Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Day in Court!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a juror venire! I was to appear in the local district court for the jury selection process. It was to take 2 to 3 hours of my time.

Today was the day I was to appear in court!

I get there at the stated 1pm time. I sign in and receive $15. Having never done this before, I thought to myself, why the $15??!! I knew that being a juror you got paid but I wasn't a juror yet! I went into the courtroom and sat down among about 45 other people.

I sat there for about 10 minutes before the deputy clerk started to instruct us on what would be happening for the afternoon. Basically, our names had gone into a box and they would be randomly picked...basically pulling a name out of the hat type thing! She also told us that there was going to be 3 cases and each case would need 6 jurors and 2 alternates. I thought to myself that with 3 cases there was going to be no way I was going to be excused from actually serving. Well just before the judge came in, the clerk informed us that there was only going to be one case that needed a jury. This was pleasant news to hear. Now my odds of getting chosen were a little slimmer. It also meant that instead of almost 3 hours in the courtroom with no drinks or bathroom breaks it would be just an hour!

So the jury selection begins, the first eight are in the jury box. After the first round of questions, two are immediately dismissed. So two more names were drawn, they were seated. Immediately, one is dismissed because of her history(the case being tried was a domestic assault trial). This lady was a "victim" of a domestic assault 23 years ago, hence her dismissal. So one more name was drawn and the questioning was done for that juror. After the questioning, the judge announced that the jury was chosen, and the rest of us were free to go.

It was neat to witness the process. The last time, I was in a courtroom was for high school Government class and it was just to see a trial, not to see any of the process preceeding the trial. It would have been neat too if I could have taken my 11yo and 9yo with me to see the process. About a month ago, my 11yo was studying about the judicial system. I am sure that he would have loved to see it in action rather than just reading about it. I might just have to take the judge up on his offer today and write him asking if we could come and sit in on the another juror processing or even on a trial.

That was my day/afternoon in court!


Anonymous said...

Wow! You made it sound so simple. My husband got called for jury duty for the first time... starting in June. We didn't know what to expect - and how we were going to manage without his pay. I've got to admit, I think it would be fun to just see what it is all about.


TobyBo said...

AAACCK!! 3 hours and no bathroom break? My bladder won't do that...