My Day At Jury Duty
Happy St. Paddy’s Day everyone. Even if you aren’t Irish, make sure you get your fill of corned beef and green beer today!
Earlier this week marked my first ever experience with Jury Duty. Since my work pays for the first 3 days of Jury Duty and I was curious to see how the whole process worked, it wasn’t that big of a hassle to me to be called.
The only difference in my morning was that I actually had to leave even earlier than a work morning so that was a bit blah but I still managed to make it there mostly on time.
We were all gathered in a fairly small room with limited seating, I’d say there was roughly 100 of us. It was first come first serve on the chairs of course, and since I had trouble finding a parking space I got to stand.
Prior to leaving my house that morning, I had called the recorded message at the courthouse to get directions. In that message they also mention that the dress code of business was strongly encouraged. I quickly ditched my capri jeans, t shirt and sneakers for my dressy black sweater, a pair of dark pants and my black wedge heels.
After arriving I looked around the room and realized I needn’t have bothered to take the dress code so seriously. Since I had however, now I had to stand in my heels. Note to self: Next time leave fifteen minutes earlier…oh and dress comfy.
Soon after I got there the clerk announced that some new motions had been filed Friday and the attorneys were meeting with the Judge to go over them so they wouldn’t be ready for us until at least ten. She invited everyone to go stretch their legs and walk around, just to stay within yelling distance.
I quickly seized my opportunity, snagging an abandoned chair in the back, parking myself and pulling out my Iphone.
With two hours to kill, I was glad I had thought to bring my current library book. If I relied only on my phone for entertainment the battery would be dead by noon.
I did email back and forth with Rob and text with Michaelle but for the most part I read my book.
Around ten fifteen or so the clerk was updated again and she informed us that both parties might be approaching settlement and if that happened we could all go home. The catch was, that they wouldn’t know that until at least one in the afternoon. After the collective groan from the crowd, she smiled and told us that due to the timing, she was going to release us for lunch on the condition that we come back at 1:15. If they had settled we could go home, otherwise we would have to start the jury selection process.
This news was met with a much more positive response. Two and a half hour lunch? Hell yeah, sign me up!
Taking full advantage of the location and the time I had, I motored over to Del Monte Center. The first thing I did was get my wedding ring sized.
Ever since I dropped the weight my wedding ring hasn’t fit. Since I have gotten various anniversary rings over the years I just never got around to getting it sized down. I just took to wearing it on my thumb on my left hand.
With the vow renewal looming in August, we figured it was a good time to get the ring re-sized. That way I can use my original ring for the ceremony as well as my new engagement ring.
After I dropped that off I contemplated getting a pedicure but it looked like all the chairs were filled, so I headed over to Pizza My Heart instead. I had brought a salad with me in case the lunch break wasn’t that long but I really didn’t feel like a salad. Not that I ever really feel like a salad, but that is neither here nor there.
I had never eaten from Pizza My Heart before but had heard nothing but good things about them from my co-workers. Rob and I were going to try and order delivery from them when we spent the weekend in Santa Cruz last year but their prices for a full pizza are pretty high and we are cheap so we went with another place.
I ordered 2 slices of D’lex Chicken & Bacon and a drink for five bucks so apparently, by the slice is the way to go when it comes to prices. VERY good pizza by the way.
After I was done eating, I still had more time to kill so I hit Claire’s. It is my favorite crap accessory store ever! Then it was off hit up Cold Stone for a waffle bowl full of Cake Batter ice cream. What? Don’t judge me! It was mandated Jury Duty food. I was required to eat it by law!
At that point I still had a little less than an hour but I wanted to get a good parking space so I headed back to the courthouse. I got a space right up front, opened all the windows in the PT, reclined the chair and read my book. So far I didn’t understand why everyone complained about Jury Duty. Seemed pretty sweet to me!
Once everyone had reconvened in the room, all hoping for a settlement. Our hopes were dashed when the clerk informed us that there was no settling and that we had to all go up to the courtroom right away so we could start the jury selection process.
We started the painfully slow process of filing one by one through the metal detector and into the courthouse and ended up on the second floor crammed into a courtroom with way too little seating for the group of us.
This was finally when it began to sink in why people hate being called for Jury Duty. Not necessarily being on a jury but the selection process is so long and tedious and BORING!
Once I was finally able to sit down, I was struck by how uncomfortable the “bench” was. Hard, unforgiving pressed wood in the shape of an L. I began to hope I got picked just so I could sit in the jury box in the comfy chairs.
They picked 17 people to go to the jury box and sit there while the judge asked them questions about things that might be a conflict if they served on the case. While she was asking them we were instructed to listen carefully and write down on our own if we had any questions we would answer yes to. So I wasn’t able to read my book because I was paying attention.
At the end of the questions the potential jurors then read off a questionnaire answering questions about themselves.
Once the judge eliminated a few people she called more up and then the lawyers got to ask questions.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
The longer I sat there, the more uncomfortable the bench got. Finally I got my row to myself and tried to stretch out but that just hurt my back worse. I also gave up trying to look like I was paying attention and whipped out my book. Anything to make the time go faster.
Around four it was starting to look like we were going to have to come back the next day to continue with the selection when by some miracle no one else on the panel had any conflicts and the jury was picked.
I honestly felt kind of gypped because I didn’t even get to get interviewed. I mean, I wasted an entire day and didn’t even get to get up in the jurors box and talk about myself. Then I realized that I had been paid to go shopping, eat pizza, email my husband and read. I really had no room to complain.
Overall, I was glad to have the experience. I’m grateful that I live in a country that has such a system in place where people are innocent until proven guilty.
Having said that, I never want to sit through jury selection again!
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