not taking part in the local justice system, and also doing a disservice to your country, for our laws were made to protect everyone and if "normal americans" skip out on the process, then the local/state/federal criminal system is overly-affected by those who just "show up" (probably because they are on welfare and have nothing better to do).  Do you want your country being run by those on welfare?

    "Evil will prosper when good men do nothing".  

    Online Seraphina

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 08:18:58 PM »
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  • Jurors do not swear on a Bible, only those giving testimony before the judge and jury.  If the particular case involved upholds an  immoral law you need to disqualify yourself.  For example, if you needed to uphold a law concerning "rights" to abortion, same-sex "marriage," or euthanasia, you could not be impartial.  That being the case, when it comes to the voir dere, you'd be dismissed by one of the lawyers as being biased.  
    If I'm not mistaken, it is legal in the US to "affirm" rather than swear an oath, so long as you make this known in advance to the judge.  Again, this applies mainly to testifying, not jury service. 
    Since so many people do not want to serve on a jury, the courts now summon everyone, even those formerly excused.  A few years ago, my mother was given a "must appear" summons to grand jury located 80 miles from her home.  She is handicapped and cannot drive, also, was 91 years of age!  So my Dad who was still driving had no choice but to drive her in, request assistance with her wheelchair, etc. They presented the doctor's note and had to be helped to return to the parking garage in order to leave.  Four years ago I was summoned along with an elderly man on a walker who was deaf.  Despite hearing aids, he could not hear when his name was called.  He was dismissed at the end of the day.  The next day a woman went into labor in the jury pool room and left via ambulance.  She asked to be excused the first day and was denied. Really, the court should be ashamed to require a very visibly pregnant woman to appear.  
    In a few more humorous incidents in my area, among those receiving "must serve" summons have been the deceased, infants and children,  pets with human names, dogs, cats, a parrot, and a horse!  
    My opinion is that Catholics should serve if they can do so.

    Offline TKGS

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 08:23:51 PM »
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  • You are correct in saying that an unjust law is no law but I don't think you need tell anyone this.  A State "law" that is not a valid law isn't really a "law".  Furthermore, you don't have to accept the judge's word on what the law is.  He can tell you his opinion (you should note that judges' rulings are actually called, "opinions" in law), but as a juror, you are free to see what the law says and render your own "opinion".  The best part is that no juror has to explain how he comes to his verdict to anyone.

    In any event, Pax Vobis made excellent points and I think what he said should be accepted at face value.


    Offline klasG4e

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 10:07:27 PM »
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  • The JEWdiciary and the Kol Nidre -- now there's an interesting topic.

    Offline poche

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #6 on: July 12, 2018, 04:17:54 AM »
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  • Jesus said, "Let your yes be yes and your no be no." I don't think it matters what bible or book you put your hand on you still have to tell the truth.

    Offline mcollier

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #7 on: July 12, 2018, 09:08:28 AM »
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  • Most of the crimes which involve a jury are crimes against the natural law (i.e. murder, attempted murder, grand larceny, rape, etc), so the idea of an "immoral law" won't apply in 99% of the cases.  

    I've been on a jury and never had to swear on a bible.  Even if you had to swear on a KJV bible, who cares?  You're just promising you'll be truthful and just; you're not swearing to convert.  It's not a religious issue!

    Finally, you should consider it a supreme honor and duty to serve on a jury.  It is also a HUGE act of charity to do so, for you are giving your fellow man a hearing, whereby society decides if he is innocent or guilty.  Ask yourself this question:  If you ever found yourself in the unfortunate situation where you had to stand trial and be judged by a "jury of your peers", wouldn't you hope that the jury was filled with 1) traditional catholics, 2) law-abiding, honest, hard-working citizens or 3) some combination of the two?

    If you try to avoid jury duty you are doing a disservice to your community, by not taking part in the local justice system, and also doing a disservice to your country, for our laws were made to protect everyone and if "normal americans" skip out on the process, then the local/state/federal criminal system is overly-affected by those who just "show up" (probably because they are on welfare and have nothing better to do).  Do you want your country being run by those on welfare?

    "Evil will prosper when good men do nothing".  
    Thank you. 
    I agree 100% that trying to avoid jury duty would be a great disservice and that it would be an act of charity for a traditional Catholic to serve. 
    I hope I did not give you the impression that I would ever intentionally avoid jury duty without a just cause for doing so. I have very important reasons why I would not be able to serve on this particular jury at this particular time. 
    That said, the Judge put us under oath and asked us very straightforward questions that required very straightforward responses. Wouldn't I be lying if I were to conceal the straightforward truth? (Again, I do not ask to be a wise guy...I am sincerely trying to learn, not so much to avoid my duty as a good Catholic, but to faithfully fulfill it). I have read that the Jesuits were dispensed from giving straightforward answers during the persecution of Catholics in England after Henry VIII. Does the same kind of interpretative leeway extend to the laity and to the present day? As the other poster recalled Our Lord said, "But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil." Mt 5:37 This has always been my approach. If someone asks me a question, I try to give then a straightforward answer to the best of by ability. 

    As for swearing an oath of the KJV of the Bible, your answer seems very reasonable to me and I will accept it going forward (unless I get direction from a higher authority on the subject). It would seem extreme for me to refuse to take the oath on the KJV and it could lead others to misunderstand why I would do so. The reason I asked the question was that I recall reading that the Catechism of the Council of Trent says Catholics must burn a heretical text of the Bible that is given to them or that falls into their possession as soon as possible. Given this strong command from Trent I found myself asking myself what I should do since taking an oath is a very serious matter. Perhaps I am being too much of an extremist and this undermines my greater duty to carry out my civic duty which is something a good traditional Catholic ought to do. 

    That is really why I asked these questions. 

    Duty to country is something I take very, very seriously. When I was in the courtroom I took my role as prospective juror very seriously. That is why in the future I want to be better prepared so I don't begin second guessing what my responses should or shouldn't be in this particular venue. 

    Thank you again for your response. 


    Offline mcollier

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #8 on: July 12, 2018, 09:22:37 AM »
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  • Jurors do not swear on a Bible, only those giving testimony before the judge and jury.  If the particular case involved upholds an  immoral law you need to disqualify yourself.  For example, if you needed to uphold a law concerning "rights" to abortion, same-sex "marriage," or euthanasia, you could not be impartial.  That being the case, when it comes to the voir dere, you'd be dismissed by one of the lawyers as being biased.  
    If I'm not mistaken, it is legal in the US to "affirm" rather than swear an oath, so long as you make this known in advance to the judge.  Again, this applies mainly to testifying, not jury service.
    Since so many people do not want to serve on a jury, the courts now summon everyone, even those formerly excused.  A few years ago, my mother was given a "must appear" summons to grand jury located 80 miles from her home.  She is handicapped and cannot drive, also, was 91 years of age!  So my Dad who was still driving had no choice but to drive her in, request assistance with her wheelchair, etc. They presented the doctor's note and had to be helped to return to the parking garage in order to leave.  Four years ago I was summoned along with an elderly man on a walker who was deaf.  Despite hearing aids, he could not hear when his name was called.  He was dismissed at the end of the day.  The next day a woman went into labor in the jury pool room and left via ambulance.  She asked to be excused the first day and was denied. Really, the court should be ashamed to require a very visibly pregnant woman to appear.  
    In a few more humorous incidents in my area, among those receiving "must serve" summons have been the deceased, infants and children,  pets with human names, dogs, cats, a parrot, and a horse!  
    My opinion is that Catholics should serve if they can do so.
    Six KJV Bibles were placed before juror selection was completed. The 12 jurors and 2 alternates that were empanelled were then asked to place their left hand on the Bible and raise their right hand a take an oath for this particular trial before the rest of us were dismissed.  
    I suppose a juror could have objected and other arrangements would have been made. 
    I would not want to have appeared like an atheist so Pax Vobis advice seems like the most prudent course of action in the future. (I might still quietly/politely ask if they have a Catholic translation of the Bible, but beyond that not cause too much of a scene or disruption). Unless someone else has good reason that the Council of Trent says Catholics should do otherwise with regard to heretical texts of the Bible. 
    I know all of this line of questioning about the KJV Bible may seem extreme, but when I think of our Catholic forebearers who died for the true Mass of All Time and for the true Sacred Scripture and Holy Mother Church...I will go to whatever extremer Our Mother the Church asks me to go. 
    But I also understand Pax Vobis strong advice not to create a scene that could cause other people to misinterpret my actions and also deprive the defendant of the charity due to him of faithfully carrying out one's civic duty to serve as a good juror (especially on the part of a traditional Catholic who I know I would want empanelled on my jury if I found myself in the same situation). 
    Again, thank you all for the responses. 

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #9 on: July 12, 2018, 09:37:16 AM »
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  • I agree that I could not categorically swear to follow the accept and apply all the laws of the state.  I would weigh them against Catholic theological principles.  This is known as "jury nullification" and typically will get you thrown off a jury.

    Offline TKGS

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #10 on: July 12, 2018, 12:15:51 PM »
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  • I agree that I could not categorically swear to follow the accept and apply all the laws of the state.  I would weigh them against Catholic theological principles.  This is known as "jury nullification" and typically will get you thrown off a jury.
    Except that the supreme court has ruled that jury nullification is the right of the jury.  While you may get thrown off a jury if you make it clear that is an option, the common law of every State and the United States is that the jury may refuse to accept and apply the positive laws of the State if it would be a miscarriage of justice.  Thus, any Catholic can swear to accept and apply all the laws of the State knowing that the right of jury nullification is also a law of the State.


    Offline Hank Igitur Orate Fratre

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #11 on: July 12, 2018, 03:22:32 PM »
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  • Never swear to ANY secular Oath and never swear on ANY Bible or other book because Christ forbids it. Let your "yes" mean "yes" and let your "no" mean "no." 

    Offline JezusDeKoning

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #12 on: July 12, 2018, 03:59:49 PM »
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  • Never swear to ANY secular Oath and never swear on ANY Bible or other book because Christ forbids it. Let your "yes" mean "yes" and let your "no" mean "no."
    He's just there for jury duty -- we shouldn't over-complicate anything if asked to do so and just follow the laws as best as we can. Nor should one expect to swear on a Catholic translation of Scripture in a country that is majority Protestant.
    Justice for Hannah Cornelius

    Offline Ladislaus

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #13 on: July 12, 2018, 06:40:46 PM »
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  • Except that the supreme court has ruled that jury nullification is the right of the jury.  While you may get thrown off a jury if you make it clear that is an option, the common law of every State and the United States is that the jury may refuse to accept and apply the positive laws of the State if it would be a miscarriage of justice.  Thus, any Catholic can swear to accept and apply all the laws of the State knowing that the right of jury nullification is also a law of the State.
    Jury nullification is not a law.  But if you can take the oath ... and I could not as it's worded ... bring your own Catholic Bible.  Muslims bring Korans and Jews the Torah.  So we should also assert ourselves.  I once told an employer that I could not work on a Holy Day for religious reasons and he became very accommodating, saying I didn't even have to take a vacation day.  Jews get SAT tests moved from Saturdays, but Catholics are too cowardly to assert themselves, and so we get trampled on.
     

    Offline TKGS

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    Re: Jury Duty - traditional Catholic
    « Reply #14 on: July 12, 2018, 06:47:14 PM »
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  • Jury nullification is not a law.  
    I beg to differ.  It is not positive law (as far as I know), it is part of the unwritten common law as established in U.S. courts.

     

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