Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Jury Duty

I got called for jury duty this week. I didn't have to report on Monday, but I did have to report yesterday. So, I get there, get my parking validated, get settled into the jury-gathering-waiting area with the hundreds of other citizens called upon that day. Pretty much as soon as I pull my book out of my purse... they call my panel number.
Now, last time I was called for jury duty I waited around almost all morning before being called into the courtroom. I got the uneasy feeling that this day wasn't boding well for me. That or the court/jury system had somehow gotten more efficient in the last three years.
After taking role, they called up the first 18 prospects. The judge explained the charges against the defendant. There were two DUI charges to which the defendant plead "not guilty."
Now, if you've ever been called for jury duty you know about the interview process. You also know that some people can go through those questions and answer them effectively and efficiently. And? You also know that there are those who start answering those questions and all of the sudden they are in therapy and start purging and purging all this unnecessary information and raising all kinds of irrelevant issues. Which only signals the therapist, er judge, to respond to each of these issues and forces him to explain the role of the juror and how the legal process works. And you know, you just know they are only bringing up all this bullshit to get themselves excused.
"Whine whine whine... blah blah blah, I don't think I could judge this person fairly, blah blah blah, I will try my best, but blah blah, whine whine..."
Ugh! Meanwhile the rest of us, well at least me, are shaking our heads, pleading for them to shut up. I couldn't help it, I got fidgety sitting there listening to some of the interviewees.
It is explained at the beginning that jurors can be excused for cause, you don't have to play it up. You can also be one of 20 peremptory challenges (10 for prosecution, 10 for defense) that are used and be excused that way.
They got through almost all of the 18 before the lunch break. And not to soon either, my stomach was making loud grumbling noises. I was getting a little embarrassed.
So, we get back from lunch, on time, as the judge and bailiff both emphasized how important for the process it was for everyone to be prompt. Well everyone was on time except for juror #10 who was a no-show. He was 20 minutes late. WTF? Seriously? We had over an hour and a half for lunch.
They finally finished up the interview process. Then the defense attorney asked some questions followed by the D.A. Then they excused three jurors for cause. Then each attorney excused 2 for their peremptory challenges. Now? The clerk called up 7 new names from the jury pool. Guess, just guess, who they called first? Yep, "number 7 Susan Castillo." I got sent right up into the top 12.
To be continued...