Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jury Duty - Waste of Time

Have you ever been called for jury duty? I got a formal summons to appear for jury duty this week and next. They are two week terms in my county.

So how does it work? Well, I was placed in the 200 block of Tuesday group and had to call in the night before after 5 p.m. to find out if my block was called. Then, I had to drive to the county courthouse the next morning by 8:15 a.m. From there, I find the jury selection room, hang out, and wait to be questioned and possibly placed on a jury. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

I actually was looking forward to it. Being a part of our judicial system -- learning how it all works. Watching the wheels of justice turn up close and personal. I have no problem with being on a jury. I even thought I would be a great asset. I do believe in capital punishment, but I do think it's applied unevenly in this country and that it's sad that we are the last civilized country using the death penalty. I am torn over the issue and therefore malleable to either side. I am single, but I have nieces/nephews. I worked extensively with minorities in higher education and wrote my master's thesis on a minority issue. I'm a critical thinker who believes that people, including the police and district attorneys, are not infallible. However, I also believe that most of the time the police are doing their jobs to the best of their ability. I think I would make a great member of the jury.

The night before, I swung through the library and picked up some books to read, just in case it was slow. And there seems to be a great deal of truth to the saying "the wheels of justice turn slowly." The entire day was slow.

I spent over an hour on the road, just trying to get there. About 20 minutes of the delay was due to traffic -- there was an accident on the Beltway. However, the other 20 minutes of delay was because I got horribly lost and had to stop at a gas station to ask for help. I had to turn around 3 times before I finally found the place.

Then, I arrive to find out that it really didn't matter. Yes, they say to be there at 8:15 a.m., but they don't even start calling the first jury pool until 9:30 a.m. So, I ate my yogurt and read my paper. I had to wear a pink badge identifying myself as a jury member. About 9:40 a.m. I got picked to be a part of a pool. I march up to the 5th floor with about 20 other people. And we sit and we sit. A sheriff's deputy pops his head out and tells the first case was plea bargained and they had another one to look at. About 10:40 a.m., we are told to go back downstairs to the selection room because the second case was also plea bargained.

So, we all go back downstairs. We end up being told just to sit and wait. About 12:30 p.m., they announce there is nothing left on the docket, so we can go.

So, what did I learn about Jury Duty? Not much. It's a lot of waiting for little or no return. I might have to go back next week. I have to call on Monday night. I'll let you all know if I get selected.

5 Comments:

At 11:21 AM EDT, Blogger amy said...

I have yet to be called for jury duty, but your story mimics all of the other ones I've heard (especially those in the DC area). At least you got a lot of reading done!! :)

 
At 6:30 AM EDT, Blogger Katya said...

i have to do mine in january, i am prepared for the boredom...lol

i'm not too sure how it works over here, i'm not sure if you are selected as such or whether they just send everyone in...

i am looking forward to doing it, but am dreading the travelling seeing as i don't drive...ours is also two weeks, but longer if you get involved with a case...

p.s. email me @ kafishuk@yahoo.co.uk as i've had to move my blog again and i can't find your email addy...

 
At 2:58 PM EDT, Blogger Tara said...

I know mine is coming up. They sent me a questionaire a couple of weeks ago and the last time they did that they called on me to serve. At the time, I had a family issue that prevented me and was able to get out of it.

 
At 8:24 PM EDT, Blogger Alan Howard said...

I've got my own jury duty coming up as well. Like you, I'm looking forward to it. However, I'm hoping it'll be a bit more exciting than yours was...

 
At 9:43 PM EDT, Blogger Kristen said...

I got called for a murder trial once. The defense attorney didn't want anything to do with me and I was off in a flash. Too bad.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home