Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jury Duty

So, I got the jury summons in the mail over a month ago and instead of trying to get out of it like I have before (nursing, stay at home mom, etc, etc) I decided to go ahead and play the odds. I thought to myself, "A lot of these juries never even get called in. The odds that I'll have to go in are slim." Well, apprarently I should never go to Vegas.
I called yesterday after 4:30 as per the instructions, to find out that I would have to call in again today at 11:00. This seemed a bit crazy to me. I couldn't really plan anything for the day given that I didn't know if I'd have to be in downtown Phoenix for half the day. Well, when I called in, I found out I would have to report to the court at 1:00!!! I frantically called Derek and he had to rush home, so that I, in turn, could rush out to the court.
I do have to say that I would describe the screening process as part speed dating and part Alcoholics Anonymous meeting--at least that's my imagined take given I've never participated in either activity. The judge summoned all 45 of us to his court and he asked several broad questions to us and if the question was true for us, we had to raise our juror number. I was lucky #37 by the way--way back in the pack.
Questions like:
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or criminal offense or are you closely related to someone who has been?
My first thought was no and then I immediately remembered that someone I'm very closely related to has spent time in jail. I'll leave you all in suspense wondering who and what they did. Although we weren't allowed to leave the judge in suspense because we had to confess the person's relationship to us as well as their convicted crime. Out of our group of 45 I would say 15 people had either been convicted themselves or were closely related to someone who had a DUI. YIKES!!! That was shocking to me.
He also asked us if any of us had ever done meth or knew someone who had. About a third of our group said they knew someone who had.
He followed that up by asking if we knew someone who was addicted to meth--about the same number replied in the affirmative again!
After asking the entire group the random questions, we then had to go through and stand up and state our juror number and what we did for a living and how long we had been doing that job and what our spouse did and the name of their company and how long they had worked there and the ages of our kids that were under 18 years of age.
This was my favorite part because I love to learn about people and I found myself being able to actually remember a lot of the juror numbers and associate professions or stories with their numbers.
For example--juror number 9 had a son who had been in drug rehab last year from April thru October. I also remember his occupation and that he is single with only one child.
Juror number two and I spoke before going in and she had been selected for jury duty previously and was not picked and was a little disappointed that she hadn't made the cut. (The judge told us not to take it personally).
Juror 44 had worked for the postal service for 25 years and had been the president of one of its union organizations.
Juror 45 worked for Lockheed Martin (sp?) and had sat as a juror for two previous juries which were both criminal trials.
Juror 36 had four teenagers ages 16, 15, 15 and 15. Not triplets, but twins and a child from her husband's previous marriage.
I actually knew juror number 28 from meeting her at a party at Christmas. We were the only two jurists who knew each other.
Juror 38 worked for Schwann's and had a friend who was a cop who lied in his grand jury testimony.
Juror 25 had a conviction for drug possession from 20 years ago. She also was a single mother with two children.
Juror 40 was a forensic architect which I thought sounded like the coolest profession of any of us in the room.
Juror 4 had sat on a jury 20 years ago where he was certain that a guilty guy went unpunished and he said he was not certain he could be impartial.
Juror 5 had dated a cop and a guy who claimed he was a secret agent--we all laughed at that. Even the judge jokingly asked her, "And I suppose he worked for the CIA?"
Juror 11 had had to testify in a trial against her own son.
There are other details I remember about the other jurists, but I don't remember their numbers.
So, I ended up not being summoned for duty, but I did think the whole process was fascinating. Long, and very uncomfortable given that I saw sitting on a hard, wooden pew almost the whole time, but still fascinating.


rachel said...

The (Jim Carrey) Grinch came to your post office this time of year? I love people watching and hearing their stories, I bet that was fascinating. How funny for you to be running off to court eh? I want to go and observe one of the trials one of these days. It sounds interesting yet depressing all at once.

Jacqueline said...

Fascinating as I will never be called for Jury service. Actually I was called and had to send in my green card as proof i could not sit. They said they would allow my permanent exemption. Well since it would be against the law for me to sit they had no choice.

Steph Bowen said...

I was actually selected to sit on a jury after the initial screening process. One of the luck 14 (including alternates). The whole thing freaked me out that I had to call the judge and in front of everyone tell them why I couldn't mentally handle serving on the jury. Nice experience. I don't want to ever do it again.

Glad you didn't get picked.

wackywilsons said...

Well, if being a stay at home mom requires more could totally do some sort of memorization career...very impressive!

JenW said...

that does sound really cool..i've been called to jury duty twice, but always right after i have a right after...days after, so i can never go...i think i would like to if i ever can make it!

peachytiffers said...

Wow girl, you have a good memory! I remember your fascination from the first time we really talked. It was through email and you wanted to know more about my life and schedule. Little did I know, you were sizing me up for a calling. :) You said you were interested in how everyone lives there lives differently and we never really know everyone's schedules. That whole experience sounds pretty interesting.