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Jury Duty

Well this week I performed my first ever jury duty service. When I received the summons I thought to myself this is not going to be fun. I was right. The first day was juror selection and that was long and drawn out. It is easy to see why the court system is so slow in completing trials and why they have such a backlog. There was no urgency to the processes and procedures.

It took over two hours before we even started to process the 112 possible jurors. Some showed up late, as late as two hours later. Then it took an additional two hours for those that have excuses to not serve to plead their case before the judge. We were then placed in 8 groups of 14 members and we were told our panel number. Then they indicated which panel members were dismissed for the day and which had to return. Of course I had to return.

We were then dismissed for a lunch break. Upon our return we were directed to a juror waiting room where we were for a very long time it seemed. Then we were sent back into the courtroom to be examined and asked questions from the prosecutor and defense attorney. This took a lot of time. The prosecutor was very thorough and basically asked questions of almost everyone.

The defense attorney then got up and asked his questions but was either hard of hearing or incompetent. He asked several questions over and over again from some jurors either trying to ascertain something about them or again possibly being incompetent. Afterwards we were sent back into the juror waiting room. Several hours later they called everyone back into the courtroom and picked the twelve jurors and two alternates.

I was picked as juror #3. At this time it was nearly 6PM. We were instructed to show up the next morning at 9AM. I showed up well before 9AM and we played the waiting game again. It was nearly 10AM before we went into the courtroom where they actually started the trial. We heard testimony from 3 witnesses. Around 11:30AM the judge declared we would be taking a lunch break and for us to return by 1PM.

Great! Here we go again. We all went to lunch at a local restaurant within walking distance of the courthouse. Upon our return we were sent back into the jury deliberation room and told we were waiting on the judge. An hour went by and we were informed that the lawyers were in the judge’s chambers and for us to be patient. We finally were called into the courtroom around 3PM. When we entered the courtroom I noticed that only the judge and court reporter were present. That is when I knew they had come to a plea agreement and we were being excused. I was right.

Now I enjoyed getting to know the process and procedure for jury duty but it was very boring waiting. There were 13 other people in the room and we all talked and joked around never really discussing the case except for maybe everyone’s agreement that the defense attorney was incompetent. There were people from all walks of life and I enjoyed getting to know them. I believe the process was performed fairly and honestly.

One thing I did notice is that they took our information from the questionnaire they sent out without checking to see if we really were who we said we were. I could have paid someone to serve for me and they would not have known it. I’ll certainly be prepared next time I am asked to serve.

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