Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Call to Serve....on the Jury

Jury Duty...

Yep, I got the lucky draw. And I was not happy.

The date range pretty much encompassed the entire summer, which made it kind of hard to take any spontaneous summer trips. The "call" finally came for the beginning of August, and while it was a nice break from work, it was a complete waste of time. All I can say is be sure to bring a book if you are ever to serve on Jury Duty.

I arrived early in the morning, only to sit and wait in silence for about 30 minutes (for who knows what). There were between 25 and 35 people there, with several empty seats scattered among the rows. The judge finally entered and gave his spill. We then had to watch a movie made in the early 90's about the "great rewards" of fulfilling your civic duty. Afterward, each of us took turns standing and answering questions from a giant cue card that listed about 15 different questions. The questions ranged from things like home town, occupation, hobbies, favorite magazine, favorite book, favorite music...things like that. Mind you, while you answer these questions, you are being evaluated by the defense and if your value and personal integrity could be determined by your love for Harry Potter (which it can...;) jokes).

Then came the most painful part... waiting as everyone took a turn going into another room for an interview. It was no short process. It was particularly painful seeing some people return to their seats, gather their belongings, and bid farewell to those sitting around them. All I could think about was "What golden phrase are they saying that is allowing them to be dismissed?" I needed to learn that phrase.

When it was finally my turn, they took me into a room where my chair was in the center of a circle of chairs, the judge at his desk and the defense and prosecuting teams at my left and right. I must say it was quite intimidating! They asked me a series of questions, some quite personal, as I did my best to answer them honestly. After the uncomfortable interrogation, they asked me to wait outside the room as they assessed my interview. A few minutes passed, then a man in uniform escorted me back to my seat and asked me to stay.


That meant I had to continue waiting while the others took their turn interviewing for possible jury member.

Once everyone had interviewed, there were about 14 of us remaining. If my calculations were correct, I still had a slight possibility of getting out of this whole thing.

We sat and waited some more...

The judge finally entered with the attorneys. He had good and bad news for us. Good news...we were all going home! Bad news...they were not able to get enough eligible jury members to form an adequate team. They would have to begin the entire process again with a new batch of candidates.

So at the end of the day, all I have to show for my experience with Jury Duty is a missed day of work, 4 wasted hours, and an $18 paycheck.

Oh, how I love the efficiency of our legal system!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I always wondered how that works. Tyson got a letter a few months ago about that... I just thought nothing had come of it because we hadn't heard anything. Guess we'll have to keep watching!