Monday, June 22, 2009

My civic duty

I had jury duty today. Called on Friday, they said to call again today. Called today and they said to report at 1:30pm. So I did. Went into the courthouse, sat outside the courtroom. One of my youth group members mom was also there and we chatted until the Bailiff called my group in. Grabbed a questionnaire on the way in, filled out my name, age and gender and the judge said "get out". Okay, well, not really quite like that. The prosecuting attorney requested a conference with the judge and defense attorney so we had to leave the courtroom. A few minutes later we were all called back in and dismissed. They decided to waive the right to a jury trial. The mom of the youth group member had been there since 10:30 that morning so I felt pretty lucky that my time only took a couple of hours.

I didn't read the whole questionnaire because I'm a rule follower and the judge said not to, but I couldn't help glancing at it. I read the first question and initially thought, well, no I don't know anyone who has been through that. But as I was walking away, I realized that I do. I do know people that question number one related to. I know a lot of people that fit that question. I don't think I would have been asked to stay on the jury.

It's always a little nerve wracking to get called for jury duty. I don't mind spending the time to call or go in but the thought of actually serving on a jury is what makes my nerves shake. Two years ago when I was on call for jury duty I knew someone who was a defendant on trial. Their case didn't come up that week, but the thought of walking into that courtroom and seeing this person there, I knew I would dissolve into tears. In a strange twist of fate that person is awaiting trial again. When the jury summons came I did a quick Internet search to make sure their trial wasn't supposed to start this week.

As much as I was happy to not spend the week in a courtroom, I'm not bitter about being called for jury duty. I would hope that if I were ever to need the services of a jury of my peers, that there would be people there who willingly served. Plus the whole process fascinates me...more people watching!

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