Scrupulosity and jury duty


#1

Hi everyone
I received my jury questionnaire and answered honestly so the day will be soon when I receive the summons that I dread. I belong to Scrupulous Anonymous and found their newsletter stating it’s a good idea to just say I have a difficult time making decisions and such a situation would cause anxiety and leave it up to them. Would I approach the judge or wait until they interview in a group? Such a stressful situation for me. I would probably say not guilty no matter what. I know I would be judging the actions and not the person, but that doesn’t help me knowing my decision can change someone’s life. Any other scrupulous person here been in this situation?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you all again, you always help me.

MaryAnn


#2

Discuss with your confessor.

Sounds like you could approach whoever is in charge of such (via phone even?) and not that you have a difficulty with making judgments etc due to your anxiety or what have - you and ask to be exempted.


I will re -post a past post of mine

A person struggles with scruples - what ought they do?

A person with scrupulosity --ought to have a* “regular confessor” who can direct them --and even give them some general principles* to follow -to apply (principles for them due to their particular scruples -they are usually not for those with a normal conscience).

Thus with their direction they can “dismiss scruples” (in the older language despise them) - “act against them”.

Scruples are to be dismissed ~ not argued with.

To borrow and image from a Carthusian from centuries ago: Scruples *are like a barking dog or a hissing goose -one does not stop to argue with a barking dog or a hissing goose does one? * No one keeps walking.

Such ‘obedience’ to a regular confessor who knows of ones scruples (except in what is manifest sin - such as if he told them it was ok to murder someone or something certain like that) is key. Such is the age old practice.

Also counseling - could be helpful depending on the case -but one would want to look for a counselor who can assist one in following the Churches Teachings - not go contrary to them (I have heard CA staff mention catholictherapists.com/)

Here was a recent post from Jimmy Akin of CA that I saw in the Register and saved for those who struggle with such.

ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/6-tools-for-the-scrupulous


#3

If they have any decent voir dire, any prosecutor would disqualify you for a jury if you just said what you have said here, especially “I would probably say not guilty no matter what. I know I would be judging the actions and not the person, but that doesn’t help me knowing my decision can change someone’s life.”

I dont know how much preparation goes on in jury duty in your area, but here they certainly give you the opportunity to say if you have any personal bias or prejudice that would change how you voted. In this case you have a bias toward the defendant, merely from the fact of being a defendant. If you speak up about this, it is unlikely that you would be selected for a jury.

I’m not sure if you would have the same difficulty in civil cases as criminal cases, but if so, they’re probably going to ask you about it and you could tell them.

–Jen


#4

Right. When they question or interview you for jury duty, either the judge or the lawyer, just tell them what you have said here.


#5

Be careful of what you say. Leave it to something along the lines of “I have a strong predisposition towards giving a defendant the benefit of the doubt.” Do not convey an impression of being mentally ill. You are not but these are strange times in which we live. Discuss this with your pastor/confessor before you need to address the matter. Actually, a predisposition towards the presumption of innocence is the very basis of our legal system, and thereby you would probably make a wonderful juror. Think of that too when you discuss it with your pastor. Happy Easter!


#6

Thank you all so much; I will think about all the replies.
If I am honest and tell the truth, that’s all I can do.
Everyone is so nice on these forums and I truly appreciate everyone.
MaryAnn


#7

Received my summons for jury duty and I think I will be called next week since my number is not very high. Hopefully I will have to courage to be truthful and say that I suffer from religious scruples and it would cause me anxiety to determine the fate of another person.
MaryAnn


#8

If you just say that because of religious scruples you don’t believe in judging people and would likely vote not guilty no matter what–I have no doubt that the prosecuting attorney will excuse you quickly. (Although the defense attorney would like to keep you.)


#9

Go through the process and stay calm. You may be excused without even sitting on a panel. If you do sit on a panel, they may pick the jury before they even speak to you. If you are questioned by the judge and both attorneys, just tell the truth. They are looking for fair and impartial jurors with little or no opinion on the issue at hand; you most certainly be excused.


#10

Read up on “jury nullificiation” and if they ask you any questions where saying it could be appropriate say that phrase, you are almost assured being immediately disqualified.


#11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.