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.