My lessons learned in Jury Duty

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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.
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! 😉

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20 Comments

  1. You are a lucky dawg managing to escape being selected. I had to do a full five days of torture in a civil case where a guy accidentally hit a pedestrian and took off. The pedestrian was an 80-year old lady who was 100% fine except that her knee hurt a little from time-to-time. 80-year old. With knee pain. Because of the accident? Probably not. But the rest of the jury wanted to give her a boatload of money anyway. The whole process proved to me that people are stupid.

  2. I’m glad you avoided getting selected. I got out of jury duty once, but only because I had a newborn.

  3. Did he really call Whoville, Hotters??? Too funny. I hope you laughed out loud.

    And shame on that receptionist for making you cry, though I’m sure her job has caused her to be one callous biddy just to survive. I am very happy for you for not being stuck in that position any longer than you had to be. Time to celebrate your release from “prison”

  4. This should be required reading for all potential jurors.

    My SAHM excuse has just about run its course–I’ll probably go next time. I want to do my civic duty, I just never wanted to pay a babysitter for the privilege.

  5. BWAHAHA.

    First off, don’t go to law school. EVER! It sucks ass.

    Second, I’m surprised they took the lawyer. Usually they try to steer clear of anybody who has a clue. This is done on purpose, but my guess is whoever didn’t want the lawyer on the jury (if lawyer had been mugged, this was probably the defense) had already used up his right to reject a juror without having to say why. Anyway, I’m still surprised they took the lawyer. I ALWAYS get rejected.

    Also, if he’s a defense attorney, he almost certainly isn’t getting paid more than you. That’s why he looks homeless – he’s probably the public defender. And he also has crippling student loans on top of his huge caseload and no salary.

    I repeat – don’t do it!

  6. Whew I’m glad you dodged the bullet! I’d been wondering how it went for you.

  7. Sounds like my jury duty debacle! Only I had to sit on it for 3 long weeks. HOLD ME.

  8. Tranny Head has it sooooooooooo right. Let me tell you from first hand experience that you are MUCH better off doing what you are and being a lawyer is sooooo not worth law school and then the CRAZY student loans. I too am shocked they took the lawyer. Jury duty is not what it used to be….sorry you had to endure that.

  9. Hooters? You were called a Hooter? Oh my. See why I stopped practicing law. I had to deal with those dudes.

  10. That is hysterical! I knew jury duty would result in a great blog post.

  11. My husband has jury duty next week–I’ll share your experience with him 🙂

  12. Too funny! Glad you escaped…this time! Good luck with your IEPs.

  13. Phew . . . you lucked out!

    “She will insult you and your ability to read, chastise you, be condescending towards all teachers and make you cry.” I’m pretty sure they take a class on this . . .

  14. Poor thing! And that mean old check-in lady!
    I love this post. I’ve been called up for jury duty several times, but each time have had to get out of it due to strange circumstances. I always wondered what went on. Thanks for sharing!
    Becky

  15. Did I ever tell you about one of my co-workers, the former Hooters waitress? No? Well… I’ll have to do that soon. 🙂

    So glad you escaped the remaining days of jury duty. It stinks, doesn’t it? (And not just because it is an airless room filled with people sweating bullets, trying to invent escape-worthy excuses.)

    Oh, and we are heading to your neck of the woods next week (if my guess about your location is correct).

  16. That sounds AWFUL. Truly. I pull the teacher card occasionally (police officers, phone solicitors…). What’s with Jury Snob not figuring that one out? And tears? 5 IEP’s *and* tears and you STILL wasted a day. Dude, you need acting class (you know, to appear WAY more wacky).

  17. This is hilarious- I think you should publish it- Readers Digest pays for this kind of thing- you might want to remain anonymous however

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