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Have You Formed An Opinion?

Have You Formed An Opinion? image
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jíd. uourier:- Among the most serious drawbacks which iinpede the formafion of a jury of honest conscientious men, is that rule which requires tliat to be qualified and serve as a juror, a person shall not liave fonned or passed an opinión as to the guiltor innocence of the prisoner in criminal cases. It ís evident enough that any onc who has evereven heard of the case, eau if he chooses, conscientiously aver tuíJt he has formed an opinión, and that he can, if so minded, escape duty altogether. To this it might be objected that a man who would not perform his duty cheerfully and willingly ought not to serve as a juror at all. rerhaps not. To serve on a jury Is like voting at eleetions, a duty which ever}' one owes to his country, if he expects to live In a well ordered community and enjoy his rightsof person and roperty. Unfortunately, the most conscientious citizens are apt to be uncommonly busy about the time they are sumnioued to serve as jurors. This is i retnarkable fact. Did any one ever know a man to be summoned as a juror who was not just then knee deep in a Irade, sale, or just going to Europe, or bouglit a fine yoke ot oxen whicli he must prove, or perhaps married a wlfe? So the good conscieutious man says that there are plenty of citizens as good as he, that he will get off this time and do his dutv the next. St he suddenly remembers to hive formed an an opinión and expressed it, and gets off. Such a man ought nrt to serve on a jury. Now, Mr. Editor, do yon suppose the "tree-frog" gentleman who eventually filis his place is innen better quallfled. The getter-off has told no lie. It he is po?sessed of the simplest rudiments of intelligence and knows how to read, the chances are a thousand to one that 01 that lias been so fiir discussed relative to the case, has been hunted upand published by some untiring shrewd reporter like yourself, who bas made racb research the business of his life, and who by such experience has acquired a tolerably unerring tact of giies.-ing at the truc state of the case. As a last resort, perhaps those are taken who cannot, do not, and will not read the newspapers. Mere we are in a hobble again, for we hold the truth to be self evident that a man who does not read the papers now-a-davi is uaflt to live In a conininnity at all, let alone serving on juries. It does not appear to have struck the popular mind that at the present day, this asking a man whether he has formed an opinión as to the merits of the case, is only in another forin a combinution of the spirit of the following queetions: "Are you a natural fooi ? Are you ignorant of wliatall the town istalking abuiit; or have you heard them talking about it without rcfiVeting in the least upon the subject?" And finally, "can you read?" It is evident that at the present day the needs of society have so far progressed, and relations have so far clianged, that in reality, the man who has ooi thought of the case, and to some extent at least, formed somcthiiig of an opinión as to its merits is !east of all quaüfied to sitonajury. It is not the Hiere fact of having heard of, and to some extent considered it from wliat he has beard, which ihould disqualifv him; on the contrary it ís an evidence of his intelligence and abilty. The question is, or should be: "If irther facts present themselves, and afxr hearing the matter fairly argued, :ould the views you have adopted be :hanged?"' or in other words, "liaving 'ornied an opinión, do you think you :ould reform It?"


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News