Blind People and Jury Service

Last week I was discussing jury service with a group of blind and partially sighted friends. One of the group said that they had been called up twice but each time turned away because they were blind. This is not an uncommon story and, if you’ll forgive the pun, it seems somewhat short-sighted.

Okay, so I get that a blind person will miss facial expressions and body language, but as there would be eleven other jurors, presumably with full sight, would this really be a problem?

What people don’t stop to think about is that a blind person does not form pre-conceived ideas about a person based on how they look, the colour of their skin, whether their clothes and hair are clean and tidy. Uncleanliness is not a desirable trait in a person, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are guilty of committing a crime!

You can also pick up a lot in someone’s tone of voice when they are speaking too.

I really don’t see that blind people can be turned away in all fairness, just because they are blind. After all, aren’t juries supposed to represent all of society?

About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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One Response to Blind People and Jury Service

  1. Torie says:

    Perhaps the people weren’t selected by the jury as they just weren’t called and the jury was just whittled down to find the 12 rather than the fact the juror was blind?

    I was called to do jury service at a time. I was only about 18 or 19 and foolishly believed that my blindness would be a barrier so got my doctor to write that i could not participate. Now that i am older and wiser, i wish i had in fact taken up my call to do jury service. I guess being young means you sometimes make foolish decisions and place artificial barriers in your way without meaning to. Hind sight is a wonderful thing though.

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