Monday, August 13, 2012

Jury Duty, or Who Has the Best Excuse?

Several people at my office have had to do jury duty {one even served on a case} recently and it got me thinking, what would it be like if I got selected. Well, my wish came true and I was selected!

King County Courthouse
My summons came in the mail about 3 weeks before our Italy trip with my first day scheduled to serve on 7/5 {we left on 7/4}. Luckily, I was able to reschedule it until after I got back. Whew!  The partner at work recommended that I do it as soon as possible, so I scheduled it for the 2nd week of August.

King County requires a 2-day minimum commitment.  You basically have to sit in a big room and.... wait. Your name will randomly get put on a list.  Then, a woman will call your name and you have to go up to whatever judge they assign you. My understanding is that if you get excused from that pool you have to come back down to the main jury room until you get assigned to another case.  That didn't happen to me - I just stayed with the same judge for the entire two days.  

For the record, I was juror #6. I even sat in the jury box right up until the end. But, the whole process was fascinating and I would like to serve on a case someday.  The judge tells you a little bit about what the case will be about - who the players all, what the timeline is {in my case 3.5-4 weeks, ouch}, etc. People had all kinds of reasons why they couldn't serve on a case that long, one guy said he had insomnia so he couldn't be 100% sure that he wouldn't doze if he didn't sleep well the night before. He got excused. One guy was the sole provider for his family with 2 kids and he was 100% commission based. He got excused. One lady was so annoying and opinionated that they let her go. She said she couldn't trust lawyers, doctors or insurance companies {all were involved in the case}. One lady was 82 and she was sure that she was too old to be spending 3 weeks of her life in a courtroom.  She got excused.  I wasn't let go for cause - I was the first peremptory challenge {which means the lawyers don't have to give a reason}, but I think it's because I am currently insured with the insurance company that was the defendant.

I took a criminal justice class in college and was always kind of fascinated by the justice system and how it all works together.  Overall, it was a positive experience and I would like to see the whole process from start to finish someday.

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