Saturday, November 10, 2007

Civic Duty

I've been meaning to write this since Thursday. I got to get it out of my head.

My civic duty was to assist in the legal system -- yes, jury duty. I was called to serve in a pool of petit jurors Thursday and Friday. I was hoping that what happened three years ago would occur again. Alas, it did not. The after-hours call the day before said all jurors have to report the next day.

I thought I left the house in plenty of time, but construction and poor signage for juror parking and no crochet hooks permitted in the building made me 10 minutes late. I did not feel bad as jurors were still coming in half an hour later.

We had a very interesting coordinator who lay down the ground work. 'P' (some P name) told us the 10-minute video was shortened due to comments from past jurors. It use to be 25 minutes. One comment was "my neighbor snored and slobbered through the whole thing" . Completed comments forms will be read by Trenton. Improvements will be made whenever possible to make the jury duty process more bearable.

Other funnies from 'P', no soap operas on TVs as they had to break up a fight between two ladies. No trial shows, like Judge Judy, as the judges do not want to hear it. Cell phones can only be answered in the elevator lobbies as rubber trash cans are provided for the ones who want to kick the sh*t out of them. Sherifs will let you know when enough is enough. The coffee and tea is complimentary. As explained by ex-juror, it's not free if our tax dollars are paying for it. If you have any complaints about the process, please tell it to the judge and not the juror control staff.

The waiting area was actually pretty nice. I think we were a group of about 75. 'P' called us smalled as they had 200 awhile back. We were able to spread out across two large rooms which had a walled off area for couches, two viewing areas for TVs, and an area with desks/tables. As I decided to let the crowd around the coffee/tea thin out, I think I got the last cup of complimentary coffee.

I got called in the first group. It was a criminal case to be heard over 2 1/2 days starting next Tuesday afternoon, projected to finish Thursday. Well, there goes work for next week. They started the jury selection process yesterday and needed to filled it up with our group. I got chosen for Chair 9. The judge had to fill 14 chairs -- 12 jurors and 2 alternates. After two and half hours, we got all the chairs filled at 11:25 am. The judge gave us a 20 minute break and wanted us back at 11:45 am. As it was so close to lunchtime, I wondered how much the judge was going to have us do before giving us our lunch break.

It must have been my day. The selected 14 gathered back in our jury room while waiting for all participants to show up in the courtroom. We got called to take our seats. The judge was nice to inform us that our services were no longer needed as the parties settled. "Thank you for your service. You are dismissed. You only need to report back to juror control if you need your parking ticket validated" At the end of the day, I'm glad I was selected and not dismissed. I served my one trial and was free to go. The dismissed went back to the juror pool and wait.

Our judge had to report two missing jurors back to juror control coordinator. I think they are going to be in trouble.

Oh, I found a fellow juror reading Sherrilyn Kenyon's Devil May Cry. It was her first book and she will be looking for the others

I will be get a $5 check for doing my civic duty today. I would not have minded hearing this case as it will be a first time experience. It would not have been a terrible hardship for me to miss work.

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