Monday, December 11, 2006

Jury Duty

It's not over yet.

I got called for jury duty, and it started today. The way it works here (for now, anyway. The state is trying to make all the counties do it the same way, and they may decide against our way, which I happen to like), is that you report for one day. If you aren't picked for jury selection, they send you home, and they don't call you back for a year.

If you're picked for a jury and sworn in, then you won't get called back for three years. Even if your case never finishes (mis-trial, settling out of court, whatever).

They were busy doing judge-and-lawyer stuff until almost noon, when they decided they needed 40 people for a jury pool. Random selection of course pulled my name (just like last year). All the other 100+ people got to go home.

After lunch, the forty of us were sent to the courtroom, where we had to wait outside until it was safe for us to come in. While we were waiting, some guy in a nice gray pinstripe suit walked by. He looked at us waiting and said, "Jury, huh?" The snot. After he passed us, I said, "Lawyer, huh?" but only loud enough for the lady next to me to hear. (Yes, I'm a coward.)

They let us into the courtroom, and this time I got a high draft number: 26. Jury selection began with the first 18 people, and it was sheer boredom punctuated by utter tedium. Not at all like last year, when they asked us what kind of dog we had and whether we ever let them out without a leash. This year it's a DUI case. No dogs. No cats. Nothing cute to talk about.

By 4:30, the lawyers had dismissed six of the potential jurors and had started questioning the next set of six people. The judge took pity on us and sent us home with instructions to return to the courtroom tomorrow morning at 9am. I'm not happy. If they dismiss six more jurors, I could be on the jury as an alternate, listening to testimony about breathalyzers and cop procedures for the next three days.

I know it's my civic duty, but I'd rather be able to go to work and meet all my deadlines and talk to people who aren't slow-speaking, question-repeating lawyers and who don't get arrested for DUI. That's what I'd rather do.

But I'll go to the court at 9am, and if they dismiss all those new people and stick me on the jury, I'll pay attention and try not to doze off, and then I'll do my best to follow the judge's instructions and make sure justice is served. And then I won't have to worry about being called for jury duty for three more years. Unless the Governator changes the rules.


We had to wait in the hallway outside the courtroom while the lawyers talked, left the room, came back in, and talked some more. You can tell they're professionals, because they talked a long time.

Finally, the bailiff came out and called us into the courtroom. All the jurors took their seats from yesterday, and then the judge apologized that we had to wait so long. He told us the case was settled, and our services would not be needed after all. We were free to check out with the jury people and go home.

That means they could call me back for more jury duty next year, when I'm on vacation with my mom. Oh well, I'll deal with that when it happens.


Anonymous said...

I am registered with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists as a Medical Technologist and registered also as a Specialist in Clinical Chemistry.

I am also a breath-alcohol technician... a BAT, as we say in Greentown.

When people are hired for a new job, show up at work drunk, or have an accident at work - they're sent to our lab for a drug screen and breathalyzer test. When the breathalyzer is positive, it makes me very uncomfortable - because what I'm doing effects this persons future and ability to provide for their family. I hate it.

Sitting on a jury for a DUI would definitely be worse. I'm sure you'll do a good job, Pupster... but youre way too tenderhearted to enjoy it.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Like snow, I love jury duty. I've been picked twice. Once for local duty and once for the county.

Local lasts a week, the county lasts for two weeks and you have to go every day.
Within those 2 weeks you could serve on many juries. If you're still in the pool in the morning, you could get called to report to a judge/courtroom, if you don't you sit there and read or watch TV until they need people for another case.

During my 2 week stint I was on 3 juries. One lasted a day, the second went on for 3 day and the third was only a few hours. I loved it, and you get paid $25.00 a day and the company I worked for at the time paid me as well without subtracting the $250.00.

SkyePuppy said...


When the breathalyzer is positive, it makes me very uncomfortable - because what I'm doing effects this persons future and ability to provide for their family. I hate it.

You have a good heart. But what you're doing is simply documenting what they've been doing (or not) to themselves and their family. Hate what people do to themselves, not what you do.

SkyePuppy said...


Wow! You're rich. The State of California gave jurors a raise several years ago, from $5 to a whopping $15 (but our first day is free).