Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some things aren't as fun as they look.

Yes, I really did get jury duty. And yes, it isn't as fun as it looks. "Well, I don't think it looks that fun," you say. "Shut up," I reply. And then: "Wait! Don't leave! I'm sorry! Really!"

It wasn't bad, it was just tedious. I had to be there for eight fifteen yesterday. Actually, more like eight o'clock because if you want free parking, you have to park about a mile away from the courthouse. Honestly, even at that hour of the day, it's going to be about a mile away. This is at least free and has a shuttle bus (...a school bus).

Anyway, once I arrived, I went to the "Jury's Lounge." They handed out a pamphlet entitled "Jury Duty" and appropriately subtitled: "Why me?" I could not make that up.

Then comes the waiting. The sitting around looking at the hundred plus other strangers who are bored out of their minds because they thought something would be happening. Then something did happen: we were shuffled upstairs to the courtroom (exciting!), where the judge administered the oath (honoring!) and we...sat down to watch a video reiterating the points in the pamphlet.

And then we went back downstairs.

And waited some more.

The only time we were allowed to leave was at around ten thirty for a smoke/refreshment break and a visit downstairs to the coffee shop. We had to keep the jury badges displayed and we weren't allowed to go anywhere except the street, the coffee house and the lounge. The jury commissioner actually comes on the PA system and announces "I'm allowing you to leave..." I know. It seems like heavy handed government control. But really, it's because the jury is supposed to be completely unbiased. Even talking to a lawyer or a court reporter might influence someone. So we're basically stuck in a room with nothing to do.

At eleven thirty (both days), the commissioner came in to announce that all the cases had been resolved except one civil matter which was only going before a judge. They emphasize that our participation is still important ("just knowing that the jury is ready to be selected makes people settle") but it was still three hours of sitting around doing nothing for two days. Except being threatening to lawyers, apparently.

If you ever get jury duty (or whatever they may do in your country), take my advice: bring a book.


  1. Sorry, that sucks! I got summoned once but was able to get out of it since I was pregnant... tip for next time, ha ha.

  2. It's completely unimpressive, isn't it?? I've been a few times and always agonizing and nothing happens.
    One time I got called at the last half hour after being there all day and had to stay an extra hour long. :s Of course.
    Then I didn't get selected anyway. But now that I have 2 kids, I'd look at jury duty as a day to write without interruption. I'd be like, "Ya'll got WiFi here, right?" LOL! "And a power port?"

  3. Alexia: Ha! I'll remember that. Luckily they can't call me for another three years :)

    PK: I wish I had talked to you before I had gone. Then I would have thought to bring...something! All the magazines were years out of date :/


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