Friday, September 24, 2010

Jury Duty

My jury duty yesterday was really not all that I hoped it would be.  At all.

I did love riding on the DART rail.  I loved not having to drive in traffic, or pay for parking.  I felt so urban!
the highlight of the day- DART rail- yay!
 I reported to the Municipal Court building at 9:15.
the outside of the courthouse is beautiful...the inside, not so much
All the potential jurors, about 60 of us in all, were put in this little waiting room.  Around 10am, some man came in and gave us a 30 minute speech about jury duty, including going through, line by line, all of the things that were in the letter of our jury summons that we had read weeks ago all by ourselves.  He  told us that all the trials in this particular building were Class C Misdemeaners-  usually traffic violations.  How boring! He tried to make it exciting, and I think he loved talking in front of a group, but I was just sad that they had turned off "Regis and Kelly" that was on the TV shoved in the corner of the room. 

Around 11:30, we all were released for a lunch break but were told to report back by 1:30.  So we had a long lunch, which sounds great IF I had  a) a friend to hang out with or b) a book or c)close proximity to shops, or museums.  But that wasn't the case.  There were only a few eating places they told us about that were within walking distance.  I ate a panini at a little cafe, and then sat there, uncomfortably, for as long as I could stand it.  Then I walked around outside, getting yelled at by a construction man for walking where I wasn't allowed.

When I went back to the court building, I felt like I was reporting for Jr. High school detention.

Many of my fellow jurors had shared a table at lunch, so there was a lot more conversation in the afternoon.  And most of it was just complaining about how inefficient this whole jury duty thing seems to be.

I sat between a man with a touch (a heavy touch) of body odor, and a woman that started every third sentence with, "Girl,..." whether she was talking to me, or the man next to me.  It was a very non-gendered "Girl!" the way I've heard some people use "Dude".  

At just a little after 4pm, an officer came in and called out 15 peoples name for a jury panel to be interviewed.  The rest of us were finally released around 4:15.  The court building closes at 5pm, so whether I had been selected as a juror or not really didn't make a big difference. 

Although I did nothing all day, it was exhausting.  Sitting with nothing to do for hours on end can feel like a beating.  And it did.
happily back on DART at the end of my grueling day of jury duty!


Jadyn said...

Aw, I'm sorry it wasn't a good experience...your descriptions made me laugh though - especially the woman using a non-gendered 'girl' when talking.

patty said...

Kerri, I just had jury duty as well! While I was there, 70 people were called in for a big high-profile attemped-murder case (Shelly Malil, an actor from the 40-Year Old Virgin - they found him guilty)I wasn't one of the 70 and was released before noon. I've thought about it a few times - how daunting it would have been to find someone guilty and send them away for life. Not sure I would want that responsibility!

Kerri said...

oh, that is so interesting, patty! i think i would love to be on an important trial like that.

if i really felt sure the person was guilty of such a crime and it was proven "beyond a reasonable doubt", i would sort of love to be a part of putting them away. i would, however, hate it if i had a big gut feeling they were guilty, but the prosecution did a crappy job, and then i had to be a part of setting them free.

i really hope next time i'm called up, it is not for such petty "crimes" as traffic tickets. that is just boring whether you get picked to serve on the jury or not!!!

Suzi said...

Well at least, "GIRL" it's over with and you shouldn't be called back for several years.

jacqueline said...

Dearest kerry, this is so interesting but im sorry the experience wans't pleasent. Thanks for sharing it with us. Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

Unknown said...

Sorry it was so unorganized. Not to get all "anti-government" but pretty much everything they control has a way of taking a long time and being boring and unorganized. Sorry you didn't get the murder case you were hoping for!!!

judge david said...

As a judge in that building, let me add a comment or two. Yes, fine-only misdemeanors such as traffic cases, public intoxication or assault, and ordinance violations aren't sexy or particularly high profile (although, the Erika Badhu [sp?] and Vince Young cases were/are in our building), but they are crimes nonetheless, and the Texas and United States constitutions guarantee anyone charged with a crime the right to be tried by a jury of his peers. Think about it: if you believe you have been unjustly accused of an offense, wouldn't you grateful to have a neutral forum to be able to tell your side of the story? We have over 1,000 cases set daily in our courts, and, given the physical plant, some inefficiency is inevitable. Everyone in the system ~ our judiciary, the prosecution, the defense, the courtroom security, the clerks ~ works diligently to process these cases as expeditiously as possible so as to inconvenience our jurors as little as possible.

Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that Kerri was there because I would have been delighted to have lunch with her! Also, I used to be the "some man" (who by the way was Judge C. Victor Lander, our administrative judge) who gave the jurors their orientation. Too bad my responsibilities have changed because, knowing that jury duty can be drudgery, I tried to instill some levity into orientation. Just think, in some small way I could have repaid Kerri for the hours of entertainment she has provided me!

jacqueline said...

Dearest sweet kerri, thanks so much for your lovely kind words on my ipad cozy! You made my monday morning a very happy one! :) This ipad cozy is my very first and didn't make any for my little shop yet. But the iPad/iphone cozy(s) will be on my to do list. :) But, if you are interested on a personalize cozy, do drop me an email. :) Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you!

Unknown said...

So sad to read your post about your excitement, followed by the jury duty letdown. They'd be so lucky to get an eager juror like you. Well, hopefully now that the system has found you, you'll get called again soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank goodness that is over. It sounds like an energy sapping experience. :( Although the train does sound cool!

♥ Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog!

soraya nulliah said...

Yikes-no jury duty for me!!! dear Kerry keep on writing in your journals...I know what you mean though...I wouldn't want someone to go through all of my writings!! I mean...I write everything in there!! Maybe you can try the blessing is very powerful and aligns everything, I think:)

Suki said...

Sorry, it was so boring. But remember you did something important today.

Kerri said...

well, sadly, it didn't feel important at all tho. maybe next time! :)