Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Not To Be A Juror

The key to not being selected for a jury? Actually want to be selected as a juror.

This morning I headed to court, not as a lawyer but as a prospective juror. I was looking somewhat forward to the prospect of being on a jury. I want to know what happens in the jury room during deliberations when people stop being polite and start getting real. I checked in, found a seat and watched the goofy video about the trial process. Okay, I didn't really watch it; I read my book instead. As luck would have it, my panel was sent up to a courtroom as soon as the video was over. My luck persisted in that the case was a civil one and did not involve any lawyers or court staff that I already know. My local courthouse is not in the same town where I make most of my own court appearances, but I still know a few people at the local outpost.

As the judge gave us a brief overview of the claims being made and some of the areas of inquiry, I couldn't help but think I'd be a perfect juror for this case (assuming the lawyers could get past having another lawyer as a juror). Some exposure to injury claims arising out of accidents? Check. Ability to listen to expert witnesses? Check. Familiarity with economics and financial projections? Check and check. Willingness and ability to serve on a jury for three weeks without causing personal hardship? Check. This case was so meant to be mine for consideration.

Except that I didn't get randomly called into the box or as part of the six-pack. Instead I was sentenced to sit in the audience and listen to almost two dozen people drone on about their lives. Apart from the one freakshow who started spouting off on the evils of psychiatric medications a'la Tom Cruise, it was very dull. Painfully boring. A g o n i z i n g l y s l o w. It began to dawn on me that the suckiest part about being a potential juror is waiting in the audience and then not being selected. After four hours of this torture, not only was I finally set free but I also earned my freedom from jury duty for one year. It's a double-edged sword for me. On the one hand at least I don't have to endure another day of this for a while. But on the other hand, I still want to know what really goes down during deliberations.


WeezerMonkey said...

Now that I don't have billable hours, I don't think I'd mind being a juror.

But, when I did have billable hours, I did everything I could not to serve.

NorCalMrs said...

I was on a case in MN that was pretty high profile. I actually enjoyed it, minus being escorted every where by a sheriff. You know who I felt bad for....the juror that sat through our 2 week trial and then was told he was the alternate and since everyone else lasted the entire time, his service wouldn't be needed anymore and he was free to go. So sucky!

Bummer you had to sit there and listen to the boring crap about everyone's lives for no reason. :(

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

I went through the same scenario recently except for a criminal case. Part of me really, really wanted to be selected, but the other part knew my life would be hell if I had to miss 2 weeks of work.