February 11th, 2004

Mama Deb

Jury Duty

I went, I sat. I was sent home, and told not to return for four years. Yay!

Okay, let's be a bit more detailed, shall we?

I got there at about 8:40, five minutes early, with a purse full of meds and a tote bag full of books and a notebook - and a cup of coffee. Security allowed me to keep my PDA. We sat. There was a video on the jury system. We sat. We were given extremely detailed instructions on what to do with our summons - what to write, where to write, what to detach, what should be kept and what should be tossed. We were told that the courts would be closed tomorrow due to Lincoln's Birthday, and that we'd be back Friday. And those of us with problems or potential problems should talk to the clerks at the front desk. Which is what I did, because I was worried about Shabbat, and I was told not to worry because they always closed up early on Fridays.

I settled down with my books and pda and waited. I didn't have to wait long. By 10:30, my name had been called as part of a final group of four attached to ten potential jurors. I sat in the back of a small, close room while the first ten were questioned, although the first one was excused immediately due to an emergency of some kind.

We all had to fill out questionaires in the big jury room, but they never even took mine because I was sort of an alternate. And, you know. Humans are funny. We build connections. Put a bunch of us in a room together, however diverse the group, and we will talk and joke and get to know each other. It was nice.

It was also interesting that this group, being chose to try a car accident case, had so very few licensed drivers. I think we found three out of fourteen. Not counting me.

AFter an hour of questions for the first ten jurors, most of which took place outside the room, we were first given a bathroom break and then a lunch break. My husband had given me a map to the kosher restuarants, but either he got it wrong or one of them was closed. I found the other one, but it wasn't where he said. It helped immensely - I'd already taken an advil and two excedrin, but the food (vegetable soup and an egg salad on rye) helped a lot. I had some time to kill, so I wandered around an office supply store for awhile and then went to a drug store, where I bought a sleeve of Ritz crackers and a bottle of Tums. These also helped.

I had a chance to daaven in private (everyone else was in the hall rather than the stuffy room) before we reconvened. Four people of the ten were chosen (to no one's surprise, our school bus driver was *not* picked. :)) and the rest of us were sent back to the big room. By then it was three pm, and I couldn't imagine we'd be put into a pool again.

I was right. By 3:30, they were calling people up and dismissing them for Friday, telling them to come in at 10AM. And then they called my name in a group of four people.

And we were told our duty was done and not to return. So I am *finished*. Yay!

In celebration, when I got home, I bought a purple leather cap. :) (50% off.)