Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jury Duty

You may have noticed I was scarce last week (or maybe not but why don't we let my ego live with the fantasy that you did?). This is because I was closeted away in a dadgum freezing jury room doing my civic duty. Joy of joys.

I want to go on record as saying my college professor lied. You see, I have a paralegal degree. One that's...um...9 or 10 years old (I can't remember which at the moment). I'm not using it. There isn't much call for it as an office manager for a small business (or as a mother unless I need to write up a contract between the girls for television usage). However, I distinctly remember in one of my legal writing classes being told that having this degree would get me booted off any and all juries. I'd be struck immediately. Yeah right.

As if that shouldn't have been enough, I also worked for a criminal defense attorney for about a year and a half. Surely to goodness any prosecutor would bounce my butt pronto. And that might have been true if we were hearing criminal cases. Noooo, I had to pull civil jury duty.

I lost 4 days of my life, sat on one jury and was struck from two others. The case I did sit on was a complete waste of everyone's time - including the court's. I now understand why our justice system is backed up. After a day and a half of testimony (quite a bit of it repetitive) the jury had a verdict within 5 minutes. I'm not kidding. We stayed in the jury room for 30 because we felt bad.

The second case I didn't get sat for was dismissed after 20 minutes. couldn't they have done that before calling us in for the day?

At least I didn't get picked for the grand jury, which they also sat out of our pool. That piece of fun can last up to four weeks from what I understand. You don't even have a chance to talk your way out of that. They pull 18 people randomly from a stack of cards and walla - you're it.

There is one silver lining to the experience - I spent those four days reading. Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard is fantastic! Thank God for books.

Instigator

8 comments:

Jen said...

Ah, Instigator, the only fun part sounds like the reading and probably that wasn't the reading spot of choice.

Playground Monitor said...

I'll probably jinx myself, but I've never been called for jury duty. But from what I've heard others say, including the DH whose been called several times, 95% of the cases are a waste of taxpayer money. I figure with my luck, when I DO get called, it'll be on a capital murder case where the jury is sequestered.

Welcome back!

PM

Problem Child said...

I'll trade rewriting the bylaws for jury duty....

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I've never had jury duty. But I did have to go to court once to testify in a domestic violence case (neighbors). And because the couple had gotten back together, she dropped the charges. Yet, my hubby and I still had to take time off from work, go to the courthouse, and sit there until their case came up. At which point the judge said it was dismissed. ARGH!

Kathy said...

When I've been called for jury duty, it was for a Texas court when I lived overseas or in another state. I had good excuses why I couldn't show. LOL. Now that DH is retired, I could be called at any time.

I always heard you can tell them you're against certain things and that will get you off. Haven't learned from experience yet.

Glad you ordeal is over at last, Instigator! Welcome back!

Nini said...

I've been called for jury duty 4 times and have served 4 times. I was a legal secretary working for a judge the first time. Go figure. She was a judge in family court, think Judging Amy. My jury duty was for a criminal case.

The others i can't really remember. I haven't been called while in Maryland, thank goodness, but hey, i don't mind doing my duty. I get lots of reading done and now i can do my writing. It may be the only time it's quiet.

Nini :)

Angel said...

Even though it is a pain to interrupt your life for what feels like nothing, at least you got lots of reading in. :)

I went to Tate Farms today with Little Man's preschool class. We hunted pumpkins in the rain.

Angel

catslady said...

Knocking on wood here but I haven't served although I was called twice over 20 years ago. At the time I had two very young children and no one to help and that was good enough. I have heard they've gotten a lot stricter. I have no problem serving but the transportation part would be a hardship but I doubt if they'd care lol. Everyone else has been called in my family and my husband lost days of work and then they settled before it came to trial (which they expected). Then they called my 84 year old mom but luckily she got off - there really should be a cut off time.