February 15th, 2006

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Jury Duty

Today, I report for jury duty. I called the phone number last night and they said that people that were supposed to report to High Point are excused, but those of us going to Greensboro still need to report.

I've got my iPod, a copy of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, and my phone (so that I can check in with work from time to time). I wonder if I'll have to leave my phone in the car -- drjekyll reminded me that a lot of courthouses don't take too kindly to cell phones, especially those that have cameras. We'll see what happens. I'm leaving my pocketknife and all my change on the night stand, in order to make it easier to get through the metal detector at the courthouse. It probably won't matter -- I tend to set off metal detectors simply by looking at them.

It should prove to be an interesting day.
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Jury Service

Well, that makes twice I've been summoned to for jury service and twice I've been dismissed without even seeing the inside of a courtroom.

Apparently, they convinced the defendant to enter some sort of plea, sparing the need for a jury trial. This happened a little after 12:30. That's very similar to what happened last time, but it happened much sooner last time. I'm disappointed that I haven't experienced more of the whole process. It will be another two years before I'm eligible to serve again.

On the plus side, I got caught up listening to all my podcasts and I read about a quarter of the novel I brought with me.

On the minus side, I was extremely disappointed with the overwhelming sense of disdain most of the people in the juror room had. About half of the people there, like myself, just kept to themselves and minded their own business. Of the rest, most of them were making comments to whoever would listen about what a hardship it was for them to show up. One woman was asking someone else if she'd still get paid at work. The man she was talking to told her that it's up to the employer, and that they don't have to pay her. (Let's just ignore the fact that the questions should have been directed at her employer, not at some other random potential juror.) He said that more and more, most employers are not paying when their employees go for jury service. Then he started complaining about how he's essentially self-employeed and that by showing up today, he was losing a lot of money. The two were starting to form a bond of indignation when the woman looked at me and said that jury service "isn't fair -- it's depriving [her] of [her] ability to make a livelihood." She was looking to me to offer some sort of confirmation that her rights were being trampled upon by the State. I told her to tell it to the judge and maybe she'd be able to go back to work. At the end of our service, I noticed that same woman talking on the phone, with what appeared to be her job. She was telling the person on the other end of the phone that they were letting us break for lunch now. Yeah, it was lunchtime, but they were dismissing us, not letting us break. It sounds like she's planning on taking the rest of the day off. I guess the State depriving her of the ability to make a livelihood wasn't as oppressive as it was a few hours earlier.

Back on the plus side, there were a few people who were there and obviously indicated that they viewed the whole process as an opportunity to serve, instead of as a chore. That's how I viewed it, too, I just didn't try to convince other people that they should feel the same.

Anyway, I've got a lot to do at the office, so I'm going to head on in to work and make the most of my afternoon. With any luck, I'll be able to take a day or two off sometime around this weekend.