Jury duty provides once in a lifetime experience for PV senior

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Elsa Gilbeck

The Scott County courthouse in downtown Bettendorf is where Elsa Gilbeck has been doing jury duty.

Mitchell Wood, Sports Editor

After one turns 18 years old in the US, it becomes very likely that you will have to attend jury duty. For senior Elsa Gilbeck, that time came sooner than anticipated.

For the past few weeks, Gilbeck has been a member of a local jury after being summoned to the job only a few months after turning 18. Despite missing the better part of three weeks of school, her equally unexpected and unique experience was one she will never forget.

The description and purpose of a jury is provided by the Iowa Judicial Branch: “The idea of a jury of our peers has been fundamental to the American justice system since its beginning. A group of six to 12 men and women from all sections of the community sit down together and hear a case brought before the court. These individuals listen to the facts of the case, apply the law provided by the judge, consult among themselves, and come to a verdict.”

Gilbeck was the youngest member of her case, which came to its final verdict on November 19th. Her unfamiliarity gave a unique perspective to the case. “I was by far the youngest on the case and I was the first person picked to be on the case. Being the youngest, I was the most unbiased person and didn’t have a lot of experience with the topic of the trial,” she said. “I became quite close with the other jurors. There were 9 of us all from the age of 18 through 60s.”

For any young person, experiencing and being a part of a civil case like Gilbeck’s would familiarize them to law and the judicial system. A lot of things that a classroom just can’t teach about Judicial courts in action. (example) 

Although the case did end up cutting into a lot of school, Gilbeck is walking away from her jury experience as a far more responsible and focused person. “It was a once in a lifetime experience and I truly enjoyed it. I was very nervous going into it and was upset about missing 3 weeks of my senior year. It ended up being an eye opening experience,” She said.

Sometime in our lives as American citizens, we, too, will have to bear the responsibility of being a member of a jury. While you don’t know when your name will be called to, being a part of a  court of law in person will leave anyone at any age with a better understanding of our judicial system at work.