Editor's Notebook

Jury Duty . . . Again?

I've lived in Arlington County for more than a decade, and I've never once, for whatever reason, been summoned to serve on jury duty.

Our own intrepid Kristen Armstrong has been called twice - once for federal service, and, starting today, for county jury duty.

I've been told that, in many jurisdictions, neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys want newspaper people on juries. We . . . um . . . ask too many questions once deliberations in the jury room begin.

Arlington may be different, since, in general, the jury pool in the county (and Fairfax, too) is pretty well educated. We shall see.

About a decade ago, I was summoned to jury duty in Horry County, S.C. (home of Myrtle Beach). I ended up on a murder trial, which took about four days, an eternity for a South Carolina trial, I'm told.

The young man stood accused of killing his grandmother; he had a public defender, and there really was no attempt made to suggest that he didn't do it, only that there were mitigating circumstance.

It took us about 45 minutes to render our verdict of guilty, although there was a lot of thought put into it during that brief time frame.

In South Carolina at the time, the judge, not the jury, determined the sentence, so we did not have that responsibility.

Return to index of articles