Where’s the justice? Everyone else wants out of jury duty, but I desperately want in

It’s an awful thing to realise you hate someone you’re supposed to love, but that is precisely how I felt when my wife complained about receiving her fifth jury summons in five years.

“Another jury duty letter; it’s such a joke,” she said, tossing the mail in front of me. “Is there no one else they can ask?”

For most people, jury duty is a chore they’re desperate to avoid. Not for me.

Yes, there is someone else they can ask, someone who has been waiting for this moment their entire lives, someone who doesn’t consider jury duty a duty at all; in fact, they see it as more of an honour – someone like me.

When I turned 18, I was equally excited to be a juror as I was to drink and smoke. It’s a fixation that stems from a lifelong fascination with courtroom dramas and a realistic acknowledgement that I didn’t have it in me to become a great lawyer.

Instead, I would become a great juror.

When my first year of adulthood passed without a summons, I didn’t panic, confident the justice system would soon realise the error of its ways. Then five years lapsed, and reasonable doubt (that’s a legal term) began to creep in.

Had I been deemed unworthy? Were they saving me for the trial of the century? Did I exist at all if I didn’t exist on the electoral roll?

Now it has been a soul-crushing 15 years, and at 33, I am still awaiting my first call-up. Each week I check the mailbox only to be met with bills, junk mail and pamphlets offering landscaping services for a garden I can’t afford (because I am an OK writer, not a great lawyer).

To make matters worse, I am surrounded by people who a) can’t stop being summoned and b) treat jury duty as a civic chore they must desperately try to avoid.

I was discussing my jury duty complex at a BBQ last weekend (I am a fun person to invite to BBQs) and grew even more disillusioned as everyone traded notes on the different ways they’ve been excused.

There were tales of impromptu overseas holidays and exaggerated letters from employers. One friend admitted to wearing “her weirdest outfit” to spook the respective counsels.

Turns out this is actually a pretty popular method, and there is a whole internet thread dedicated to the question: Could I get out of jury duty by wearing a clown suit to jury selection?

Another friend considered uprooting his entire life and moving to the country because “you are eligible to apply if you live further than 65 kilometres away from the courthouse or have limited or no access to public transportation”.

Meanwhile, at this stage, I will move closer to the nearest courthouse if it might improve my chances of getting the call-up. It should come as no surprise that I have gone deep into the data to determine why the justice system is so determined to stop me from achieving my dreams.

It is my life goal to wear this little identification tag and eat snacks in the juror snack room.

According to the NSW Communities and Justice website, each year, the names of around 200,000 potential jurors are randomly selected from the Electoral Roll and included on a jury list.

From that list,150,000 people are sent a summons to attend court, but only 9,000 people a year are selected to serve on jury panels for specific trials.

Considering you are eligible from the moment you turn 18, and I am 33 (but have never even been called upon), that equates to three million summonses sent, none of which have come my way. And while I understand, in theory, the selection is random, in my lowest moments, it can’t help but feel pointed.

The hardest thing to accept is that I am confident, if given a chance, I would make an excellent juror. I don’t mind being locked away in a small room with strangers, I am fair and measured but also deeply judgemental, and I almost always know who the killer is on shows like Law & Order way before it’s revealed.

Sadly, these qualifications count for nothing, so my day in court remains frustratingly out of reach. The longer this drags on, the more seriously I think about committing a crime, something white-collar probably, to land myself in front of a jury.

Knowing my luck, I’ll turn up on the day and see a panel composed exclusively of close friends and family, all dressed in clown suits.

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