View single post by Joe Kelley
 Posted: Mon Dec 25th, 2017 09:39 pm
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Joe Kelley


Joined: Mon Nov 21st, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 6408
My old Client! a - good morning to you: whither so fast? you seem intent upon some important affair.

Worthy Sir! I am glad to see you thus opportunely, there being scace any person that I could at this time rather have wished to meet with.

I shall esteem myself happy, if in any thing I can serve you. - The business, I pray?

I am summoned to appear upon a Jury, and was just going to try if I could get off. Now I doubt not but you can put me into the best way to obtain that favour.

It is probable I could: but first let me know the reasons why you desire to decline that service.

You know, Sir, there is something of trouble and loss of time in it; and men's lives, liberties, and estates (which depend upon a jury's Guilty, or Not Guilty, for the plaintiff, or for the defendant) are weighty things. I would not wrong my conscience for a world, nor be accessary to any man's ruin. There are others better skilled in such matters. I have ever so loved peace, that I have forborne going to law, (as you well know many times) though it hath been much to my loss.

I commend your tenderness and modesty; yet must tell you, these are but general and weak excuses.
As for your time and trouble, it is not much; and however, can it be better spent than in doing justice, and serving your country? to withdraw yourself in such cases, is a kind of Sacrilege, a robbing of the public of those duties which you justly owe it; the more peaceable man you have been, the more fit you are. For the office of a Juryman is, conscientiously to judge his neighbour; and needs no more law than is easily learnt to direct him therein. I look upon you therefore as a man well qualified with estate, discretion, & integrity; and if all such as you should use private means to avoid it, how would the king and country be honestly served? At that rate we should have none but fools or knaves entrusted in this grand concern, on which (as you well observe) the lives, liberties, and estates of all England depend.
Your tenderness not to be accessary to any man's being wronged or ruined, is (as I said) much to be commended. But may you not incur it unawares, by seeking this to avoid it? Pilate was not innocent because he washed his hands, and said, He would have nothing to do with the blood of that just one. There are faults of omission as well as commission. When you are legally called to try such a cause, if you shall shuffle out yourself, and thereby persons perhaps less conscientious happen to be made use of, and so a villain escapes justice, or an innocent man is ruined, by a prepossessed or negligent verdict; can you think yourself in such a case wholly blameless? Qui non prohibet cum potest, jubet: That man abets an evil, who prevents it not, when it is in his power. Nec caret scrupulo sosietatis occultae qui evidenter facinori definit obviare: nor can he escape the suspicion of being a secret accomplice, who evidently declines the prevention of an atrocious crime.

Englishman’s Right: A Dialogue between a Barrister at Law and a Juryman, John Hawles, 1763