Jury Duty

This past Thursday, I was called for jury duty. As is the case EVERY day, I woke up late. Not too late luckily. I showered and dressed quickly and headed out. To make sure that I was going to be on time, I jumped a cab and headed downtown. I got there 20 mins before necessary, so I stopped and grabbed a soda. I headed in, went through all the metal detection fun and headed to the jury room. Once handing in my form and getting a number, I sat down. I was in group 10. People continued to fill in until after 8:30, even though we were supposed to be there by 8. I guess I didn't need to worry that much. Right around 9, we were told there was a judge on the way to give us some instructions. He showed, talked quickly, saying there were lots of potential trials today and having so many people here could make them settle quickly. I found that to be interesting, but I guess that is very true. If you KNOW you are going to start trial that day and there are definitely jurors for it, you may decide to take a plea or something. After the judge left, we watched a movie for about 20 minutes which pretty much went over the process of being a juror. After that, they nicely gave us a 30 minute break, which I used to go grab a couple of smokes and make some calls. Shortly after the break they called the first 8 groups. Whew! Well, that didn't last long, as my group and 3 others got called about 20 mins later. As is ALWAYS the case, I ended up on a jury. It was a civil case, which to me, is better than criminal as you don't have to worry about putting someone away. The case was a girl who fell in a restaurant and was suing the restaurant for negligience (sp?). It was about 12:30 by the time the case started. The nice thing we learned early on is that this judge only sees over court from 9-1 unless the jury is deliberating. So, we heard the opening arguements and were let go for the day.

The next day, I got up on time, so I took the T down to the courthouse. I got in around 8:30. Court started promptly at 9. We heard 2 witnesses. One for each side. Besides a 20 min or so break around 11, that went til noonish. After that, the 2 lawyers gave their closing statements. This put us to about 1. Because we were deliberating, we were allowed to go past 1 (which I think everyone was happy about, as they didn't want to come back for a third day). We had some lunch delivered, so we ate sandwiches and deliberated. After a quick vote, we were close. From what some of the people on the fence said, we got a clarification from the judge. After hearing the clarification, we were decided. We found for the defendant. Afterwards, the judge came in and spoke with us for a little bit and we were released. We got out around 3. Not bad at all.

All in all, a good experience. I'm two for two now. The first time I got called, I ended up on a criminal jury. That time, I ended up being an alternate, so I didn't get to go through the deliberations that time. It's an interesting process to see at work. At least you know that the justice system somewhat works. I definitely won't say it always does. Well, at least I don't have to do this again for at least 3 years (it was 5 this time).


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This page contains a single entry by Skadz published on February 24, 2003 11:11 PM.

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