Citizen juries are already in place

By Robert I. Laitres


Dear Editor:

A group of individuals recently appeared before the Delta County Board of County Commissioners asking for public funds to set up what they called "citizen juries," claiming that the Constitution provides for them.

Were they better informed and intellectually astute, they would have realized that we already have citizen juries. Those are called grand juries (set up to return indictments) and trial juries (used to render verdicts). Both of those are made up of fellow citizens. Thus, we have citizen juries.

Their argument therefore really had nothing to do with citizen juries but rather a claim that those now serving on those juries are not the ones who should be serving. They believe that they are either the ones who should be serving or, at the very least, be the ones to select those they deem "qualified" to serve on those panels.

Whenever some of us see such occurrences, what we see is the demand, "Put me in charge and I will straighten everyone else out." Perhaps the first ones such individuals should "straighten out" are themselves, beginning with the recognition and admission to the fact that they, just like everyone else, are simply human beings.

Such individuals all too frequently refer to the United States Constitution and perhaps even the Federalist Papers. They remind some of us of what we encountered at a university or college where, if some author or book became popular, many students would carry a copy around, all too frequently quoting from it ad nauseam, for no other purpose than to "appear" sophisticated.

Robert I. Laitres
Delta