Jury duty; Fire Marshal murdered...

Behind The News
December 4, 2007 2:33:31 PM PST
If you Google the words "jury duty" -- the first thing that pops up is "Jury Duty 101: Tips for Getting Out (Of) Serving." I suppose that's the first thing many people think about when they get that summons to show up at the courthouse for jury service.

But the Google search struck me as sad.

Sure it can be a pain, rearranging schedules and missing work and getting someone else to take the kids to school. I know -- I had to do all those things for my call to jury duty tomorrow morning. But I'm looking forward to going. Not looking forward to the endless waiting; but actually serving on a case would be interesting, even exciting. And -- not to sound corny -- it is our obligation. A jury of your peers is a crucial element of our legal system -- and none of us, if we were on trial, would take that lightly.

So I'm not looking to get out of jury duty. And I will show up, as ordered, tomorrow morning. I will miss taking the kids to school, although I won't miss the traffic and the hour it takes to make a 4-mile roundtrip. I will miss writing this column, and I will miss anchoring the 6 p.m. newscast -- if I get picked.

All of which is a rather convoluted way of saying that there will be no column tomorrow, and maybe the next day, and maybe the day after -- depending on what happens in court tomorrow. Will they dismiss me because I am on TV? That's not a dismissible offense; but it very well may be that the lawyers won't want a journalist on the jury, someone who has covered trials as a reporter and someone who covers crime on the news every night.

We'll see.

And for anyone who doubts the hard-sell of criminal justice in some countries, or who doesn't appreciate the rights we have here, consider what happened to the police chief of Tecate, a border town near Tijuana. Juan Soriano had been on the job since last week -- and had done a pretty good job. Too good -- at least for drug smugglers.

Cops discovered a mile-long tunnel running into California, a tunnel used by drug smugglers. The reaction from the bad guys? Within hours, they burst into Soriano's home as he slept in bed with his wife and shot him 50 times. They did not shoot his wife.

I'm just sayin'.

I could miss the 6 p.m. on jury duty, but I will be back for the 11 p.m. news. Speaking of which, tonight we're following developments on Staten Island, where a New York Fire Marshal was shot and killed last night - shot with his own service revolver. So far, no one has been arrested. But we're told the victim's wife has hired a lawyer.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports.

I hope you can join us, tonight at 11.

And for those who celebrate, Happy Hanukkah.

BILL RITTER


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