DEAR ABBY: I recently read your column in which you quoted disgruntled jurors. I believe you have given the wrong impression to your readers.
I have been a trial judge for 25 years and have presided over literally thousands of jury trials. For many years I even gave jurors forms on which they could anonymously give me their complaints. With rare exception, nobody disparaged jury service as did your readers. Most thought it was not only their duty, but a privilege to serve.
Some of your correspondents suggest we abolish juries and have professional jurors and judges as fact finders. They might be interested to know that this was the system used in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, resulting in millions dying in concentration camps.
The reason for the Magna Carta and the Sixth and Seventh Amendments in the Bill of Rights was to curtail the absolute power of the sovereign and allow judgments to be made by one's peers.
The jury system rightly has been called the "cornerstone of democracy." Americans should be proud to serve as jurors. They should be paid a very substantial fee for their services -- and parenthetically, those employers who refuse to continue to pay their employees' wages while they are serving as jurors should be jailed. -- ROBERT E. DAUER, PRESIDENT JUDGE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, PITTSBURGH