I was called for jury duty last week. I’m not fond of jury duty, but it is one of those things that needs to be done. I’ve been called now six times. I’ve served three times; two times I was not needed and did not have to report. In our county, you call the night before to find if you have to report.
When I called this week, I was hoping to beat the cut. I did not and had to report Monday at 8am, definitely out of my comfort zone.
I showed up on time and took my seat to wait. I know it is my civic duty, but I was hoping to not be called, if you are not called on day one, you can go home and you are done for at least three years.
There were probably three hundred people in the room thinking just as I was. The first panel of about 35 people were called. I dodged that bullet. At around 11:00 the next panel was called and my number was one of the first.
It was a civil trial, only eight from the panel would be chosen. The process would take most of the day, and if I was not chosen I would be home free. The judge asked if anyone had issues on six questions she posed relating to ability to serve. Many hands went up.
One by one she and the lawyers quizzed the prospective jurors (pj’s). More often than not the judge said, “Ok, you’re excused.” One PJ was claustrophobic and could not even walk through the hallway to make it to the jury room…I’d have thrown a flag on that excuse.
At one point a pj sneezed and reflexively said, “Excuse me.” The judge reflexively responded, “You’re excused.” Soon everyone sneezed and said, “Excuse me!”
OK, that never happened, but it was a skit that played in my head and caused me to laugh out loud…I received several strange glances.
Even worse, I had just watched “My Cousin Vinnie” a very funny court related movie and a Cranky house favorite. Every time the judge said, “voir dire” I cracked up. If you saw the movie you’d know why.
The pool was soon down to 22 pj’s
We had a lunch break and in the afternoon the process continued. The judge was pretty lenient. If you wanted out it would have been very easy to just say, “Yes judge, I think most litigants are just slip and fall fakers.” And you would be excused.
I did not answer any questions that way and the result is Cranky took seat number three in the jury box.
It should be interesting.
I must say the eight jurors ultimately picked are an eclectic group representing many diverse talents and cultures. We had several members from India, a Muslim, a man born and schooled in Italy, a mechanic, an electrical engineer, a teacher, a college student, a linesman, a college professor, a chef and a cranky old man.
Tomorrow: The Trial