Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Joys of Jury Duty

Many of you might remember my own foray into jury duty awhile back. It was boring but I managed to fill the endless hours with books, conversation and a stint on one civil case. A week of my life gone.

Now it's Zilla's turn. And I have to admit that I've been laughing behind my hand the whole time. Zilla is not the type of man who sits still. He is in constant motion and if he isn't in motion he's not happy. Idle hours irritate the hell out of him. Therefore, he has not been a happy camper. The first day he sat in the jury lounge until 4PM...doing nothing. The second day he sat there until 1:45...doing nothing. The fact that they've kept him hanging around twiddling his thumbs while he could have been doing something is driving him INSANE. Soooo funny.

I warned him. I told him to bring copious amounts of things to occupy himself with. I suggested snacks and juice boxes. He countered with a six pack and a pillow. I promised him the security guards would at least confiscate the beer on his way in. I think he settled for his phone and a book. Yeah, that's gonna hold him for an entire week.
As I'm writing this, he has several days to go. I'm taking bets on when he blows his top...and whether it results in a trip to criminal court of his own. I'm honestly not sure who I'm rooting for. Zilla all spun up is kinda fun to watch. It doesn't happen often and as long as you're not the object of his derision...

Zilla has promised me that if he ever receives another summons to appear for jury duty he will do whatever it takes to get out of it, including breaking bones. The thing is, I know he means it.

Have you ever had jury duty? Did their inefficiency drive you insane? Did you enjoy the process?

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Jane said...

I don't enjoy jury duty, but they always know where to find me. I wasn't picked to serve on a jury and was released after two days.

CC MacKenzie said...

Never, ever, been picked - thank goodness.

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Linda Winstead Jones said...

I've been on jury duty once, and ended up on a murder trial. It was interesting and sad, and infinitely better than sitting in a room waiting all week. There has to be a better way . . .


Maven Linda said...

I, on the other hand, enjoyed jury duty because, hey, it was something I'd never done before and I enjoyed seeing how it all worked. Had a book to keep me occupied, of course, but talking with others in the jury pool was interesting.

I got picked for a jury -- nothing special, a drunk driving charge, the latest one in a string of many for this dude, and he was doing time for this one.

I look at jury duty the same way I look at voting: it's both a duty and a privilege.

Alicia Hunter Pace (aka Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones) said...

I really didn't want to go when I got the call. It was Federal court in Birmingham. But once I got there, I wanted to get picked, i.e. win. I did not last the first round of questions. I've not been called again.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

I was summoned for jury duty once when I was out of state at college. My mom told them that, but they didn't get the message. Wasn't too long after that when a friend who was a cop ran my plates as a joke and found out there was a warrant for my arrest. Cleared that up REAL quick.

*knock wood* Have not received a summons since. My luck I'd get the trial of the century. My work only pays me for 2 weeks, max.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Poor Zilla. I can picture him getting wound up. I was called once in New York state -- but I was living in Germany. Kind of impossible, yes? Because of my hubby, I was a NY resident for many years though I never lived there. Obviously, I got out of going. :)

But I think I would find it fascinating. As a writer, everything fascinates me. I always want to know how things work, and what people's jobs are like. I'd take my Kindle, and my phone, and maybe my laptop if they'd let me.

And I'd ask questions and make up plots, probably. :) I'd be pretty irked if I got called and had a looming deadline, but otherwise I think it'd be fascinating.

Unknown said...

Never been picked for jury duty. My sister has and she wasn't picked to serve on a jury.

Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

Well, it's day 4 in the jury saga and he's been struck from one jury and has to report again this morning. We'll see. It'll be his luck that he'll get put on a Jury on Friday and they'll hold the case over till next week.

I have to admit, that this is really messing with my schedule as well. Our whole week has been shot to hell. We've eaten home once so far...


Playground Monitor said...

I've never been called for jury duty. I'd like to give it a try to see how the system works and do my civic duty. There'd definitely be a book or two in my tote bag, and maybe my Alpha Smart if they'd let me take it in. And my iPod and snacks. Hmmm, sounds like I might need a small overnight bag of things to keep me occupied.

Problem Child said...

I've done two stints -- once in B'ham's criminal court system and once in the Fed courthouse up here.

It's the boredom and the snail's pace that kills me. Oh, and we weren't allowed snacks in the holding pen. The chairs were cheap and uncomfortable, and I felt like I was in detention, being punished.

I know it's very important, but you'd think because it is so important, they'd come up with a way to make it less miserable for the jury. (I wouldn't want a grumpy jury deciding my fate!)

Unknown said...

I have been on jury duty several times and I hate it! I have never been picked to serve on a jury, but almost! They went through the whole court room trying to find people to serve and no one wanted to because the case involved a child. My husband has neverd been called for jury duty.

Cheryl said...

I got called to jury duty and was very excited. Being an attorney I had always wondered what went on in the jury room. Now I was going to get to see the mystical workings in the enclave. But I got struck every time (who wants a lawyer on their jury - no one) so I never got to sit on a case. Like Maven Linda said, it's a privilege that none of us should ever take for granted.

catslady said...

More than 20 years ago I got out of it because I had a new baby and another small child and no one to watch them. I'm not sure they would care today. Knock on wood - but I haven't been called back since. (My husband has done it twice lol). Truly I wouldn't mind - it would give me an excuse to read. My problem is transportation - I won't drive our parkway and the bus system where I live is horrible.

Anonymous said...

I must be the odd person out, not only did I enjoy jury duty, I've been 3 or 4 times. I just take books and magazines to keep me occupied.
ps and like Maven Linda, the whole process is amazing and last time the judge was wonderful, allowing us to ask questions and explaining everything so that we completely understood.

Katherine Bone said...

I've been called to jury duty twice. Both times I was out of state, Texas, either overseas or in New Jersey with small kids and a hubby who traveled with the Army all the time.

It is a privilage to serve. Where would we be if no one did. However, I know I'd get kicked off right away. I'm too opinionated. :(

gigi said...

I have on been called for jury duty once about a year ago.
You aren't allowed phones on or food the day I went in for jury selection. They filled the jury before they got to me. Thank goodness.

Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

Well, Zilla was released today. Never got on a jury. The court was actually behind from 2 days of being closed for weather which didn't help. They admitted they probably should have told them all not to come in until the middle of the week. But you just never know. That's part of the're there for the judge and the court.

I enjoyed the process. But then, I have a paralegal degree that I don't use and have always been interested by the workings of our judicial system. I also know how to sit still and fill a few hours of inactivity. :-) Zilla, on the other hand, literally can not sit still. He's constantly in motion...or he's asleep.


Michele L. said...

Oh boy, the joy of jury duty! I have been selected 3 times over the last 5 years. Yes, I have been that lucky. :-( The last one was just last year and lasted a whole week. The only good part was getting paid for my time and my travel expenses. Also, the last day they fed us supper.

My husband just got summoned a month ago. We are still waiting to hear back.

As a reply to "Anonymous" below, I have never heard of a judge letting the jury ask questions. I have sat through 3 hearings now in 3 different court rooms and the judge was pretty strict.

At my last jury duty in fact, one of the guys that was being questioned by the lawyers when the jury selection was taking place, got smart with them and they very upset. He was kicked out and the next person in line replaced him.

Also, one time at one of the hearings the judge fell asleep! We were snickering in the jury box because he had a full head of curls, like a fro, and his hair was wiggling along with his little snorts of snoring. It can get pretty boring at times.