Monday, May 9, 2011

Jury Duty

I received a summons in the mail for jury duty starting today. My first thought was, "Oh, no! How do I get out of this?" Why do we try so hard to get out of this civic duty when, if we were in court, wouldn't we want "good" people on our jury?

I have served jury duty twice before but in a different county. The first time, I was twenty-one years old, and I had to take off from my summer job of interning in a local hospital pharmacy. We listened to three and a half days of testimony before deliberating for less than an hour. Does that tell you anything about the case? It was a waste of time for everyone involved except maybe for the lawyers who, I'm sure, got paid regardless of the fact that we only awarded $1 to the "winner."

The second time I was summoned for jury duty, well, there's a little story here. John received a summons, and I laughed at him. Less than two weeks later, I received mine, and he laughed at me. What goes around comes around, I guess!

This time I was summoned for the grand jury. We met one day a week for two months, and we heard ten to twenty cases a day, determining if there was enough evidence for a trial. We only had to determine "probable cause" which is much looser than determining whether someone is actually guilty or not. This time, I was pregnant with Daniel and had Sarah Beth who was 18 months old to worry about. Thankfully, my mother was able to keep her, and my duty only lasted (usually) during the morning, so I was able to take Sarah Beth home after eating lunch with my parents.

Both times of serving jury duty were learning experiences. I was able to get out of jury duty this time because I have three small children, but I can't help but wonder what I'm missing. Yes, I admit that part of me wishes I could participate this time, but it's more important that I take care of my children. Besides, who would take care of my children while I served?

Have you served on a jury before? What were your experiences?


Laura said...

I'm glad you were able to get out of it! I have never been called for jury duty, and I can't say that I'm disappointed.

Tracey said...

I served on a jury once years ago. We actually heard a few hours of testimony - then there was a break and the lawyers ended up working out a deal.

I found it to be an interesting process, but NOTHING like the courtroom scenes you see on television shows. I was expecting Matlock, but it was a far cry from that!

Have a nice night!