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Jury duty is one's Constitutional duty

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By Harold Morgon

Voting, private property and stable legal institutions are pillars of our society. So is trial by jury.
The United States Constitution, Article 3, Section 3, says “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury…”
In the New Mexico Constitution trial by jury is in Article 2, Section 12, between religious freedom and bail. “The right of trial by jury as it has heretofore existed shall be secured to all and remain inviolate.”
Neither constitution mentions peers, though in the common vernacular “jury” and “peers” go together like “love” and “marriage.” Jury impartiality is what counts. But one Internet source (criminal.findlaw.com) traces the use of peers back to the Magna Carta. Today “fellow citizens” is another phrase for peers.
To be on a jury, one is plucked from voter lists and just about any other official known database. A letter comes saying the court needs some possible jurors, and you are on call for a while, three weeks in my case.


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