Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Judge Lee Cornell

Jury duty a civil service to be taken seriously

The commander of the VFW Post in Absarokee asked me to be the guest speaker at the Memorial Day program that was held at the Rosebud Cemetery, located just south of Absarokee, this past Sunday.
This was truly an honor, and not one that mere words could do justice to.
I would sincerely like to thank the VFW members, and the members of the VFW Auxiliary, for putting together the program and for making sure the lives of the fallen are not forgotten.
I would also like to thank the members of the community that took the time to attend and pay their respects to the men and women of all branches of the United States military who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
So many people don’t take the time to think about, and truly understand, that freedom comes with a cost, and that being a citizen in a free democracy also comes with certain duties and responsibilities.
Let’s use the example of jury duty.
I have heard the jokes that say something to the effect of, “I don’t want my fate decided by 12 people that aren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.”
In all seriousness, jury service is something that is the duty of all citizens, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here’s the deal: every year in May, each of the three courts in Stillwater County (City Court, Justice Court, and State District Court) all randomly (via the state of Montana) pull a list of names that are sent questionnaires. Each court asks for a different number of prospective jurors, and each court uses a different color for these questionnaires.
People who are sent these questionnaires have a legal obligation to fill out and return these documents. All someone needs to do is simply read the heading, fill out the questionnaire, and return it to the court listed at the top of the questionnaire.
If you have a valid excuse as to why you are unable to serve as a juror from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, then a second page is added for this purpose.
You, and every other citizen, have the right to be judged by a fair and impartial jury of your peers.
The court must have a list of such people to choose from, so please take the time to fill out the questionnaires and return them to the proper court.
It’s your duty, and it’s the law.