Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All about Jury Duty

About a month ago, I got my jury duty summons in the mail, which explained that my week for Jury Duty would be December 15 -19. It seems that everyone that I have told about my Jury Duty responsibilities has tried to give me some sort of excuse that could be used to get me out of the service. "Tell them you believe in the Death Penalty", "tell them you are in the NRA", "tell them you just got out of a hospital", etc.

I'm not so sure any one of those excuses would definitely keep you off of a jury. But, jury duty is never anything that I was looking to get out of anyway. About 10 years ago or so when I lived in Bloomington, I was actually selected for a jury. I learned so much from the experience about our legal process in the U.S. and really how juries "work" to make decisions. I really think that it is something that everyone should do.

So, the way it works in Marion County is that you are assigned a Juror Number and Group Number which is all printed on your summons. It is kind of cool that everything is bar-coded and all. Not exactly what I expected, but I guess this is 2008. Every night you have to call in to the Clerk's Office and listen to the recording to see if your group is required to report the next day. My group number was 6.

Everyone told me that because I had such a low number, I was sure to be one of the first groups called in. Because I had a lot going on at work, and I was scheduled to start vacation on Wednesday at noon, I was trying to work out all the nuances of how to get everything done, not mess up my vacation, and still do my civic duty all at the same time.

So, the "I'm the Lucky Girl" part of this story happens because I said early in the week, that if there was a day this week that was good for Jury Duty, it would be Wednesday. And so it was Wednesday that just happened to be the day my group was called.

I had prepared for Jury Duty as if I was going to be sequestered for a couple of days. I bought a paperback by an author I hadn't ever read. (I didn't think it would look good for me to carry in either the Sue Grafton or John Grisham books I am reading now.) I also packed a lunch consisting of a Diet Pepsi, Chicken Sandwich, Baked Cheetos and some cheese and crackers. The lunch and my book fit nicely in my purse. And off I went.

I reported to the Public Assembly room (the one you always see on TV for City Council Meetings), checked in and they showed us a video about jury service. The lady in charge said that the court would be down to get us around 9:00, but 9 came and went and we were all still waiting. I'm glad I had that book. We waited for a while, and then around 11, the lady came back and excused all of us. She said they had reached a plea agreement, and they wouldn't need a jury today. She explained that showing up counts as our jury service for the next 2 years, so if we get another summons we can serve if we want to, but we don't have to do it.

After I was released, I went upstairs to the Auditor's office and popped in on Cherrish Pryor, one of my former student staff at I.U. She is going to be a State Representative for Indiana's 94th District. It was nice to run into her and I think I'll try to make it over to see her at the state capitol building next spring.


Scott S. Semester said...

My favorite sentence in this post: "The lunch and my book fit nicely in my purse." :)

AND! I got to vote for Cherrish! I live in her district. That was so cool!

K.T. said...

I really didn't want anyone to actually know how prepared I was for the experience. And, I also wonder what the guard who scanned my purse through the big X-Ray machine thought when he saw all of that in there.

Mariandy said...

That's funny, I was thinking: "Dang, she must have a really huge purse." :-)

K.T. said...

I'm actually a small purse girl. I tried a big purse once, but I lost my keys in it and about had a fit at work trying to figure out how I was going to get home. The purse was way too big. I think I gave it away to a big purse lady.