It routinely happens at the Clinton County Courthouse: A jury trial is scheduled and a pool of citizens is called in as the attorneys seek to seat a jury.

One by one, they face questioning to find out if they would be an appropriate juror for the case at hand. Sometimes, those in the jury pool are excited about the prospect of serving on a jury; others are not so gleeful and look for a way to get out of serving.

We can understand the latter sentiment — sometimes it is inconvenient to take time away from family, work or recreation to listen to the facts, concentrate on their meaning and then deliberate the defendant’s guilt or innocence. We’re also sure that some don’t feel comfortable sitting in judgment of others.

But what an important task it is.

Just take a look at the jury selected for Maurice Walker’s double murder trial last month. The trial was moved to Scott County because of fears that pretrial publicity tainted potential jurors in Clinton County.

As we sat through the jury selection process, it was easy to see why some would have dreaded being involved in the selection — let alone see grisly crime scene pictures and hear all the details about a murder and then make such a weighty decision.

Jury selection was a lengthy process, with a panel selected and more questions to follow.

What do you do for a living? Do you watch “CSI?” When you are making important life decisions, how do you reach a conclusion? Do you dig around for answers by doing research?

All of the questions bore meaning as the attorneys sought to reduce the jury to the final 12 and two alternates. All learned as the pool was narrowed that this was a murder trial and that the trial was going to take about a week and a half. Some had served before and had no qualms about doing so again. They were asked if they would be able to make a decision about whether Walker was guilty of shooting his ex-wife and her boyfriend and whether they would be able to stand up to other jurors if their opinions differed.

Again, it would have been easy for a person to answer in a way that would lead to their ouster.

But in the final stretch of jury selection, those remaining — representing all ages from all walks of life — stood firm that they could take on the task, deeming it one of great importance that demanded weighing the evidence fairly.

It was impressive to watch and serves as a reminder about the awesomeness of our judicial system.

But it isn’t just murder trials. Jury trials take place at county courthouses regularly on a much smaller scale — less serious crimes, less lengthy trials, less media scrutiny. But all are open to the public to witness how the system works, and all are crucial cogs in the judicial machine.

It isn’t perfect because people aren’t perfect.

But living in a country where we have a voice that is heard in that manner should lead all of us to want to serve.

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