Civic Duty

I think I need to bite back my bitter words about being called for jury duty. I have to give it to the jury commissioner; they really have the process down pat. There was very little waiting and it really did move along pretty quickly. And I ended up sitting next to a really nice woman. She has four boys and homeschools, so we got to have a really lovely conversation about raising boys and the trials and joys of homeschooling. I was almost sorry to hear my name called I was enjoying our conversation so much.

But called I was, so I filed into line and followed the clerk to the jury waiting room before being led into the courtroom to face the lawyers and their open ended questions. There was an interesting group with me including two older men who chatted like old hens throughout the entire jury selection process and one gentleman who could not keep his eyes open and was thusly let go. I was shocked when I was not dismissed and was in fact placed on the jury to hear the trial starting after lunch. And I was excited.

Within the first 20 minutes of testimony I finally understood why all of my trial lawyer friends complain about the tediousness of actual trial procedure. I finally understood why trials can take so long. And I finally understood why there is so much animosity between defense lawyers and prosecutors. They were not all that nice to each other.

We had finally gotten through the first witness and on her way out she stopped at the prosecutor’s table (which was right in front of the jury box) to complain about her injury. The minute I heard her do it I knew the trial was done. The counselors immediately converged on the bench in heated whispers. The judge declared a mistrial about two minutes later and my time as a juror was over.

I was truly disappointed to have it end this way. I wanted to see the thing through. I wanted to hear all the evidence. I wanted to help bring conclusion to all parties. It is my civic duty after all.

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