I need to unburden myself and this anonymous forum where almost everyone nevertheless "knows" me seems a good place to do it.
I had to report for jury duty this morning. In my county, a bunch of people are summoned for every Monday morning and juries for all the week's trials are selected. No potential juror knows ahead of time what case he or she might be selected for. I did not want to serve but I did not plan to lie or stretch the truth to get out of being on a jury. Once there, I was among a group of approximately 100 people who were told we were the potential jurors for a particular trial. We assembled in the courtroom. I was among the first group of 24 to be questioned. The judge began by reading the charges the defendant faces. The first charge was a little hard to follow, but I could tell that it involved the alleged victim being allegedly harassed for three years. Alleged victim and the defendant have the same last name so I assumed they had been spouses at some point. I had an almost instant visceral reaction: I cannot be fair to this defendant. And almost immediately after that came the realization that at some point in the process, I would have to tell the judge and the attorneys and possibly everyone that I could not be fair to the defendant.
With the way the questioning works, I didn't have to spill to everyone; I and a few other potential jurors with very personal things to mention were called in one by one to speak to only the judge, with clerks, attorneys, defendant, and police officers in the courtroom. Everyone was polite and the judge was very kind. But it was embarrassing to say that I couldn't be fair to a defendant because I'm in a terrible relationship. It was embarrassing because I realized how vulnerable and fragile I still feel despite not living with my husband most of the time; it was embarrassing because my husband's behavior was not as bad as what the defendant allegedly did to his wife. But in some sense what is worst to me is that I had to admit to these people that I can't be fair. I'm also a lawyer (I don't practice but work in a law-related field) and I'm proud of my education and knowledge and work and ethics. But I felt it was my duty to say that I've become a person who can't be fair in certain situations. The few friends I've told about this (also women lawyers) said I did the right thing but I still feel like crud. And I'm so sad that this is who I am now.