Monday, October 24, 2011

Jury Duty

Today I reported for jury duty for the county of Lehigh, PA. 

There is a specific parking garage in Allentown that is for juror parking.  Any other garage parking will not be validated.  So after driving around the block :(  I found the garage.  Parked.  Unfortunately I didn't know exactly where the courthouse is.  So I walked the wrong way for a block until I figured out I was going the wrong direction. (Idiot!)

Finally, I get to the courthouse and stand in line - so I can go through the sheriff's metal detector and bag screener.  Not one person made it through without a beep.  Everyone was wanded.  Gee - how long had wanded been a word in use?  And move to the next line - the sign in.  Actually this line is quick and uneventful.  I fill out the required paperwork so I can get paid ($9.00 a day) and find a seat. 

There are TVs tuned to CNN and we watch reports of the earthquake in Turkey.  I pull out my puzzle book and start working on sudoku.  TVs go off and they talk to us about juror rules.  We see a video telling us why being a juror is important.  We get a 10 minute break.

We come back and are each called by name, assigned a number, given a seat and a questionnaire.  It takes about 15 minutes to fill out the questionnaire.  Questions like: Are you more likely to believe testimony by a police officer because of their job? Are you less likely to believe testimony by a police officer because of their job? Yadda yadda yadda.  Remember where you are sitting because your number relates to your seat location.  Now a 30 minute break.

We come back and our host says "Do you want the good news or the bad news?" When nobody answers she says, "Well, the bad news is the cases you were called here to juror are settled.  The good news is, you can go home.  We thank you for your service"

Ta da!  As I was walking back to my car, i overheard a man saying into his phone "I had to cancel all my patients today and was wondering whether you want to play golf?"  He hangs up and I ask him what kind of doctor he is.  "Anesthesiologist.  I had to cancel 35 patients today." So I wonder just how disruptive this service is.  I got my jury duty notice at least two months ago.  Well, maybe they schedule that far out so even if he schedules it right away, he may need to reschedule lots of folks.  It is good to know that the jury pool is made up of a good cross-section of people - in the event I ever need a jury. 

A part of me is disappointed.  I have reported for jury duty twice now.  The first time I wasn't chosen and this time we were all dismissed.  Two other times, I called and they didn't want my jury pool to report.  There is a part of me that is very curious what it would be like to actually serve and decide a case.  Is it like Twelve Angry Men or more like The Runaway JuryFew cases are as explosive as the OJ trial or the Casey Anthony trial, and I'm sure none of those jurors were glad to be part of that group. There are a lot of cases much smaller and not noteworthy that are only important to the victim and the accused.  That is where I would like to be.  Juror on a small case. 

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