If there is one evil that Libertarians stand squarely against, it is involuntary servitude, or slavery. Slavery might be defined as forcing a person to work for no wages, or forcing a person to work for a wage which they would not accept under the Free Market.
Compulsory Jury Service differs very little from Conscription. Liberals have long been vocal against the draft or slavery, but they seem to be completely silent when it comes to the Crime of Jury Slavery. They’re quite vocal when it concerns the minimum wage, but are silent as the grave when it comes to the injustice of dragooning Free Citizens into working an entire day for $10 (the Oregon State compensation rate for the first two days of jury duty, which increases to $25/day after that. Mileage compensation is an inadequate 20 cents/mile.)
It should be clear that there is little difference between compulsory Jury Duty and Slavery. The Individual is forced to perform tasks on the State’s behalf and at the State’s bidding, at slave wages. If he refuses to comply with his enslavement, he can be fined $750. In some trials, he can be locked away for weeks and forbidden to read newspapers. This is obviously prison and slavery for non-criminals, something forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment. Yet this vile Crime has continued unabated in Oregon for decades, with Republican and Democrat Governors completely ignoring it. It shall be ignored no longer under my Administration.
But some might object that Jury Duty is a very important civic function, and insures that defendants will receive a fair trial before a jury of their peers, instead of trials and verdicts being conducted and declared by judges, especially since the judge is part of the State, and could be used by the State to silence its critics.
Very true, but this objection only highlights the pressing need for jurors who will gladly serve voluntarily. Obviously, the same claims for the virtue of serving on a jury at slave wages could also be made for the judge and the district attorney, but you will note that they are not paid $10 for a day of their life. No judge or D.A. would serve for less than minimum wage, unless they were gladly volunteering their services, nor would the public expect the quality of people in those positions to be of the highest if they were dragooned and coerced into serving at slave wages.
If we wouldn’t expect judges and D.A.s to serve at slave wages, why do we expect jurors to serve at those wages? And obviously, the quality of those juries suffers greatly when we have disgruntled jurors chaffing at the way they are being exploited as slaves. How many innocents have been sent to Oregon State Prisons because the jurors were in a hurry to bring in a verdict and get home to their televisions? We’ll never know.
Obviously, if we want jurors to serve gladly and voluntarily, we should pay decent compensation.
If elected Governor of Oregon, I will mandate that jurors must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours they are forced to be confined in court or the deliberation room, except for the lunch hour when they are free to leave the court building, thus making the State of Oregon compliant with the Thirteen Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
If we paid our Oregon jurors somewhere between minimum wage and $20/hr. we would have far better juries making far better decisions.
Let’s abolish the heinous Crime of Jury Slavery in Oregon.
Paul Grad, Libertarian, for Oregon Governor. paulgrad4governor.wordpress.com