Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Juror No. 8

In the midst of the crazy that went along with moving, I got a jury duty summons. Naturally.

I had to report last week.

Since the last time I had to do this, they built a new courthouse. The place is stunning with all sorts of nice amenities. I'm talking about plentiful outlets for devices, available wifi, flat screen TVs, and laptop stations.

But it's still jury duty. And eventually we got called to go to a courtroom.

First, they called 18 of us (of the 50 or so sent down) to start out "in the box". I was selected as lucky juror number eight.

My brain wandered as the charges were read. Too many codes. Most had to do with gun charges. Apparently, the two defendants were alleged to have been involved in some sort of gang violence.

The news got even "better" from there. The trial was projected to take ten business days.

10 DAYS!!!

The judge started with the usual questions--occupation and jury duty experience. Before we got too far into it, noon hit and it was time to break for lunch. We were to be back at 2 o'clock.

It was not a peaceful lunch for me.

We were all outside the courtroom on time. We waited. And waited. People came in and out of the courtroom, but no one to bring us back inside (we had been told to wait in the hall when we returned from lunch). Finally, a clerk came out to inform us that it would be five more minutes. I wasn't looking at my phone, but it felt like longer before the clerk came back out.

The clerk said the "alternates" could go back to the jury room. They were dismissed.

Uh...

When someone asked about those of us already in the box, she informed us that we were all dismissed. With a "thank you for your service..." goodbye.

Whew. That was way too close.

At this time I'd like to thank juror number five. I'm convinced that her discussion with the judge (about how she wasn't sure how she'd feel about defendants who didn't testify) convinced someone to settle the case. Because they must have settled. Right?

A little over an hour after that we were dismissed. And I now have 12 wonderful months free from any sort of jury duty summons.

10 comments:

  1. I got summoned for jury duty 2 years ago and although I went with my glass half full, I'm going to be grown up attitude, I proceeded to do so many things wrong that I fear they may have marked me as too scary to invite back. I spoke to the defendant, I patted the bailiff, I joked with the judge (he did not think it was funny) and I raised my hand at what turned out to be a rhetorical question...I was so nervous! In my little home town, they never called me because I was a bit left of the rest of my county and quite verbal about it! Oh well! I got my $6 and treated myself to an over-priced latte!

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    1. That doesn't sound so bad. You've only been summoned once? Wow. I get summoned roughly every three years.

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  2. You are right, they did settle. I have heard it said that a lot of times when the defendants actually see a jury being seated, they panic because they rather take a lighter sentence then what might happen if found guilty by a jury. I served on a felony murder trial last year. I was juror #3. I really wanted to be on that jury just for the experience. It was slated to go 5-7 days, but he took a plea after 3 days (17 years; 18 years old). It was an interesting experience. I would do it again. I have the advantage though that my employer will pay up to 10 days of jury service.

    betty

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  3. That WAS close. Shame they didn't tell you sooner though. Then you could've had a nice lunch instead of waiting for hours.

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  4. Close call! That would be a long time to be away from work plus have to deal with all the issues and weigh them. Glad you dodged that bullet (pardon the pun)

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  5. I'm glad the case got settled. Doing your civic duty is so boring.

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  6. I've lived here for over 20 years and only been called for jury duty once.

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  7. Back when my kids were all little I was called up but was excused because of the fact I was needed at home. Now I think I'd love to go for the experience. I don't think I'd like a case that went for longer than a day though and I suppose you don't get a choice. Lucky for you it was settled!

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  8. I've only been called for jury duty once and my experience was similar to what you described above. Only I never got as far. I got chosen as one of 50 and after a couple of hours they sent us home. I went back to work which fortunately was a couple of blocks away. The next day I got a phone call that I was dismissed from jury duty. Both my mother and a good friend ended up on juries for long, nightmare inducing trials. Hopefully you'll never be called again.

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