[Read my new post The Mentally Ill Person’s Guide To Jury Duty]
I received some very interesting mail this morning. I’ve been selected for jury duty in August.
This being my first summons, I’m not quite sure what to expect. My mom told me that just because I got the summons, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be selected for the jury. I’m both excited and trepidatious (the OED says it’s a word; shut up, spellcheck), and I can’t figure out what feeling is more dominant.
I guess I’m leaning more towards being anxious because of one part of the summons in particular. On it, it asks if I have any physical or mental conditions that would impair my judgement, and if so, I must list them. Being that I have anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder, I’m on the fence about answering yes.
Personally, I think I’m highly capable of looking at the case in an unbiased, logical way. I do, however, foresee possibilities that I do not like the thought of:
- What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of a session?
- I’m terrified of conflict, so what if people get upset with me (fellow jury members, the community) because they don’t like my decision? How do I deal with that?
- What if I do get accepted, but then they find out that I’m mentally ill and embarrassingly kick me off jury duty in front of everyone?
- What if the trial is for something particularly horrible, and I find out halfway through the case that I can’t handle it?
Has anyone else with a mental illness been on jury duty? What “mental condition” would disqualify me from serving? I’d greatly appreciate any advice you guys can offer. I don’t know what to say in my reply to the summons. Do I tell them about my disorders, or is it unnecessary? Do I qualify to be a juror?
[I answer these questions and more in my follow-up post The Mentally Ill Person’s Guide To Jury Duty]
Feature image background photographed by Brian Turner and used via Flickr.