Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guilty or Not Guilty

A couple of months ago, I did my civic duty and sat on a jury for two weeks. It was a criminal case, and it was my first experience as a juror. I can’t tell you all the details yet (most of which are boring) because we were given a court order to not discuss or sell the rights to the story for 90 days after the verdict (really, truly). But, as soon as that time is up, I’m planning on writing a proposal to the Lifetime “Television for Women” network*. (They probably won’t want it as the case was about fraud, and therefore, mind-numbingly dull).

I learned many things from my time in court: about humanity, about justice, and most importantly, about the need for proper footwear.

I compiled a baker’s dozen list for you all, so you can be better prepared for when it’s your turn.

Things I Learned from Sitting on a Jury:

1. They (the court system) let just about anyone sit on a jury.
2. This is terrifying.
3. There were a number of questionable (in intelligence and morality) people on my jury.
4. I do not ever want to be judged by a jury (see #1 and #3).
5. You should not wear flip flops while sitting on a jury.
6. Unless you have a back-up pair of flip flops to change in to when your original pair rips while walking into the courthouse.
7. Or, you should have duct tape in your car (like your dad told you) so that you can make flip flop repairs.
8. The Court security team and scanning process do not flag people who carry an entire roll of duct tape in their purse.
9. This scares me.
10. There are moments when hearing the law read is so boring you lose the will to live.
11. You can really practice your doodling skills while sitting on a jury (and, of course, still pay attention).
12. Judging someone and sending them to jail for a long time is not as fun as it looks on TV.
13. There are a lot of cute police officers.

Heed my advice, folks. (Especially about proper footwear.)

*The title of the made-for-TV movie based on this case would be “A Man of Many Names, but One Love”.


Andrea said...

I would love to serve on a jury but only if I knew you would be serving with me. Think of the fun we'd have!

Liz W. said...

Andrea, I would LOVE to sit on a jury with you. In fact, that's the only way I'll ever do it again.

(P.S. Are you still blogging? I went to look --since I'm back into the blogging world-- and I don't have access to see your blog... not that you have to let me or anything... I was just wondering how you're doing...)

Andrea said...

I'm still blogging but it's private, although I do have you on my permissions list. Maybe I have an old email for you. This is the blog address:
If you can't access it send me which email address you use and I'll send another invite.

Katie said...

Can I join in on the jury with you two? that's the only way I'd do it. I get too easily distracted and I'd need everything repeated. It would be time to make a decision and I'd say, "Why are we here again?"

Hannah said...

Once when I was nineteen, I had jury duty and was sitting on a panel. Well, I won't go into details, but I'll add the advice: Carry tampons just in case, because even if you check the bathroom vending machines on three separate floors, try the little convenice store on the bottom floor, and when all else fails ask a bunch of strangers, there is still no guarantee you'll get one. And also? Don't wear Khaki pants.

Laura said...

I had my first jury duty experience last year, though did not make it on to the jury. Why? Because while being questioned by the attorneys, here was the exchange:

Defense Attorney: The defendant is a known gang member and many of those testifying will also be known gang members, some of them will be brought here from jail to testify. Do you think that someone who is a gang member is less trustworthy than others, say an officer?

Me: Well, gang members aren't exactly known for doing GOOD things, so that would be difficult.

Defense Attorney: You may hear some testimony that the defendant shot at a police officer. Can you keep an open mind about why he might be shooting at the officer?

Me: I can't really think of a GOOD reason why anyone would be shooting at a police officer, so No, I can't keep an open mind.

Defense Attorney: Juror #9, you're dismissed.

Yep, that's pretty much what I thought!

Empress of Venus said...

I was on a grand jury for 6 months. Everyone thinks this is some fancy kind of jury, but all it means is we would listen to a case and decide whether there was enough evidence to be sent to a real jury. We were like a pre jury, an appetizer jury, an opening comedian jury. And ours was never better than the main course/act.