Do Juries, Not Attorneys, Make Oregon Safer?
When my friends or family members hear they have been selected for jury duty, I rarely see or hear them get excited about the opportunity. From their reaction, it seems they view jury duty as a chore that interrupts their daily life. In fact, I am sure that all of us have heard someone discuss how he or she would like to avoid jury duty. Being a personal injury attorney in the Albany-Corvallis area, I am sure it is no surprise that I do get excited for jury duty. My excitement isn’t, however, for the reasons you are probably thinking.
Serving on a jury is one of the most significant ways we can affect our communities in Oregon. As jurors in Oregon, we have the ability to keep our communities safer by holding people accountable for their actions.
For example, when a drug manufacturer chooses not to disclose safety information for a drug, juries step in as the voice of the community. A jury’s verdict sends a message to the company – this type of unsafe business practice is unacceptable in our community of Albany, Portland, Corvallis, or wherever you live.
A verdict in a civil case forces defendants to take responsibility for their actions by compensating the plaintiff for the harms and losses caused – in essence, a balancing of the scales. A verdict that forces someone to take responsibility for his or her actions also serves as a deterrence. This deterrence, in some cases, can have a widespread affect in the community, altering behaviors, making everyone safer – in the civil and criminal context.
Juries also can have this affect in criminal cases. They can keep the community safer, and in some cases, protect the innocent. Juries serve an important role in our safety. Attorneys merely present the evidence; it is the jury that decides what is acceptable behavior in the community. The next time you have jury duty, remember the importance of the role you have just been given and the affect you could have on someone’s life and your community. It’s not often we get a chance to be apart of something so impactful. – Dan Rayfield – Oregon attorney.