Reflections on Jury Duty

So… yesterday I reported to jury duty.  Actually… TECHNICALLY, it wasn’t to jury duty, it was to see if I was to be called to possibly sit a jury panel.  Turned out I wasn’t one of the people who got to be called to sit a jury, but it was definitely a day of education, regardless.

They call probably 600 people to report every Monday to possibly be on a jury. The first couple dozen leave because they have kids 12 or under who would not have adequate supervision if they had to sit a jury.  The next couple hand fulls leave because they have other qualifying situations (over 70, something else) that allows them to exempt being a juror. The next small herd left because they were disqualified by their status (they were convicted of a misdemeanor theft).  The last chunk to leave had a qualifying (given they were listening to their conscience) hardship that meant they didn’t have to stay, too.

People all around me murmured and muttered about how they could suddenly find a way to  get out of potentially sitting a jury.
Oh man and mine is even lower than yours.  Damn.

I got a low number on my summons.  My boyfriend said that low numbers always get picked.

I can’t afford to be on a jury.

I don’t want to take all of this time out of my normal life.

The three panels were picked.  26 for each of the two county trials, 56 for the district trial.  Most of the people were crestfallen as their names were called to go to a trial.  People, as they lined up to leave mostly seemed to be doing the “woohoo I got out of it” dance.

Then when I got home and started to look through the way other people apparently feel about jury duty, I was even more enlightened… People will do almost anything to get out of jury duty.

I wasn’t jumping up and down having a party when I got my summons.  Especially when it just so happened that I might end up having to serve on a jury on the day of my doctor appointment that I scheduled 8 weeks ago.  But after the initial “oh man” I just figured I should probably go into it thinking that it wasn’t meant to be an inconvenience in MY life (even though it appears that many people seem to think that it is personal and the world seems to be just out to get them).

If I were accused of something that I knew I didn’t do, I would want a jury to hear my case.  I would want at least a few of those people to take it seriously not just be there bitching and whining the whole time because they couldn’t get out of it.

On your way into the Jury inpanelment room (where the huge herd of potential jurors hang out to find out if they are going to be on a panel) you pass the statue of a soldier who died guaranteeing our freedom.  You walk RIGHT past his statue.  We take so much for granted.  All we (in this case) are being asked to do is sit our butts in a chair in a room for anywhere from 3 hours to a week depending on whether or not we sit a jury.  A week.  Sitting on our butts.

Yes, there are people for whom this will cause issues and I totally get that.  But for most of the people in question it is an inconvenience.  that’s all.

Would it have been an inconvenience?  Yeah.  I would have had to reschedule some doctor appointments.  I would have had to make sure people knew not to panic if they couldn’t get hold of me for a few days.  I would have had to worry about making sure how I would need to schedule my meds and I would have had to make sure I had some naproxin in case things got really ouchy.

But geeze.

What is really the bid deal in doing this?


One response to “Reflections on Jury Duty

  1. I enjoyed the jury experience. I never made it past the “we will call you if we need you” stage but it was something I wanted to experience first hand.


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