I suspect that many writers would jump at the call for jury duty. I should too, after all how often does one get a chance to observe so closely a criminal case? It’s a civic duty. If only it didn’t, always, come at a bad time. What is one to do? It may be time to fill out the questionnaire with Leo Tolstoy’s words:
“The usual argument “What is one to do with the evil doers? Surely not let them go unpunished?” no longer confused him. This objection might have a meaning if it were proved that punishment lessened crime, or improved the criminal, but when the contrary was proved, and it was evident that it was not in people’s power to correct each other, the only reasonable thing to do is to leave off doing the things which are not only useless, but harmful, immoral and cruel.
For many centuries people who were considered criminals have been tortured. Well, and have they ceased to exist? No; their numbers have been increased not alone by the criminals corrupted by punishment but also by those lawful criminals, the judges, procureurs, magistrates and jailers, who judge and punish men.
Nekhludoff now understood that society and order in general exists not because of these lawful criminals who judge and punish others, but because in spite of men being thus depraved, they still pity and love one another.”