Friday, November 13, 2015

My First Experience with Jury Duty

In the 22 years that I have been eligible for jury duty, I have never had to go.  I have been summoned several times, but due to circumstances (mostly involving having young children), I have never had to appear.  Massachusetts finally caught up to me.  Not an excuse I can use any more, I could not get out of it.  I did put it off for a year.  But that is the most I could do.

So on November 6th, off I went.  Me and 112 other folks who had to show up that day.  It was a superior court.  We had to all sit in a room together and were assigned a number.  My number was 105.  The court officer was nice.  And funny.  He probably gets tired of giving the same speech every day, so he spiced it up.  We had to watch a video thanking us for our service and how the process would work.

We had to stay in this room and wait for the judge to decide if he was going to call jurors or not.  Good thing I brought my book because we were in that room for 2 hours.  The court officer then announced that the judge wanted all 112 jurors to be polled for this one case.


So we all crowded into a small court room and starting with #1 (remember what number I am?) they called people up to talk with the judge and two lawyers.  It was a medical malpractice case, so I felt pretty confident I wasn't going to get picked.  Plus the case was going to take about 2 weeks which I didn't have due to Mat's travel schedule.

But I had to sit and wait while they interviewed the jurors.  The guy next to me was quite entertaining.  He was #108, so he felt my pain.  They did find 14 people they liked after about polling 30 jurors (And about 1 hour later), and then the two lawyers started questioning those 14 people further.  4 of those people got dismissed.  So I figured, okay - they need to pick 4 more and we are out of here.  Nope!  They wanted to pick 12 more.

Another 20 jurors got called and 12 were picked.  Then the lawyers asked more questions and got those 12 down to 4, and then the rest of us were dismissed.  AFter 5 hours and 200 pages in my book,  we got to leave.

It wasn't so bad.  It was interesting to see how the process in the real world works.  Lawyers, judges, plantiffs etc. are all humans.  It isn't anything like it is on TV.  The lawyers questions are lame.  They are not 100% of where their are going with their questions half the time.  They seemed to be friends with each other.  They spoke kindly about the clients on both sides of the issue.  The judge was nice.  And funny.  He smiled at every juror that approached his bench.

So I am done.  I have a cute little paper that says I don't have to be called for duty again for 3 more years.  And when those three years come, you better believe I will be putting it off for a 4th.

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