Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Joys of Jury Duty

Consider this your disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with exercise except that the room I was confined in was so hot that I was sweating as if I had just returned from a run.

A while ago I received the most dreaded piece of mail imaginable. Not credit card offers. Not even credit card bills. Nay, worse. A summons for JURY DUTY.

Yesterday my date arrived to show up and serve my time. I joined almost 40 other potential jurors in a crammed room of the court house and we started to get our sweat on. That room was warm. We were shown a video basically saying "Stop being so crabby about being here. It's your civic duty, even if it's inconvenient. So suck it up and stop whining you big baby!" (Disclaimer: the video never used the words "crabby" or "suck it up" or "stop whining" but the message was clear.)

Then we waited there in the hot box waiting room. And waited. And just for good measure, we waited a little more.

At the precise moment when people had become so overheated that we were going to start taking our shirts off, we were taken into the court room. There, we got a little run down from the judge. The plan for the day: 1) fill out a survey, 2) take a lunch break, then 3) come back for individual interviews with the judge and lawyers.

We were told that the big mass of us would be trimmed down to 19 by the end of the day, and then that group would be trimmed again to the final jury of 8 members. We would be called back randomly and once the 19 were selected, everyone else could leave.

We returned from lunch at 1pm and waited in the court room as people were called back to the judge's office. Everyone sat in quiet anticipation. Interviews were taking about 15 minutes EACH (FYI: getting through 40 people may literally take forever.)

Some people returned after their interview with a big smile because they had been dismissed. Some people came back with a dejected face and reluctantly took an available juror seat. And some people didn't come back at all! They vanished, never to be seen from again. I figured they gave a wrong answer the judge threw them right in the paddy wagon.

I sat there and waited as the minutes, then hours dragged by. I was so thankful I brought a book. I felt so sad for the suckers who didn't have a book and had to stare at their hands for almost five hours. There was little talking. Every once in a while you'd hear a little giggle, but it soon returned to silence.

Following our lunch break when we had been sitting there for four and a half hours I thought to myself "I could have run a marathon in the time I've been sitting here!" The crowd slowly dwindled until there were three of us left. And finally, finally at 5:43pm the three of us were told that all spots had been filled and we could go home.

No interview, no real-life-CSI action, no excitement. Just "Okay, you can go home now." Aside from my lunch break, this little experience took 9 hours and 43 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. But - on the bright side - I did earn $18 jury pay for my day of "service". I think I would have rather run a marathon.

Have you had the "pleasure" of jury duty before?
This was a first for me.


  1. haha, that's good that you weren't called to serve on the jury! I've been called to the courthouse twice, but never actually made it into a court room. I kind of want to experience serving on a jury, seems like it might be kind of fun. But missing work for a while because of it would not be so fun =)

    I have heard stories of some people giving false or blatantly incorrect answers in the surveys before to try to intentionally get thrown out of the jury pool - claiming they are racist, prejudice, etc. I've never tried that, but seems like some people have!

  2. That sucks to waste a day like that, but at least you got out of it. I get cranky when I'm hot, so that hot box would have pissed me off!

  3. Hahahaha!! That sounds not fun at all! I have never had the pleasure. Let's hope it stays that way!

  4. I have been called for jury duty but never made it as far as you did. I just had to call in the morning to see if my group was coming in or not.

    That sounds like a really crappy day but glad you survived!

  5. That sounds awful! I have been called to jury duty several times but luckily always gotten out of it. Thank goodness!

  6. i've always wanted to, but that sounds horrible. i was picturing it to be a little bit more like 12 angry men.

  7. I got a letter for jury duty a few months ago. I had stuff for work that I had to do so I wrote them a letter and they excused me till Christmas. Yeah, the most wonderful time of the year...for me to be sitting in a courtroom :)

  8. I've never done jury duty, but if I had to, it would suck more for my husband because he'd have to take off work to watch the baby. You can't just randomly drop off your kid at a daycare (well, not legally), so that would be fun for everyone.

  9. So how are you going to spend all that hard earned money? I think some Hostess donuts are in order...