Friday, January 23, 2009

Civic Duty

I have jury duty Monday.

Yeah, it’s one of the downsides to living in the ‘Dotte. Shockingly, we have a few more trials than, say, our neighbors to the south. We also have about 1/3 as many people, so…you do the math.

This, I believe, is the 6th time I’ve received a summons. Two of those don’t really count—my group wasn’t needed those particular weeks, which means I got another summons to appear two weeks later.

Of the three “legitimate” summonseseses, two went like this:

Show up.
Sit around for 45 minutes until all the stragglers show up.
Get a speech from the jury clerk about how important jury service is.
Report to a courtroom.
Sit around for 30 minutes until the judge shows up.
Take a break.
Get a speech from the judge about how important jury service is.
Sit around for 30 minutes until the lawyers and defendant show up.
Answer questions about whether you know anyone involved in the trial, whether you’re biased in any way, etc. (This is where people claim they would answer outlandishly to get out of serving. I’ve never seen that happen. I would pay to see that happen.)
Watch the attorneys scratch off names one by one until they have their 13 jurors.
Go home at noon.

The other time went similarly, except the part about going home at noon.

I got selected.

For a week, I listened to testimony in a 2nd-degree murder/aggravated assault trial. I saw the victim’s family in tears, listened to the racist neighbors’ eyewitness accounts, and argued with two jurors whose rationale for the defendant’s guilt was, “I don’t know if he did this, but I know he did something.”

Seriously.

I can only hope for something that interesting to happen again. It was truly one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever experienced.

Then again, I certainly wouldn’t mind calling at 5pm today and finding out I’ve been excused. That would work too.

1 comment:

Corey and Mo said...

people want to know if you got picked.