Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Long Day in the Life of a Juror

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 at 9:21 AM

I was at court from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. one day this week.

Jury duty is not conducive to the self-employed or sole proprietors. I have clients coast to coast (Web copywriting), and when I don't work, I don't get paid. The courts will pay me a whopping $12 for my civic duty.

I was chosen for a one-day case for DUI. (I was not able to get excused.)

What I thought was interesting is that they called a group of 20, and of those 20 people, more than 10 people had some past experience with DUI--either they had a spouse, friend or family member who was cited for DUI. Two people said a family member died as the result of DUI accidents, and one person said a family member killed someone during a DUI and was in prison.

Two people didn’t drink for personal reasons (they were not chosen).

They chose six of us.

I think I remained by process of elimination. They asked if we have bumper stickers on our cars, and what they say. I was the only one who copped to that: My bumper stickers are "Greyhound Racing Kills" and "Impeach Bush." The judge turned beet red, and some people snickered. I thought for sure this brashness would get me booted, but no, it did not.

Another thing that I found interesting is that after the witnesses were examined, and there were no more questions by the attorneys, the jury members could write down questions, and the judge and lawyers would determine whether or not to ask them. All of my questions were read aloud.  I had numerous questions for three of the four witnesses.

They put the defendant on the stand, and everyone in the jury room felt he was a weak link.

We didn’t go into the jury room until 4:30. By then, my blood sugar was hitting bottom. The defense attorney was a real sharp cookie, and the state  prosecutor was dull as dirt. Still, we found him guilty of two counts.

I didn't stick around to talk to the lawyer, because I was tired, but I wondered why they didn't mention the results of his breathalyzer; that came up early and was not mentioned again, and even though another juror asked that question, it never was addressed.

I was gone for 11 hours including transport. I didn't even make $1 per hour, because I had to pay $2 for parking.

They're bringing the checkpoints back--they are a stickler for walking that straight line, heel and toe in 18 steps. Do not deviate!

Here's something I have to start practicing. Even sober, I would fail this test of raising my leg at least 6 inches off the ground and keeping it straight and counting 1001, 1002, 1003, etc.--my balance sucks. I'm going to practice that at the gym, away from the balance bar ...

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