August 5, 2016
I finally deposited my jury duty pay - a whole $21.18 for one entire day. All things considered not horrible, but I can say that because I only had to do one day of it and then I was free. Ended up in jury selection for a civil case so I didn’t get the opportunity to educate anyone on the importance of jury nullification. If there is one thing I’ve picked up from my Dad about court cases is that so very few cases go to court (far too expensive) and the ones that do frequently settle early on (being in the court room makes things very real & you get to freak out that THOSE people are going to be deciding.) So I wasn’t worried when it was announced the case I might be on was scheduled for 10 days (a bit longer than the norm.) It wasn’t until much later that I found out that the trial would mostly be experts vs experts. Never good, it meant that the experts were already paid so the plaintiff was already financially invested in the outcome more than the norm. Of course I found out about the longer trial length and expert vs expert news too late for me to try and escape being picked for the trial by giving unappealing answers.
Not knowing what was going through the lawyers minds, I can only say that it appears as though I escaped the trial out of seemingly sheer dumb luck. The jury selection concluded a bit after 5 pm, so I and three lucky others were told to report back to the main floor to check in and see where to be sent next. Turns out the place closes at 5 pm so we luckily caught one last person closing up and they told us we were free. No coming back tomorrow. No calling in to find out if we were needed. Done. Just done.
Credit to Rachel Turner for this one
Other things of note: when asked to raise your hand if you have ever served on a jury before no one under 50 raised their hand. And even the 50-70 year old’s had only done so once. So jury duty is significantly less common than I had thought. The geezers also really seemed to get off on the civic pride thing. Personally I think being told over and over how important jury duty is wears thin quickly when you are legally mandated to be there. I am all for it in criminal cases were jury nullification is essential to keep the government and it’s near infinite horrible laws in check. However two people squabbling in a civil case lacks that kind of importance.
The judge did not even bother to hide how bored he was of the whole thing. Yawning, stretching, probably playing solitaire on the computer, he had zero cares to give. Started the event giving a canned speech about the importance of the proceedings then back to playing solitaire. This judge thing must be a nice gig if you can get it. Even better, everyday you wear a silly black robe costume and no one makes fun of you for it.
The most surprising thing for me was the stenographer. She wasn’t typing on a computer, it was a very specialized device that had its own legs to stand on. No need for a table or any setup when it stands on its own, but do these devices need to be moved around a lot? Was it the stenographer’s device or was it just court property assigned to a particular room? It also didn’t have a standard “QWERTY” keyboard either. In fact, the unusual keyboard’s keys weren’t even labeled.