I had Jury Duty today for my first time EVER.
I wasn't sure if I should be committed to my civic duty or if I should be prepared with excuses (which I have in abundance: work, kids, etc.) and reasons that make me unfit ("I can tell he is guilty just by looking at him! Look at those beady eyes!" etc.)
I thought perhaps the mere fact that I would be clutching my Bible (that I would bring to do my Bible Study to pass the time) might make them not want me (the defense attorneys might fear an "eye for an eye" thought process while prosecutors might cringe at the thought of all that New Testament "mercy and forgiveness" stuff).
However, when I arrived at the courthouse at 7:20AM (25 minutes early - ugh!), I realized I had FORGOTTEN my Bible! So now I not only had not tool of getting excused but I also had NOTHING TO DO! (Maybe God didn't like His Word being used to get out of Jury Duty???)
Of course they did not start on time. About 8:30 they began. Announcements, rules, thanks, etc. The first case is announced. it is a TWO MONTH case... it should be done by mid-June!
It is not voluntary. It is mandatory unless you have a pre-paid vacation already planned or an impeding surgery date already scheduled. So I get in line. A LOT of people did not. (I was mad at them.)
I eventually got up to the front and the lady asks me "Do you have any reason you cannot serve?" to which I responded "I don't know".
So she asked how many days my employer paid for jury duty.
"I am self employed," I said.
"Didn't you listen?" she scolded "Self-employed people do not have to do this."
I went back and sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.
Eventually they called a random group.
We were sent to a courtroom on the 9th floor (I have been bad about walking this week, so It took the stairs - MAN, was I huffing & puffing when I got up there). We stood around for quite a while. Then the bailiff came out and announced that we had a break until 11:00 (it was 10:15).
We all went back down to the 3rd floor to kill 45 minutes.
I got a cup of coffee. I tried to go our onto the balcony (who knew how long I would be trapped inside), but apparently, that was the smoking area and even though it was outside, it was clouded in a dense smoky fog. So much for fresh air.
I eventually returned to the 9th floor (via stairs :)
While waiting, I chatted briefly with a woman next to me and she told me, described through a thick accent (maybe Indian?) about her excruciating foot pain on both feet and how it appears now to maybe be neurological and how she hopes she can be excused for medical reasons.
We were eventually led into the courtroom where we were seated and the judge thanked us for being there. He told us the case was criminal and he apologized for making us wait so long but told us it was because at the last minute the defendant pled guilty to Life in prison with possibility of parole (attempted murder and torture with a knife). He dismissed us back to Jury Assembly room.
We sat back down and then were told to line up again. We lined up and waited in line for quite a while. Eventually, I got to the front where my parking was validated and I and was given a "certificate of jury service" and told "You can go home".
They didn't have to tell me twice!