About a month ago when I received my summons to county jury duty I was concerned that I’d be missing too much work before the end of the year. Of course, I was the busiest I’ve been at work. However, I completely recognize that it’s our privilege as U.S. citizens to serve on jury duty! ‘Merica!
I chatted with my friends, family & co-workers who at one point or an other have done their part as an upstanding citizen by reporting to jury duty. Their one piece of advice: take a book. In my case, I took a book, my work laptop, an iPad, my iPhone & some magazines. I was told I’d be bored! Plus, I was hoping I could work.
Boy was I wrong!
Here are some my my takeaways from being called into three trials (one voir dire and canned, one guy plead out and one case in which we came to a verdict):
• There are some interesting outfits at the Justice Center – Think lots of velour.
• The county needs a new video to educate jurors on Day 1.
• Think you’re getting out of jury duty by not registering to vote? Think again. Jurors can be called from their driver’s license.
• You are paid $20/day for your time. I thought it would be $10. Apparently it used to be $25. People complained about this. A LOT. I know the county is hurting, I’ll happily accept my $80.
• Voir dire can suck. It can suck bad. I feel fortunate I was removed from my first case on Day 1. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from an invasive and sensitive voir dire.
• The defendant is present for voir dire. Awwwwkward.
• Judge Sheehan seems like a pretty cool guy. He came down on Day 1 to answer questions & I was called into his court room. The defendant plead out before voir dire and the Judge sent me a personal thank you note in the mail (I get everyone who was called up probably got this – still considerate and it was semi-personal)!
• Go get lunch at The Side Bar – the bartender is pretty cool.
• I held crack (the evidence). That was a first!
• I couldn’t help but feel the drawing for jurors from the pool wasn’t random. I was with the same people for all three trials (who were removed/not selected) & there were many jurors who told me they sat there for 4 days without being picked once.
• Prosecutors and defense attorneys ask the same question in 75 different ways.
Overall, I’m glad I served on a jury. Would I want to go back next week? No way. I don’t even want to go back next year. However, it’s our civic duty to do so.
Best part? I helped keep one more crack-trafficking criminal off the streets of Cleveland!
Have you ever served on a jury? How was your experience?