Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jury Duty Again Already!

For years, I was never called for Jury Duty.  I was summonsed about 9 months ago, and even wrote about it on my blog here, and already, I was invited back.

This time, I was summonsed to show up at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, which was a different court house than the last time.  I texted my judge friend and asked him what kind of cases where heard there (thinking that if this was just more of the traffic violations like last time, I might have to pretend I never saw the notice in the mail!), and he told me it was the more big time stuff.  Yay!  CSI here I come.

So this experience was way less boring!  It started off with about 500 people in one huge room.  It was amazing to look around and see all the people who actually show up to do their civic duty.  Pretty cool when you think about it.
They broke us into smaller groups of about 60 and we went to the various court rooms.

So at least this time, I was considered a "juror".  I even got a badge that said "Juror". 

We heard just a tiny bit about what kind of case this was-  Basically, while committing a theft, a man threatened another man with a deadly weapon, which was a cane!
Canes can be deadly weapons depending on how they are used.
Both the defense and state attorneys asked us jurors all sorts of questions to figure out if we could be fair and impartial.  They had us take an oath, which meant we were all telling the truth in our answers.

Some people said stuff that was really funny to me.  One guy said he didn't think he could be involved in the punishment phase of a trial- that he didn't think punishment worked.  Another lady  due to her religious beliefs, said she didn't think she could be fair and impartial.  (She was Catholic, by the way.)  A few other people said they didn't feel like that could trust the testimony of police officers, because they had bad past experiences with them.

We were asked if we had any other reasons why we thought we might need to be exempt from serving on a jury.  A few people said they had diabetes.  Hmmm.  So do I.  But I don't really know how just being diabetic makes you unable to serve. Another man said he was on heart medication that made him have to pee frequently.  The judge asked him, "How often are we talking?" and he answered straight-faced, "I don't know, but when I gotta go, I gotta GO!"

I know these people were under oath, and I'm sure they were telling the truth.  But I also think they didn't want to be selected as one of the 12 jurors that would be there, we were told, the remainder of the week.

The weird thing is, I did want to be there!  I got the impression, from the people I spoke with during the day, that I'm not of the majority.

I noticed the defense lawyer looking at me a lot when I first walked into the room.  After about 15 minutes he turned to the judge and said something.  Then the judge said, "Juror 31, Kerri Arista, do you recognize Mr. Defense Lawyer?" (Actually, she used his name, but I have no idea now what it was.)  I didn't.  Honestly.  He said I looked familiar and he thought we might be neighbors.  He kept glancing at me often.  Another potential juror next to me said he thought it was a little creepy.  And it was!  I hope that guy isn't my neighbor.

At the end of the day- yes, we were all there all day- the lawyers had narrowed down the jury pool to just 12.  They got all the way to Juror 39 to select a dozen.  People were stricken for reasons they had given earlier, or because they looked familiar to one of the lawyers.

So like I said, I didn't make it to the final jury.  But it really wasn't a bad day.  It wasn't boring.  I was very entertained by the whole thing, and by the people there.  And to top it off, I made $6, which just almost covered my parking fee!


Valerie said...

Have you been looking around your neighborhood to see if you see that lawyer anywhere? Maybe he's seen you perform???

Here in the DC burbs, we get $15, which covers lunch & parking if you work it right. :o)

Kerri said...

here in dallas, it's just $6. :( but if you go back a 2nd day, it jumps to a whopping $30-something. BIG TIME MONEY! ha.

and no, i've not seen the lawyer. but i'm on the look out.