Sunday, June 7, 2009

You Have The Right To Be Bored Out Of Your Mind

Hello to everyone on this be-u-ti-ful day at the Jersey Shore.  I'm sitting on my deck with my feet up, listening to the Mets swat the Nats (get it? tee-hee).  There should be more days like this.
Anyway, I received quite a few emails (meaning more than usual) regarding the Meme I posted last week, asking me to share some details about a few of the things I have done.
One was regarding sitting on a jury.  You've probably heard that old joke "When you go to court, remember, you're trusting your fate to 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty."  Well, I'm one of those people.  Not being a policeman, fireman or anything considered vital to the success of my company, I never could finagle my way out of it.  People who have never had this opportunity tell me they would love the chance to sit on a jury.  All I can say is, be careful what you wish for.
 I've been lucky (she said, facetiously) to be called for jury duty 3 times, but only got picked to sit on a jury once.  The first day all the lucky people gather in a large, drab room in the basement of the County Courthouse, awaiting our fate, much like the defendants waiting somewhere else in the building.  Out of the thousand people who received the summons to report that day, there were only about 400 of us actually there (there must be a lot of cops, firemen and people smarter than me living in my county).  We get in two lines to have our summonses scanned for attendance purposes and then told to take a seat and wait for our number to be called.
So, that's what we do.  We sit.  And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. (Are you getting the picture?) We wait. Don't get me wrong, they have a few tvs there, not wide screen, just some 24" sets around the room.  Some even have VCRs!  And a great library of G rated videos (you never know what might offend someone if you offered those PG rated films).  Of course,  trying to get a diverse group of your peers to agree on what to watch is as likely to happen as  Jennifer & Angelina agreeing to do lunch.  Anyway, I had brought a book with me, so I tried to read, even though the woman sitting next to me seemed to think I needed to know her life story.  (I'm amazed what some people will tell total strangers AND why they feel the need to tell it).
On Wed., I got called to experience my first "voir dire," (oh, baby. Why does every French phrase sound sexy?) Actually, it's the process when the lawyers get to question you about your background and beliefs, trying to learn if you have any biases that could hurt their client.  The defense attorney questioned me and I got his okay, but the other lawyer "struck me" (ouch.  I have no idea what it was that he didn't like.) So I meekly slunk back to my seat, my self-esteem dropping a few points.  
On Fri., I got called again and, this time, I got picked ("they like me, they really like me!) Once the jury was selected (surprisingly, an all-female jury), the judge dismissed us and said the trial would start on Monday.
It was a civil trial.  A couple were suing a young man for what, they claimed, was loss of income due to the car accident they were involved in with him.  Not the most exciting case.  In fact, it was boring and dragged on endlessly, day after day.  Finally, on Friday, we were going to finally get to deliberate!  Yay!  We go into the jury room and were just getting to the first order of business, selecting a foreman, when the bailiff knocked and said we needed to return to the courtroom, where we were told, after sitting on that hard bench for 4 long days, trying to stay awake, that the parties SETTLED out of court!!  All that time and we weren't allowed to render a verdict!!
Well, that was 5 days of my life I won't get back.  (BTW, we were unanimous; the defendant would have won.)


  1. I don't know if it works but someone told me to just say that everyone is guilty in your eyes, and they will dismiss you. That might be bull, though, we probably need to ask Jaime!

  2. I used to be able to get out of jury duty with being a nurse, but in Mass. everyone serves no matter what. One day or one trial. I did it last month; after waiting to see if there would be a trial, they settled. But you gave up days! Yuck. Then they wonder why people have attitudes about serving...

  3. I was called and decided to postpone for the maximum year possible. Then when it came back around there was a death in the family and I got a special exception to show up the folling day instead - which was a Friday. It seems that by Friday most of the cases have been assigned or dealt with by then and jury pools don't typically get called. So my duty was all done without have to leave my house. In the future - defer your service and pick a date that falls on a Friday. FYI - we finally got around to posting that Splash award you kindly gave us last month. It'll be up tomorrow!