Monday, January 29, 2007

Jury Duty

It's official, I have the jury duty. On the grand jury. All you Law & Order watchers will know that the grand jury decides if an indictment is warranted. No decisions about guilt or innocence, just whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial. I won't be able to give any details as I have been sworn to secrecy but I probably will be ranting about my frustration with people and the process. The paneling was tiresome enough. People kept asking silly questions that were merely a variation on the question asked just before. There are three morning panels and one afternoon. Each has 23 people. I am curious to see how that will work. Do we all hear each case? It seems like a lot of people. We all know how hard it is to get just a handful to agree on anything. Even simple things like, where should we eat? Fortunately each session is only 3 hours. This will not eliminate silly behavior but it will limit how much we have to take in one day. My retail trained radar went off a couple of times as my panel was filled but hopefully most of the group will be reasonable adults. I also hope this experience will be more interesting and less mind-numbing than my last service which was a civil trial about plastic surgery. I can only presume that court reporters stop listening to actual speech and focus on just getting each word in. Otherwise they would go stark staring mad early on in their careers. I have no idea how judges stand it. They must have the frequent urge to beat people with their gavels. Maybe you get some special training when you become a judge that enables you to tolerate endless repetition and frequent loss of common sense. Maybe that's what law school is really for.

2 comments:

karen said...

I've never been picked for a jury. I have spent a few days in dreary rooms awaiting the call to serve but, other than my getting a little older, nothing happened. Your description only confirms my suspicion that losing a bit of my life was preferable to actually getting into the courtroom...

Kicking N. Screaming said...

Actually I had a very good experience serving on a jury (not a grand jury...I never understood why they called it "grand" when it's actually smaller.) Anyway, it was a good case with smart lawyers, interesting and likable fellow jurors and a judge who cared a lot about making the jury feel appreciated. He explained what was going on very well. He did, however, inform us in a resigned tone that "there is no justice".