Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#063 In which our hero does jury duty (pt. I).

Jeez, been awhile since I've updated. Here's the thing: I almost always update at work, since when I'm at home it's far too easy to be distracted by television or Starcraft or my daughter (um, maybe not in the order. But then again, maybe so).

Anyway, we've been really busy at work lately, which is a good thing in a "whew! the agency won't go bankrupt" way, but totally sucks in a "man, I hardly have time to waste time surfing the Web!" way.

Anyway, the bulk of the rush seems to be over, for the moment at least. So, back to wasting my employers time.

Recently I read a nice blog article about jury duty (posted by Defective Yeti Mathew Baldwin. He's much more eloquent than me, and must have been taking notes. Read his entire experience here. It's worth it, and may make my ramblings seem more coherent).

So this got me thinking about the first and only time I've ever served on jury duty. It was both one of the most horrible and hilarious things I've ever done.

Now, this was probably six or seven years ago, and some of the details are sure to be fuzzy. I was living in Columbus at the time (which is the state capital, of course; i.e., lots of courts) and was a registered voter, so it was inevitable, I guess.


Got my summons in the mail. It funny how once you tell co-workers that you've been selected for jury duty that they immediately start telling you ways to get out of it. The truth was that I didn't want to get out of it... not for any "by God I've been chosen to sit in judgement of my fellow man and I shall answer the nation's call" reason, but because I had never done it before and was curious of the process. Plus, I wasn't enjoying my job at the time, and it was basically a two-week pass.

Now, I found myself extremely nervous about the whole experience. I've had some run-ins with the law in the past, and maybe I'm still a little gun-shy. Also, you're surrounded by cops and judges, and it really seemed like if you wondered down the wrong hallway or opened the wrong door you could be thrown into jail. Doesn't that happen all the time on TV? I could just see myself accidentally opening the stall door on a judge and being thrown into the pokey for contempt of court or judicial interruptious or something.

Now, I wouldn't necessarily advise someone to try to get out of jury duty... but if I did, it would be for this one reason: it's boring.

I guess I just don't really understand how the court system works, but it seems like it should work better than it does. Apparently, there's no correlation between the number of cases on the docket and the number of people they summon for jury duty. You and all the other potential jurors are herded into a holding room, waiting to be called for a case. I assume that some people are never called (or called and rejected) and spend all of their two weeks sitting in the jury room, collecting their $12 of free money daily. But for the first two days I was packed into a room that was far too small for the number of people it had to hold. There was one TV (which seemed to be always tuned to soap operas, which interested me not at all) and a couple dozen dated magazines. I wisely brought a book to read... but after reading for five hours straight, you just want something else to do. But there is nothing else to do... you can't leave the room, you need to be there to immediately respond to the call to be on a jury.

Finally, on day three I, and about 20 others, were called up. It's funny, for something that most people hate and want to avoid, once you're there it's like winning the lottery to be called. I found myself sitting there thinking, "please, call me this time. Please, please, please..." Had I known what I was in for, I might not have been so anxious.

Continued in Part II.


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