Friday, June 29, 2007

Jury duty was a bust. First I was 30 minutes late because I couldn't find a parking garage near the courthouse. (This just confirmed that I will never live in the city - always having a place to park is worth living in the burbs!) Luckily they expect everyone to be late and I really got there at the perfect time to be ushered into the jury assembly room to be given an overview of what was going to happen and then to watch a 17 minute film on what it means to be a juror. After that I waited. And waited some more. And still some more. Then the man, court officer I imagine since he was in uniform, came back and told us that all but the people numbered 1 - 30 could go to lunch. I was number 113, so me and about 150 other people went to the cafe which caused one heck of a line! Back to the jury assembly room where around 1:00 the man came back and said he had some good news and some bad news and not to kill the messenger. There were 3 trials that we were potentially going to be jurors for. The first settled, the second got a continuance and the third, well the third needed a jury - a six person jury and some of us were going up and some of us were being dismissed for the day. Since I already said that jury duty was a bust, I'm sure there isn't much suspense at this point. Standby jurors 1 - 37 were sent up to be narrowed down to 6 jurors and some alternates and the rest of use got sent home. I'm not sure if 1 - 30 every got to go to lunch or not, but they did get a closer look at the wheels of justice than I did.
I'll admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn't even make it out of the room, but I did learn some things. The average trial lasts 4 days and they will give you an estimate upfront for how long they think it will be so if you have a conflict, you can let it be known -- not that it may matter, but still. There can be either a 6 or 12 person jury plus alternates. The alternates are not told they are alternates until the end so that they pay attention throughout the whole trial. And while in Massachusetts you serve for one day or one trial, there are some states that when you server, you serve for an entire month! yikes!
My civic duty is complete for the next three years. Maybe the next time I'll actually make it into a courtroom!

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