Letters to the Editor

Jury service requires sacrifice, deserves respect

This is in response to an Aug. 26 editorial and cartoon which mocked and criticized an Aug. 19 jury verdict in favor of an injured electrician.

Jury service is a cornerstone of good citizenship. It takes longer than voting — often weeks. Your work and home life are disrupted, and the pay is lousy. In most of America juries are honored and thanked for their service. But not in St. Clair County.

Here the News-Democrat ridicules 12 of our fellow citizens for their service; relegating them to cartoon figures who foolishly awarded millions of dollars to a man the paper portrayed as an injured stooge, and willing to award millions more to a bailiff for donuts. All because they didn’t agree with the decision.

But the newspaper didn’t cover the trial. Five days of testimony and evidence and arguments and not one single reporter was ever there, not for one minute. The jury reported every day. They showed up; the newspaper didn’t.

Is the News-Democrat attacking this jury to intimidate future juries from voting their conscience? “Return a fair verdict and we will publicly embarrass you!”

And who will they attack next? Soldiers who fight in wars the paper opposes? Or maybe the parents of fallen soldiers who practice a religion the editorial board frowns on? Where does it stop?

We teach our children to consider all of the evidence before making up their minds. This newspaper decides without hearing any.

Thomas Q. Keefe Jr., Belleville