Impaneling a Jury in Cook County
By Cornelius Johnson
ONE of the judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, the other day called the roll of a petit jury, and asked for any excuses they might have why they should not be obliged to sit as jurors at that time. Each member, as his name was called, responded and had some kind of an excuse to give, some humorous and some not so humorous, yet sufficiently so to keep the whole court room laugh ing. When the judge had called all the names, he also laughed and with a good-natured smile continued: — "The usual story of every panel of jurors I have ever called in this city! No one wants to serve, and all manner of excuses are offered, and some of them are really good. Now, if I could I'd let you all go, but it is getting near vacation and we need all you jurors to finish up your business, so I can only let a very few of you go. I will begin with the best excuse and go down the list. "First, Nels Erickson. Will you step forward? You are the painter and deco rator. "Yes, sir, Judge." "Well, this is the time of spring when the whole world takes on a fresh coat of color and assumes the spirit of joy. Your business is to lend a helping hand in that. I realize your season for work is short and that this is the busiest part of it, and that you want to make money while you can. I also realize that you are much sought after by the house wives and that to keep you away from your work would be to disturb much
of our domestic tranquillity. So I will have to let you go." "Thank you, Judge. Next spring I will gladly serve." "Now, the next juror, Michael Flannigan. You say your mother-in-law died?" "Yes, your Honor; it was too bad. I'd be glad to serve, but I can't serve my country with her dead at home." "No, I suppose not. And you will no doubt want to see her buried, so you may go." "Next juror, Robert Nicholson. You say you have to attend a wedding this coming week?" "Yes, sir." "Whose wedding is it? How are you so interested in it that you really have to be there?" He blushed and then stuttered, "It is my wedding." "Oh, yours! You will surely have to go then. They could hardly get along without you. I suppose she is waiting for you now, so you had better hurry back." "Next, Guido de Angelo. You say you are a poor man, married, have seven small children to support and that four of them are sick with the mumps and the measles, and you have to have a doctor and food, and can't get along on the two dollars a day that the state will pay you to act as j uror?" "Yes, Judge, all kinds of trouble at home." "Well, it looks that way. What do you do for a living, and how much do you get a day?"