Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jury Duty

I was called to jury duty for the first time last week. A couple of people have asked me about it. Here it is in a nutshell!

I just barely escaped serving on a jury. The first day I just sat around. I was pretty impressed by the assembly room! It was very comfy. We got a 2 hour lunch break, and I went shopping and walked for the whole 2 hours. I'm not used to sitting around for so long, and it was wonderful to stretch my legs.

At the end of the day they put 117 of us who hadn't yet been assigned to a judge into one pool. I was number 89 and figured I was safe. The next day about half the jurors were thrown back into the general pool, and the rest of us went upstairs to do jury selection. From the questions asked I gathered it was a murder trial involving a homeless guy, murder, crack cocaine, botched or missing evidence, and possibly racist police officers or detectives. The trial would last 2 to 3 weeks. All of the questions posed to the jury and the answers people gave were really fascinating. In that small group of people, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, 2 brothers (same guy), and one friend had been murdered. One guy had been arrested for DUI. One juror said he believed there was racism in law enforcement. The next moment we learned that the guy sitting next to him was a Federal Agent! In general, I was really impressed by everyone's thoughtfulness in the answers they gave. It gave me confidence in the system.

After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing of we jury folks, to waiting rooms and back, the lawyers eliminated 20 people and 2 more got to leave because of time conflicts. After they filled the jury box, I was only four spots away from having to serve!

Although I'd like to serve on a jury some day, and a murder trial is about as Law and Order as you can get, I really didn't want to be on a long trial with such heavy duty.

All in all, I found it fascinating and educational! And I got a new purse and new shoes.

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