Monday, June 18, 2007

On duty

Pulled jury duty again today. This is the sixth time I have been called since I was selected for the pool in Judge Susan Watters' court. I was excused once because I had to give a German final that day, so I am 0-for-5 -- five times in the pool, never picked for the jury. Several other potential jurors present today had been called as often, and a couple already had served on juries. One had served on two.

The first case involved a couple seeking damages from the state for an adopted child with preexisting problems. Another was a slip-and-fall case at The Rex. One was a tampering case involving a guy who scared me a little. One was this notorious DUI case. Sitting through voir dire gave me no particular insight into the merits of any of these cases, other than a better than average basis on which to judge the jurisprudential merit of the defendant's alleged offer in the latter case (none of your business, but thanks for asking).

Today's case had to do with assessing damages from a car accident involving a Gazette sales rep. The trial was expected to run four days, apparently with much of the time taken up by testimony and depositions from medical experts. That would have been about three days more than I suspect I would care to hear. I wasted much of the last hour of questioning wondering who would fill my 14-hour delivery day on Thursday.

I've never served on a jury and wouldn't mind doing it. But the jury selection process is an odd combination of appreciation and intimidation. Lawyers and the judge always talk about how grateful they are for our service, but they can send out the cops if we don't show up. They say how important jurors are for the process, then they keep us cooling our heels with no explanation for a half-hour or longer.

And the whole process is a little bit fun, a little bit boring and a little bit nerve wracking. I'm happy to serve, but I will be happier when I am done.

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