Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jury Duty

This week I am on Jury Duty.  The first day (yesterday) I reported to the Jury Assembly room by 0800.

It is a large room with a lot of chairs and a number of tables against the walls with electrical outlets.  In addition there are rest rooms, computers (with internet access), and a lunch room with vending machines & games (like Scrabble,etc.) & a small number of books.  Plus there are various magazines around the room (things like Time, etc.).

Around 0800 (actually a while after) a nice lady got up and thanked us for our service/time.  She told us about the great pay ($5 pr day for the first 2 days and then a raise to $7.50 for next 3 days and then a hugh raise to $10 a day after 5 days plus free parking & $0.50 per mile from our post office), how we could not go outside the double doors unless it was lunch or to go to a courtroom or at the end of our service day.  The day was from (normally) 0900 to 1730 with an 1.5 hour lunch at noon.

She told us that our badges would allow a $5 lunch at the cafe in the courthouse (I got a sausage Calzone and a pop) and how we were not to talk to anyone about anything related to the court (trials, selection, etc.).  And how we were not to research anything about the trials that we were selected to.

Then a  judge came and explained the process in the courtroom selection process, told us that 200 level was felonies, 300 civil, and 400 traffic.  Then again about not talking and to not make any decisions until all the evidence was in.

Then we had a video that basically went over the same stuff.

To select a jury pool, a random number generator selected 24-36 numbers (we didn't have names only numbers I was 134), the numbers were read out & we had to say we were there, and those people lined up at the door and were taken to the courtroom by a deputy sheriff.

I was in the second group and we went up to a Civil Courtroom.  Where the judge swore that we would answer the questions put to us by the judge and the lawyers truthfully.  Then she repeated basically everything that we heard from the judge before, the video and the lady.  In our case they took the first 18 into the jury box (again a random selection of the 36), and the rest of us (including me) went back to the Assembly room to wait.

Late in the afternoon, the last 18 (including me) were called to the Courtroom and sat in the jury box.  One of our 18 was not there, don't know what happened to "him" but the judge left a empty chair for him.  The judge asked some generic questions of all of us and then the lawyers (there were 6 of them, 2 for the plaintiff, 2 each for the defendants only one of each group talked to us) asked us some generic questions and then specific questions of each of us based on the jury forms that we filled out prior to the process.

Eventually, out of my 18, 5 jurors and 1alternate were selected.  I was not one of them.

So I called when I got home (we are suppose to call at 1615 or later each day and at 1115 for if not needed in the first call) I called the number and don't have to come in before 1330 (I will call at 1115 to see if I am needed).

We were told that most trials start Mon-Wed (or this holiday shorten week Tue-Wed).  The most trials start on Monday,  so the most people are called in then.  So if we were not selected on either day we probably would not have to come in the last 2 days.

This is my second jury duty, I was selected for a short trial the last time.

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