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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Jury Duty: Day One

Short version: whole lotta nothing.

I'd forgotten that jury duty in Major Eastern City obliges you to two days rather than just one (I suppose you could get away with just one if you got put on a jury immediately and had an incredibly short trial, but that seems unlikely), so I have to go back tomorrow.

Today was painless, however: got in around 9 a.m., watched a video and got instructions from a couple of hilarious guys (jury-minders? no idea what they'd be called) . . . and then sat around. Not a single one of the 20 courtrooms in this particular building called for any jurors all morning, so they let us out early for lunch.

I called up a lawyer friend who works at the federal courthouse two blocks away and he & I met up for some Thai food and then grabbed some iced coffee. Still hot as hell today, but not particularly humid (although given that I consider humidity to be the work of the devil, I don't think hell would BE hell without humidity hovering around 90%), so sitting on a bench in the shade watching the civil servants go by was pleasant.

Afternoon was much of the same, and we were promised we'd be let go around 3.30--but then at 3 p.m. a courtroom called for jurors. They called out about 60 names, of which mine was one (damn!) and sent us down a floor . . . where we waited outside the courtroom for literally 30-40 minutes. Whereupon the lawyers came out and said, hey, sorry to make you wait; we settled the case. Go home and come back tomorrow.

But as one of our jury-minders assured us at one point, "I know it seems boring, but remember that this sitting around is actually a vital national service. You people here are the fine line between civilization . . . and total chaos."

link | posted by La Lecturess at 5:03 PM |


Anonymous Anonymous commented at 7:14 PM~  

Well, I think that's a bit of a stretch. Sure juries are important, but since the impulse for most attorneys seems to be "Let me get the dumbest bunch of bumpkins I can find," maybe the draft lottery system for jury duty isn't so great. Perhaps if we had a pool of professional jurors that got paid enough to make a job out of it, and knew the relative locations of their asses and elbows?


Blogger La Lecturess commented at 8:22 PM~  

Sweetie, he was being (deliberately) hyperbolic. See above, in re the hilarity of the jury-minders. They were a fucking riot. But I guess the tone doesn't come across quite right in print.

Blogger RH commented at 8:52 PM~  

I agree; I don't think the lawyers are looking for well-educated people. I got to voir dire about a year ago for a civil case, but was dismissed as soon I started preaching about the vital importance of tort reform. I think they'd been drooling over the fact that I'm a (supposedly bleeding-heart liberal) librarian, but I put a real quick stop to that.

Blogger lucyrain commented at 9:25 PM~  

Be glad. The day could've been much worse. If you're interested here's my account of jury duty:


Anonymous Anonymous commented at 1:14 PM~  

sigh. I am a good American! I vote and pay taxes and even have a driver's license! So why have I NEVER BEEN CALLED FOR JURY DUTY?

I know it's boring, but jeez. I feel like the last kid picked for kickball.


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