Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jury Duty

Tuesday I had the fortunate opportunity of serving on Jury duty. What a waste of time and tax payer money that is! First of all I had to walk approximately 10 blocks to reach the building where we were supposed to meet. Much further than anticipated, a fact not realized by me which in turn made me decide to wear my cute flats versus my less cute but more comfortable flats...aka Grandma shoes. By the time I reached my destination I was freezing, because oh, yeah there were also 60 mph freezing cold winds...btw I also didn't bring a jacket and toes are freezing through my less comfortable but cute open-toed flats. I am scanned in, make my name tag and take a seat next to a very nice lady. The only unfortunate thing was that she had an actual mustache..not just a few random hairs but an actual thick full mustache that would make Jon jealous. Oh, and the fact that I managed to choose the uncomfortable section of chairs. I didn't want the man.. er.. lady next to me to be offended so I couldn't get up now. Anyway after reading over/skimming my duties as a juror on the hand laminated card, we were treated to a movie. A 15 minute long video about how lucky we were to be here, blah, blah blah. Now this being my first time to serve I am actually kind of excited at the prospect of being on a jury..silly me. After the conclusion of the video, the lady in charge proceeds to tell us how to get on and off the buses and where the free parking is...wait if we are already here isn't this now useless information??

They then quickly tell us to make sure we have read carefully our duties as a juror and then they whisk the laminated cards away from us as if they really had no intention of us reading it at all. Suddenly I am afraid that I may be agreeing to something I hadn't intended, like promising to vote for Hillary or something terrible like that! but it was too late, the card was gone!

Now the fun and exciting part starts called waiting for people with feeble excuses to try and get out of duty. This line was seemingly never ending. At last the last feeble attempt was granted and those of us without a valid excuse were left behind to "face the music" so to speak.

As the lady in charge called name after name we all tried to decide what section was better or worse to be sitting in. Turns out it didn't matter...we played a game of musical chairs for about the next 30 minutes while various groups moved to this section or that. At last I was called and moved to chair number 39. We were all instructed to write on our piece of paper the court, the number, the judge and the time to return. My group was of course instructed to return at one. Perfect giving me just enough time to do... well nothing. We were released about filling out our page long survey on our hobbies and tv shows, I should have put finding people guilty as my hobby but instead went with scrap booking.

After a short break and some lunch I returned to the 4th floor of an even further away building, where once again I manage to find the most uncomfortable spot to sit for 30 minutes while we waited for everyone to arrive. After our 3 roll call of the day we are all lined up in order 7 at a time. Literally it was a 5 step walk from the first bailiff who lined us up to the second bailiff who carefully instructed us where to sit. Seriously I think i may have been the youngest person there, if we can't find a seat and stay in order for 10 steps do they really want us on the jury?

now the truly terrible....interesting part began. The lawyers took turns giving us various information about how to be a good little juror. Including telling us things such as, if a person decides not to testify we can't assume they are guilty...uh ok....and also did we have a problem judging people, etc. this went on to include various demonstration and several inconclusive questioning sessions by the lawyers to various prospective jurors. Here was one memorable conversation
L: "it says here that you have strong feelings about people who are convicted of crimes. If chosen could you overcome these feelings?
PJ: Well probably?
L: I need a definite yes or no.
PJ: Yes, I think I could.
Does anyone else have an issue with this? ridiculous! If you are going to bother to write this statement and aren't planning on using it as a means of getting out of serving, why bother! Also you just totally changed your own moral values on the spot?? Strange...
My favorite part though was when the first lawyer spoke, during the first hour, she pretty much said that if you weren't in the first 32 you probably wouldn't even get to you. That didn't, however, change the fact that we all had to sit there the whole time.
Good thing I had the sleeping bailiff to watch, the obvious meth head to study and, last but not least, the guy next to me shaking his leg so violently that I was getting motion sick all keeping me awake.
When finally we got a break, we had to wait another 40 minutes, then parade back in to the room to hear our names not be called. then we all marched across the street to turn in our forms and receive our huge checks and certificates saying that we had indeed been a vitally important part of the legal system for the day. I decided to donate my $6 as that was not near enough for me to bother cashing.
another 10 block hike back to my car in my cute but uncomfortable for long distance walking flats and I am finally done at 4:45 pm.
Let's review
8 hours
1 sore butt
2 sore calves
2 sore feet
equals $6 to charity...
well at least someone benefited from the experience!

1 comment:

Diana Richards said...

That sounds even more horrible than I imagined! How stinky! What a good citizen you are, though. Thomeson would be proud!