The Phillie Phanatic Had Jury Duty Today

What kind of jury of your peers is this?

12 Angry Men parody - 11 men with the Phanatic photoshopped in

11 Angry Men and 1 Happy Phanatic | Phanatic photo by Terry Foote (license)

Is the Constitutional right to a fair trial abrogated when one of the jurors is the Phillie Phanatic?

That’s the question I have after the Phillie Phanatic walked into the Criminal Justice Center, passed through the metal detectors, and showed up at the jury selection room with a few hundred other Philadelphians for jury duty today today.

OK, so technically my constitutional question is moot, as the Phanatic wasn’t actually picked to serve — he was at the CJC for Juror Appreciation Week, where Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright gave a speech about the importance of serving on a jury.

The Hon. Sheila Woods-Skipper is President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia; she told prospective jurors today that 20 percent of Philadelphians ignore the jury summons when it comes. “When they don’t come there are cases that can’t be heard because don’t have enough jurors to supply each of the courtrooms,” she said.

Philadelphia once had a “scofflaw juror court,” but it was abandoned in April due to lack of effectiveness.

Perhaps the Phillie Phanatic’s appearance will get more people to go to jury duty. Probably not, but one thing’s for sure: If he fired the juror checks out of his hot dog cannon, people would totally be more excited to show up.