Skipping jury duty draws a $1000 maximum fine in New Zealand. If the typical trial lasts a fortnight (pure guess on my part here), it would cost more to avoid jury duty, as a per-day charge, than avoiding serving in the Civil War. Jury duty would suck, but not nearly as bad as being in the army during the Civil War.
And so I have another modest proposal. Apply provisions from the Enrollment Act to current jury service. Let people hire an alternate or pay a set rate to avoid it altogether.
Why is this a crime?
If you could opt-out of the Civil War draft, why can't you opt-out of jury duty? Note that it was the Confederacy that didn't allow the use of substitutes. The Union were the good guys, right? We don't want to be like the bad guys, do we?This year, Auckland engineering consultant James McAllister drew widespread attention after a judge found him guilty of contempt of court for his refusal to sit on a jury in the Auckland District Court because he was busy at work. His sentence of 10 days in prison was subsequently reduced on appeal to a fine of $750."I think it's the very thing we might be looking for in Wellington," criminal procedure expert associate professor Bill Hodge, of Auckland University, said. "I'm sure it would get a lot of attention and publicity, and people might take it seriously. It would educate and it would be a wake-up call."Kiwis should seize the opportunity to contribute to the justice system, Prof Hodge said.
* Enrollment Act 1863, war ended just over two years later.