Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jury Duty

Yep, that's right, despite my many attempts to get out of it, I finally had to do my civic duty and serve jury duty.  As often happens, I let my imagination get the better of me prior to serving and had convinced myself that I would get selected for a criminal trial of the most heinous variety with all kinds of awful evidence that would most definitely leave me scarred for life.  

Fortunately, it was nothing like that.  It was surprisingly simple and pain free.  On Monday I sat in the jurors' room all day waiting for my name to be called, which it wasn't.  Incidentally, I say all day, but that is not exactly accurate.  I arrived at 9:00am and we were sent to lunch at 12:30.  We returned at 2:00pm, and then were sent home at 3:00pm...this is my kind of work day!

Yesterday, the courts were closed for election day.  Today, I returned to jurors' room and crossed my fingers that I would yet again not hear my name.  We were told on the first day that if we made it to the end of Wednesday without being selected then we were finished with our civic duty for the next 6 years!  However, when I arrived today, the number of jurors left in the room was so small that I was sure we would all be called and  would have to serve.

So, just before lunch they rattled off another list of about 20 names.  Once again mine wasn't on it...except, right after, they said "Oh yeah, and Amber Wells"...Dang it! So we all filed into a court room for the selection process on a civil trial.  They drew 12 names out of hat to begin the selection process, which they said would start after lunch.  At 2pm we return to the room while the attorney for the plaintiff proceeds to ask each juror several questions.  After about 45 minutes, he and the other attorney take a short break.   Upon their return they announce that the trial would likely take another three days, and really, that's asking us to serve for too long, so instead, they will just release us all and start fresh tomorrow!  So, I was finished by 3:00pm.  

Not that I'm complaining, but this does not seem to be the most efficient system, especially when they explained on the first day that they are running out of qualified jurors.  Why not just guarantee that when you're called you have to serve for at least one week?  If you get on a case that doesn't last a whole day, then you serve on another one until your week is up.  Similarly, if you don't get selected on your first case, then you go back into the pool to be selected again.  This seems like it would make much more sense.  However, under the current system I only had to miss two days of work and now I'm set for six years!  

In any case, it was an interesting experience and I am extremely thankful that I didn't have to see any gory pictures or hear any gruesome details!

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