Friday, July 25, 2008

Jury Duty, Part Two

Last week I mentioned that I recently had jury duty, but left off describing what happened at it.

I left the house with lots of time to spare, because I needed to fill up my car and I wasn't 100% certain where I'd park. Since I'd planned ahead to give myself plenty of time, I had plenty of time and ended up sitting in the parking lot for a bit then strolling in to the courthouse. The hardest part was the dash across a surprisingly busy street. I probably should have walked all the way down to the corner and used the crosswalk, but instead I just followed the example of all the courthouse employees who were jaywalking.

After arriving and going through security (metal detector and x-ray machine for bags), I found the jury assembly room and got checked in with the bailiff. She pointed me in the direction of the room itself, and then mentioned the coffee and donuts available. And that's when I started kicking myself for forgetting my bottle of water.

There were already about a dozen people scattered around the large room, but I found a comfy chair and settled in to wait for the bailiff to start the video she promised we'd be watching "soon."

20 minutes after we were supposed to have arrived, she came into the room, introduced herself again, and told us (again) what the procedure would be - we'd watch the video, have a bathroom break, walk down to the courtroom, and start the selection process. Hopefully we'd be in the courtroom at 9, and selection should be done by 11:30 at the latest. And then came the emphasis: if you need to get up for any reason once you're in the courtroom, RAISE YOUR HAND and you'll be excused.

I really hoped I wouldn't have to pee during the selection, because I didn't want to have to raise my hand and go through that.

The video was cheesy, but at least it was up-to-date cheesy. They had lots of clips of other people talking about how they felt when they received their summons, and how the selection process was for them, and what it was like to serve. The clips were interspersed with the host discussing what would happen and what our duties would be for each portion. It just made me wish all the more that I would not be selected. I was really hoping I'd be released in time for lunch and then I'd be free the rest of the day! The video also emphasized a recent state law change that included a provision for jurors - work can't require people summoned or serving to take a vacation day or other leave, so my day in court at least doesn't reduce my vacation day balance! Sweet!

After the video ended, there was a dash for the bathrooms, and since there ended up being about 12 women and 6 men, there was quite a line. After I visited the facilities I snagged a donut and scarfed it down.

Once everyone reappeared, the bailiff started calling people by name - apparently they already had a seating chart in the courtroom and we were being lined up in order. I was prospective juror #12. She also told us that the court case in question was related to meth - beyond that I couldn't hear what exactly she'd said.

In our row, we marched downstairs and to the courtroom door, where the bailiff checked that we were in order again (in case we'd somehow slipped out of order during that long march). Then she led us into the courtroom...

No comments: