Today I had to serve jury duty for the first time in my life. If you've never had that misfortune your own self, let me just say there's a reason why people dread it. Maybe actually being a juror could be interesting, but you have to go through the selection process first. Jury selection is the most inefficient process I've ever witnessed. I would liken it to spending the day at the MVA, with less comfortable seats. All I could think about all day was this 30 Rock episode...
Sadly I forgot my Playgirl magazines so I was unable to use Liz's awesome scheme to get myself sent home. As for real life jury duty, here is the shortest description I can offer...
- Fifty potential jurors enter the courtroom, roll is called.
- The judge explains the basics of the case.
- The judge asks questions such as, "do you have any connection to the people involved in the case," or "have you ever been a victim of, accused of, or witness to the crime in the case" to identify any partiality that jurors might have. Then when each question is asked, every person who has a response to the question goes up to the bench one at a time and explains their response to the judge. Only then can jurors actually be selected.
I had to report at 8:30 am. We were in the courtroom by 9:45, and the selection process was finally complete just after noon. The case was a lady suing her former employer for wrongful termination. She felt that she had been fired from her job because she has Parkinson's disease. To give you an idea of the questioning process, one of the questions we were asked was, "Do you or does anyone in your family work in the medical profession?" Do I even have to tell you that 53 out of 50 people got up to answer that one? One. At. A. Time. Might I add that we were seated on wooden pews for the duration of this 2+ hour process. For that case the attorneys selected the jurors and there were only 6 (I guess because it was a civil case?). Those of us who were not selected were so lucky that there was another case in the afternoon they needed us for so we couldn't just go home.
The second case was a criminal case, so that alone made it a little more interesting. The process was sadly the same. Long. Painful. The jury selection itself was a little different. They called jurors up 3 at a time and asked both sides if they approved each juror. The state had 5 options to excuse someone and the defense had 10. I was juror #49 out of 53 and thought for sure they would never get to me since they were only selecting 12 jurors and 2 alternates. Because they can excuse people after approving them, it wasn't simply the first 12 people they agreed on. In the end juror #47 ended up being seated as alternate #2. Close call.
My biggest complaint about serving jury duty is that we don't have child care. It's not just a matter of taking off work. J or someone else we know would have to take off work. J did take off today, but he has surgery scheduled in a few weeks and we really need to save up his leave time from work since he'll have to be out for 3 weeks. Luckily in the process of weeding out jurors on the basis of partiality, they also ask if you have any reason it would present you with a hardship to serve for the duration of the case. I happily explained that we don't have a child care provider and we needed my husband's paid leave for surgery in a few weeks. Whether that saved me or not, I neither know or care. All I know is that I'm home free for 3 more years!
In some happier news, here are some cute photos from a first birthday party we attended on Saturday. The birthday girl's name is Scarlett and she's about the most beautiful Filipino-Caucasian-African American-Native American child (with blond hair and blue eyes!) you could ever find.
I was immediately dressed up when C discovered what was in her thank-you bag from the party. Amazingly she was way more interested in putting the jewelry on me than on herself. Later on she did examine the tiara a bit closer and told me it had "beautiful diamonds!" Haha :)
Happy Monday, all!