Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Too Close

Considering how often I've covered for teachers who got stuck on jury duty (like for most of last August), I knew was about due to get caught. The summons wasn't completely unexpected. As always, I postponed to a more convenient time. Last week.

Our state is a one day/one trial state. I picked the week between the end of summer school and the beginning of the continuation high school, so I wouldn't be in danger of missing anything at all.

My reporting day ended up being Wednesday.

The hope is that I'll manage to duck getting assigned to a trial for the day. But, alas, at about 11 AM, I got assigned to a courtroom.



We waited outside for nearly 40 minutes. By the time we got in, we had just enough time for the judge to inform us that the trial (including estimated time for deliberations) would take about a week before she dismissed us to lunch.

While I did not want to be assigned to the trial, I admitted to myself that it wouldn't be a hardship. The continuation high school wasn't to open until Thursday of the following week. I'd miss nothing.

After lunch, from our pool of slightly less than 30 (they took a pool of 30, but a couple had already been dismissed as they had conflicts with remaining a week), they called up 18. I was juror number 15.

As the usual questioning proceeded, I could tell a couple of jurors 1-12 would be dismissed. You just kind of know. As #15, that meant that I'd end up in the box.


But, there was no way to get myself disqualified. Could I be fair in this case? Sure. There wasn't anything presented that I had any definite bias for or against.

At about 4 PM, it was time for the lawyers to get their peremptory challenges.

First, the prosecution bumped one. Then the defense. Then the prosecution...

Ugh. I was moved to juror #8.

Then it was the defense's turn again. He looked at the jury box and said he was okay with the jury as it was.


Then it was time for the prosecution again. "We thank and excuse juror number 8."


That was way too close.

As the judge instructed, I waited to celebrate until I had left the courtroom. But, as I was leaving, I heard one of the lawyers say for the new juror #8 to not get too comfortable. (And I celebrated again. The woman next to me as former juror #16 told me that getting off work for a week was going to be a problem for her.)

By the time I got back to the jury room (4:15-ish), the place was empty. Which meant I was done for the day. I checked out and headed for my car.

As I hit the escalator, I ran into the others from the courtroom I had just left also leaving. They still had their juror badges, so it appeared that they would all be returning the next day. I have no idea if the jury panel was complete or not.

But I was done. And I was quite happy about that.

Hopefully it'll be another few years before I have to do that again.

20 comments:

  1. Did California change its rules or maybe it goes by country? Because when I had jury duty I had to call in every day to see if I had to report for a week's time. I actually loved the few times I got called to wait to see if I would be on a jury. Got to read a book on my employer's time since they paid up to 10 days of jury duty. I enjoyed the 1 time I actually served on a jury. I wish it would have gone to deliberations but the defendant took a plea. I got called here once so far and I postponed it as long as I could because I didn't want to drive downtown. I just don't drive much these days. I postponed it to the day after Memorial Day and when I called in to see I had to report, my group's number was excused. Supposedly they said I wouldn't be called up again until at least 18 months and that was 2 years ago so it might be time. Hubby hasn't been called yet. This time if I get called I'm going to hope I get to report for it and I'll just Uber down there. My company of course won't reimburse me for that but whatever the cost will be less stress than me having to drive down myself. (I drive locally just not on freeways these days and the fastest route to the court house is the freeway. Can take city roads to get there but takes about 45 minutes; freeway 25 minutes.)

    betty

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  2. Hi Liz - interesting to read your processing/system ... but am glad you're excused for now - cheers Hilary

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  3. It's called "peremptory challenge". There are two ways to remove a juror. the first is "for cause", meaning there's something about you that disqualifies you from serving, e.g., you know the defendant, or the prosecutor, or the cop who made the arrest. And each party gets a certain number of peremptory challenges, meaning you can be removed for any reason at all. I guess the prosecutor didn't like you, for some reason, that he decided you weren't going to be helpful to his case. I'm glad you did your civic duty and I'm glad you're now free of it...until the net time you're called.

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    1. Thanks for the correction. I'll go back and fix...

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  4. Phew! That was a close one. Glad you didn't get stuck with it!

    Man, I don't know what I'd do if I had to spend a week on jury duty. All I can think about the horrendous amount of scheduling that'd end up happening.

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    1. There's a reason I rescheduled for the dead of summer...

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  5. I wonder what it was about you they didn't want for their trial. Did they think you'd be too soft? :P

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  6. You did get a nice escape.

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  7. Did you dance on the way to the car?!

    My Dr. wrote a permanent excuse for me, due to serious migraines. While I rejoice in escaping the jury, I'd rather escape the migraines!

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    1. Figuratively. It would have been rude to celebrate as those who had to return the next day were riding the escalator with me.

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  8. Liz,

    This is interesting as DH has jury duty this week, which he doesn't have to report anymore for, and next which is yet to be seen. Knock on wood, I haven't been called in years and I hope they miss me altogether. :)

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  9. Thank God your were excused. I have yet to be called and hope i am never in that position

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    1. It's not that bad, really. I wrote about the time I was actually on a jury. I think. It was several years ago.

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  10. It is really hard to get out of duty here (employers are legally required to let you attend duty without penalty). And you have to check in everyday for a few weeks. I've been called up 5 times but so far haven't had to do one (it's frustrating because there are people I know who have never been called up).

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  11. I was called once, but excluded because I was in retail at the time, and it was inventory week. My boss wrote me a letter requesting I be excused until summer. I was never summoned back... but she was!

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    1. Oh, they so wouldn't care here for that excuse. Of course, we can always postpone.

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  12. Yay that you got excused from jury duty! That was close! :)

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  13. It is weird how jury summons seem to make their way through a group of people. Over half of the people in my office have gotten a summons in the past year, the lady who cuts my hair, and my sister (she just found out today that her service isn't required), and I got one a few months ago. I needed to have it moved, so now it's for sometime in November. I'm positive I won't be picked, so I'm not concerned.

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    1. It does seem to go like that. That's why I get nervous when people I know get called.

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