I realized today that I'd forgotten to post about my second day of jury selection.
It was riveting.
I woke up feeling very chatty and raring to go. I ate my breakfast on my way to the courthouse, scored a sweet parking spot that wasn't too far away, and snagged a coveted chair by the window. The only people there that day were the panel I was in, so it wasn't crowded at all.
Every time I looked at this guy he was sleeping.
We were instructed to be there for 9am, however nothing happened until 10:30 when they took attendance. Then we all sat in silence until 11am at which point we were all herded into a courtroom so things could get underway.
As soon as the charges were read I felt my chest tighten. There was no way I could serve on this jury. No way. I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you the nature of the trial because there were all sorts of laws and rules and instructions given by the judge and "no blogging about the trial" was part of it.
So, rather than run the risk of getting thrown into the slammer for my big mouth, I'll just say it was awful and I'll skip the details.
The judge asked for anyone who couldn't hear what was being said to come to the front. Only two people went up.
Next, he called for anyone who couldn't speak or understand English to come forward. About five people went up for that.
Then he called for anyone with a medical issue that would hinder their participation on the jury to come forward. About ten people went up for that.
And then he called for anyone who felt that serving on the jury would cause them significant financial hardship. About 27 people lined up.
Students were deferred. A woman who was 9 months pregnant was deferred. A limo driver was denied and told to sit back down, and he stood there shouting at the judge. A man who was the sole provider for his wife, who was mentally unwell, and their children. The judge denied him at first, until the man gently spoke up asking him to please reconsider, that he had so much to deal with, could he please spare him this one extra responsibility. I prayed for the judge to show this man compassion. He was deferred.
I kept watching the clock.
Then they separated all of us into four groups. I was in the third group and we were herded single file into the main waiting room. We all had to sit together and were not permitted to speak with group four.
Finally at 12:30 we were released for lunch and I headed down to the cafeteria.
While I ate, I prayed that I wouldn't get selected to serve, and that I would get an opportunity to explain to someone why I couldn't. I truly felt that I couldn't be impartial and that someone needed to know.
While I sat there I overheard one woman ask another "Is there a gift shop here?"
Bless her heart.
I went back up to the waiting room for 2pm as instructed.
At 3pm my group was herded single file to another room. We had a court officer leading us and one bringing up the rear. There was to be no talking and no escaping. We were told nothing other than that they were close to having a full jury and we would be finished by 5pm.
At 3:30 they started taking five people at a time to the courtroom. It was 3:40 when they brought me in. I was #17. The court officer guarding the door to the courtroom said they only needed one more juror and it would be over with.
Person #13 went in.
I prayed that they wouldn't get to me.
All of a sudden we were rushed back down the hall like something was on fire. "Move! Move! The jury is coming out. Move!"
Back in our room, the five of us waited, wondering what was going on.
At 4pm a court officer said the jury was complete and we were free to go.
Relief flooded me and I grabbed up my purse and took off.
Apparently my name will go back into the jury pool and I could be re-called in three years. While the waiting was boring and went on for hours, it was interesting to see how the process went and it's always good to learn new things.
Still, I'm glad it's over with.