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Jury Duty

Monday, January 07, 2008
Today, in the spirit of a strong legal system, I showed up to respond to a summons for jury duty. An astute reader might remember that I was summoned last July for grand jury duty, but tragically had to defer it. While I could have cheated the system and deferred until after I graduated (then "oh, sorry, I don't live in Marion County anymore"), I chose instead to defer to January, where I had even odds of being free. Lo and behold, the man caught me again and I was asked to show up today.

this way to the jury room!

I arrived at the jury room at the inhumanly early hour of 8:05 AM where, along with about 80 other people, I stood in line to check in. After an hour-long registration, we were shown an inspiring propaganda video on the merits of jury duty and what a good citizen I was for being there. After the video... we all waited.

Word on the street (or from the jury coordinator) was that there were potentially three trials for the day - all of which would be one or two day trials. Since I'd expected to spend the whole week there (my last stint as a juror was on a three week trial!) this was definitely good news. However, we had to wait until the judge and attorneys were good and ready to select a jury, and that (apparently) takes a bit of time.

At around 10:00, the first trial started the selection process. They called up 30 of us potential jurors (I was not included) and the selection process seemed to take about 30 minutes - or at least that's how long it was before the jurors not selected returned and were excused (having completed their duty.) It was at this point that I really wished that I'd brought a book.

It was around 11:00 when the second group of jurors were called - but this was for a felony hearing and the defendant had opted for a bench trial. Those jurors who would have had to report to that trial were then called up and excused, having completed their duty.

I believe it was 11:30 (having been at the Marion County Courthouse for three and a half hours with no book) when the remainder of us were called up for the last trial. I was somewhat bitter at being the absolute last name called, but such is life. We filed up to the fourth floor and into the courtroom, where the first twelve jurors of our group were put in the hot seats. I noticed that the first twelve were called into the jury box in the same order that we'd been called from the basement. Being the last person, I suspected that I might not get to serve.

And I was right.

After an ninety-minute long selection process for a misdemeanor stalking offense, the rest of us were told we weren't needed, and I got to go home. My jury duty service was completed after about five and a half hours in the courthouse, and I felt like a good citizen. I was bummed that I didn't get to lay down Burton-style justice on some poor defendant, but it seems that not every day can be perfect.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kristin said...

They could smell the "send the bad guy to California" vibe on you...no one wants that inhumane of a punishment going around.

9:20 PM, January 07, 2008  
Blogger Julien Chambers said...

This is why I don't do jury duty, instead I don my cape and mask and stalk evil doers as "The Flatulent Avenger", which is NOT a rip off of the Mystery Men character "The Spleen" in any way shape or form.

4:58 PM, January 08, 2008  

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