“Please Rise for the Jury.”
I had the honor of serving on a jury for a trial in Seattle Municipal Court. If it had been a state superior court trial I probably wouldn’t have thought it was such an honor, but due to the less egregious nature of the crimes tried in Municipal Court the trial lasted a total of a day and half and a verdict was delivered the next day.
I appreciated many things about being a juror. It was fascinating witnessing the judicial process. I loved watching how the prosecuting and defense attorneys presented their cases and the questions they asked the witnesses. I enjoyed being a part of the deliberations and listening to the different perspectives of the jurors and how they arrived at their verdict. And, lastly, I really loved how everyone is accorded much respect.
In court, everyone is addressed by an honorific and their last names. I don’t think I’ve been called Ms. Clise that many times over my whole life. And, the best part, everyone stood when we jurors entered and left the courtroom. Now that is the way it should be!
I realized just how informal we West Coasters are. It’s very rare for people to address others by their last name, even people they just met. And, to stand when a person of import enters or exits a room is almost unheard of anymore.
I’m not necessarily advocating that we go back to those days; however, I did enjoy it while in court.
What do you think? Do you think we should be more formal with each other and use an honorific and last name until we know someone well enough to call them by their first name? Should we stand when women or someone important enters or exits the room? Please share your thoughts.
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