Today I had to go in for Jury Duty. I was grumpy about it for no particular reason. I’m an hourly employee and my work will pay for any time that overlaps (which with my weird hours was going to be a potential hassle) and I just didn’t feel like going. I know, I’m a terrible citizen. And it’s funny because I generally think the judicial system and the legal process is very interesting. I did Mock Trial in high school (and won a prize for it, thank you very much!) and am passably versed in the whole thing.
But at 8:00 in the morning, I dragged my butt into the Multnomah County Courthouse to sit around with about a hundred of my fellow citizens ready to do my part for the judicial system. I must give Multnomah County props, because they have a pretty nice room for everyone to wait in and they do a good job of keeping everyone informed of the process. The judge oriented us to how juries are selected and was the first to tell us that it wasn’t personal if we didn’t get selected (he was the first of many people to tell us this, apparently more than a few people take not being selected as a personal affront – which I find hilarious given how most people feel about jury duty generally… )
I sat around for a few hours reading my book before getting called for a potential case. We had to answer a series of questions about ourselves that were written on a whiteboard and then the lawyers asked more specific follow-up questions. It was a very different process than the last time I’d been called back in the Bay Area, but that was for a murder trial that was anticipated to last at least three months and this was a one-day “harassment” and destruction of property case, so the stakes were a little lower. They only took six out of the fifteen of us and I wasn’t one of them. I was totally hurt, I mean why didn’t they want me? (kidding!)
The weirdest part was the fact that the defendant was in the room during the whole selection process and then again during our break while the lawyers and the judge were deliberating. I kept wondering what he thought of our responses to some of the questions and the type of conversation during the break. There’s such a wide range of people that are called for jury duty. I wonder if that’s a comfort or a concern when you’re on the other side.
After about fifteen minutes of being back in the waiting room, they announced that they had filled all of the juries that they were going to need for the day and we were free to go, which was pretty sweet. I had time to eat some lunch, go to the gym for some weight training and 30 minutes of elliptical (I was supposed to run, but just didn’t have the inclination – I’ll make up for it tomorrow.) And then it was off to work for a second late shift tonight to cover for someone on vacation.
Just another exciting day in my life…