Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jury Duty

"Twelve Angry Men," a non true-to-life jury story from 1957
I've been out of touch for several days because I am being held at the courthouse on a civic obligation.   Jury duty.

Getting summoned for jury duty is no big deal.  I personally have been called many, many times.  Usually I spend a day or two sitting around waiting and not being called for a jury pool.  I compare the experience to high school detention -- not that I spent a single minute in detention in my entire high school career.

This time, my number came up.

One hour after I reported for detention Monday, I was sent with 64 of my new friends to be considered for an eight-member civil jury.  (Two will be bumped off as alternates but only after sitting through the entire testimony.)  We were queried about our legal histories, our favorite television shows and whether we had bumper stickers on our cars. Important stuff.

We sat in the jury room -- no reading, no texting, just sitting -- as many people were examined and most dismissed.  To my surprise, my name came up and I found myself seated in the jury box near the end of the daylong process. 

Our jury spent the last three days listening to testimony and not listening to dozens of sidebar conferences involving the two attorneys and the judge.  It is an unusually enervating experience that will take up some part of the coming week. 

As I was considering the situation on the way home today, I recalled a sentence that one my two smart sisters formulated and put to regular use in elementary school book reports:  "This was a good book but boring in places."

With inverse construction and a little emphasis, I have tailored this sentiment to describe my experience this week: "Being a juror is very boring but good in places."

The good part is the other jurors, who are pleasant and interesting.  We have formed a little band.  When the one sitting next to me started snoring softly the other day, I gave light tap to the shoulder to waken her.  I am sure she stands ready to return the favor next week.

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