When I go to trial, the people I represent count on twelve strangers on a jury to see the truth, and to speak for their community--to say "this is wrong" and "we won't tolerate it"
When you got your jury summons, probably none of you thought “what a great thing I get to do, I can hardly wait”. But all of you took time off work and away from your families to be here. To listen to a case about medical procedures and suffering, a case about people you don’t know and will probably never see again. The twelve of you didn’t know each other and likely won’t see each other again. And all of this—not just the jury room, but this courtroom, and the courthouse, and the judge and the reporter and the bailiff-- and the lawyers and the experts and all the witnesses, are here for you, so that you can do the job that we don’t trust anyone else to do.
In this country and this state and this county you will decide what is true, and what is right. Not some politician or some dictator, not a rich guy who runs the county, but you.
Russia is powerful and modern, but citizens there don’t decide anything and no patient could ever sue his doctor and win. China is powerful, but if you are the victim of malpractice there, well that’s just too bad. In the vast majority of the world, the rich and powerful take what they want and do what they want and the average citizen has no say. But you do.
Not only do you have that power, you are the only ones who do. You decide this case. You decide whether what happened here is OK. You are the voice of your community, and when you speak, you speak for this community. Just you, nobody else. In America we make our own laws. Americans decide for themselves what is right, and what is true, and what is fair. A politician may be bribed, or blackmailed, or forced to make a political decision to keep his job. That’s why politicians and people they appoint are not trusted in this country to make the decisions you are about to make. In America we trust the people, all of the people—and you cannot bribe or blackmail everyone, and you cannot threaten everyone with losing their seat in Congress if they don’t toe the party line. And so we put power in the hands of our people.
Today, that power is in your hands, and your hands alone. All of this—all of it—is for you. When you answered that jury summons, when you drove down here and took those oaths, you did the most American thing that you can do. You said “I will answer the call” You said “I will devote my time and my effort and my honor to decide a case for other Americans” I accept the responsibility to make a decision that will affect lives in my community”. Thank you. Thank you. Whatever you decide, what you are doing here is important, and we, all of us, owe you.