I received the summons a couple of weeks ago and I kind of took the “what a pain the ass” attitude. It was a call to jury duty for the last week of August. And here it is the last week of August.
I needed to start calling in nightly beginning on Friday. I called in Sunday night and was told by a pleasant voice on a recording that no jurors were needed for Monday 30 Aug 10. One down, four to go. I called in last night and was told that those holding numbers 1 through 110 had to report for jury selection at 9:00 on Tuesday. That would be today. Be prompt, but not before 8:30 and be sure to park in the designated parking area.
I arrived at 8:35, was scanned like I was stepping onto a 737 and went into the bowels of the County Courthouse, where I filled out a questionnaire and sat with the 109 other people that were awaiting their chance to do their civic duty. Once I got to the courthouse I have to admit that my attitude changed and I was kind of looking forward to the experience because it seemed quite interesting. After reciting the pledge of allegiance and a few opening remarks from the Commissioner of Jurors or something like that (and he looks way too much like a thug for that role, but that’s just my opinion), we watched a 20 minute video feature Ed Bradley, Diane Sawyer and a really important judge for the State of New York. The video was interesting and wasn’t too peppy. I wasn’t really in the mood to be waving the flag and of learning the importance of my patriotism complete with fireworks coming out of my ears and the video didn’t do much of that. It really just outlined what was expected of a juror and the importance of it.
The guy that looked like a thug informed us that jury selection was underway for a criminal trial and that we would be escorted up to the fifth floor of the courthouse to begin the selection. My number of 24 was randomly chosen and plopped me into the 9th seat in the jury box. I answered a few questions that were asked by the judge and then took my seat. Both sides asked those of us in the jury box a few questions, I didn’t have to answer any personal questions directly, and then they went into chambers where decisions were made.
When everyone returned to the courtroom, I found that I wasn’t excused from the trial. I am juror #7 and according to the judge, will be doing the legal thing until end of business tomorrow.
This is an interesting experience.