In the Pool

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not the kind of pool you're thinking.

A jury pool.

I had jury duty today. I got the summons in the mail a few weeks ago, and I wasn't all that surprised by it. I knew it was likely coming soon because I got the "juror's questionnaire" a couple of months back. And when I checked the website on Friday night, I learned that I was required to report on Monday morning.

Oh joy.

So, this morning I got up 45 minutes earlier than usual, got ready, and then schlepped downtown to the Hall of Justice. I waited in a line for security, then waited in a huge line just to get into the jury room (with 300+ other people).

Once inside, however, I'm happy to report that I snagged the last seat/table with access to a power outlet, and I settled in with my laptop. I soon found out that the case I was assigned to wouldn't begin until 11:00 a.m., so I was in for at least two more hours of waiting. I made the best of it and spent my time editing photos from my session last week. And if I'm being completely honest, it was actually pretty damn awesome. I was more productive there than I've been able to be at home, that's for sure.

A little after 11:30 (yes, they were running late!), the deputy finally came down to get my group and go to the courtroom. There, I proceeded to listen for two hours as the judge and attorneys questioned the first 16 jurors (a group I was not a part of).

I alternated between actually listening and reading my book, but some of the stuff I heard made me shake my head in disbelief. Some people are just so frustratingly stupid. I cannot imagine having to deal with this crap on a daily basis. So, kudos to judges and attorneys. Maybe there's actually a good reason you're paid so much, huh?

One woman was absolutely determined to answer every question in a way that would seemingly disqualify her from being a juror. (For background purposes, the defendant was charged with DWI.) First, when the judge asked if anyone had any conflicts over the next few days that would prevent them from being a juror, she raised her hand and said she has to work tomorrow. Um, yeah. You and the WHOLE REST OF THE PLANET. The judge was all, "OK, um. Thanks for telling us that." God bless her and her restraint.

Then, when asked whether anybody had any friends or family that had been convicted of a DWI, this same woman told the judge that her ex-boyfriend had a DWI. Not only that, but her son's best friend's girlfriend (I'm not even kidding) was recently charged. She went on to completely exaggerate the effect that her son's best friend's girlfriend's DWI had on her life, and subsequently on her ability to fairly evaluate the defendant's guilt or innocence. Because you see, she was the one who saw the son's best friend's girlfriend on the news!! She had to call and tell her son what had happened!! It was so dramatic!!

Whatever, lady. I swear, I wanted them to pick her just to spite her. But alas, they took the easy way out and got rid of her annoying ass. Can't say I can blame them.

There was another guy who kept asking questions and basically said that he thought the legal BAC limit was too low, and that he didn't believe there was anything wrong with having a few drinks and driving. Alrighty then.

In the end, all of the jurors were drawn from that first group of 16, and I was released without ever having been interviewed. S'all good. My duty has been fulfilled, and I'm off the hook for eight years.

In other words, I'm safe from jury pool morons until at least 2017. HOORAY!


Laurel October 19, 2009 at 11:27 PM  

Eight years?! Here we're dropped back in the pool after one year.

Swedish October 20, 2009 at 7:32 AM  

Wow eight years!?! Lucky duck! I get called every year, even though it's only supposed to be every 3 years!

Lindsey@pickyeatings October 20, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

I got stuck on a jury my first time reporting, back when I was in college. It was not fun, to say the least. Especially since they didn't pick us until about 2pm that afternoon.

We get thrown back in every 3 or so years, but when I lived in Boston proper I would get called every year. I'm just waiting to get called again...

Cheryl October 20, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

1 - I've never received a juror's questionaire, and my mom only did AFTER she got jury duty on a murder trial (she was dismissed cause her daughters are exactly the same age as the victim was...)

2 - In FL, to get excused (since I am at school in PA...aka long commute) you just send in the excuse and they apparently contact you if you're NOT excused. Needless to say, I'm all paranoid they won't get my excuse.

3 - Eight years. I had jury duty 3 years I guess we don't have 8 years

Jenna October 20, 2009 at 10:17 AM  

What an experience! At least you got a day off of work and some entertainment to boot!

Becky October 20, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

Wow! Eight Years! We are also put back in after one year too...

Heather October 20, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

Wow! Sounds like we are pretty lucky in NY. It used to be six years, but apparently there was recently jury reform, and now we are good for eight years after serving. It sounds like they made it a lot harder to get out of jury duty now, but once you serve, they really reward you for it. :)

But yeah, I loved having the opportunity to work on my pics instead of being at work, so it wasn't all that bad! I would go back and do it again if I could sit in the main jury room instead of having to actually go to court! HA!

Esme October 21, 2009 at 12:20 AM  

Very funny-as a criminal lawyer-I love people that just try to get off the jury. There are some out there comments.

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