Rather than my regular “Teaching Tuesday” where I provide some educational resources, I wanted to share my 1st jury duty experience yesterday, and all the things I learned.
Don’t ever try to defer your jury duty to a Monday. At the beginning of the month. That is when Grand Juries are chosen. Luckily, I was not called out on that one.
Don’t politely admit to the lady checking you in that you were denied a deferral of jury duty and that you are a teacher and this is a horrible time of year to be out of school. She will insult you and your ability to read, chastise you, be condescending towards all teachers and make you cry.
Although there is wireless Internet in the jury room, there is a password you need to access it. The password is written on slips of paper under “the light switch”. It may take you an hour to find the light switch. But don’t ask the check-in lady where it is. She’ll make you cry.
The wireless Internet service is sketchy at best. You’ll probably lose your connection a few times per hour.
Blogger is apparently blocked in the jury room. So there is no way to write and complain about your treatment.
Don’t ever go to the bathroom. They may call your name while you are in there. It didn’t happen to me, but I knew it could.
Just because it is 2:20pm and your name hasn’t been called yet, doesn’t mean that you are in the clear. Your name may just be called along with 35 other people. Mine was.
You may be stuffed in a tiny room, seated, and then re-told where to sit so that all 35 people are stepping all over each other trying to find the appropriate seat.
Don’t ever almost faint due to heat and lack of air. And don’t step outside in to the hall for a breath of air. The entire jury interview process will be stopped. The judge will freak out and the clerk will tell you “You’ve got to come back. No you can’t breathe out here. You have to come back in.” This was the bad luck of one of my fellow prospective jurors .
The jury selection process is apparently like a philosophy class. Open, oral participation is encouraged by all jurors . One of the other potential jurors is likely to go on philosophical lectures about “what is evidence?”, “what is truth?”, and others may repeat over and over that “their background experiences have the potential to influence their biases and other leanings in this case and may effect or alter their ability to fairly and evenly participate in and evaluate the trial process.” Huh? Other potential jurors may shout out their agreement or disagreement. Yep. Just like a philosophy seminar. The judge is the teacher, who will occasionally intervene to steer the conversation back on track.
Except when the defense lawyer (who looked like some of the homeless men on the street, but dressed up in a suit) decides to lecture the group. He told us that each of our voices count. We need to be heard. Just like in Horton Hears a Who. Apparently he’s been giving this analogy for years. Horton is an elephant who hears these tiny voices on some dust. But really these voices are little people that live in a town. Called Smallville . No, maybe it’s Hooters.
Wait, I think it’s Whoville .
This “lawyer” tried to tell us that we were like the small Hooters, whose voices need all be heard.
I learned, that there is a heck of a long time between when crimes are committed and when they go to trial. Like 1.5-2.5 years. Not exactly the “immediate consequences” we try to teach our kids.
Oh, and the defendant was accused of burglary . So of course, the logical “impartial” juror to be selected would be a lawyer who was 2 years ago held up by 2 men in ski-masks and then tied up in his bar for hours. He sounds like he’ll be real impartial. But chosen he was.
In the end I was not chosen for this criminal case. Thank the Lord. It was going to be 2 additional days and we already didn’t get out until 5pm. I think my persuasive argument that I have FIVE IEPs this week that couldn’t be postponed was helpful in getting me off.
I’ve decided that I’m giving up my day job. Clearly I need to become a lawyer. If he can do it (and surely get paid more than myself), then anyone can. And after all, I was a debater in high school…. maybe I’ll use some of my Super Powers to look like a Hooter girl! 😉