Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seven Times is the Charm!

I have received letters to report for possible Jury Duty SEVEN times. Yep. Seven! However, every single trial (except the latest) was cancelled. My latest summons was for yesterday. So I dutifully called the night before to see if the trial was proceeding, and it was.

So yesterday I reported to the court house at 8:30 a.m. completely nervous about what to expect. I mean, I watch a LOT of Law & Order, but I also know that TV doesn't always represent reality. ;)

About 20 of us were ushered into a room, where the court gave us a number and had us watch a video about serving as a juror.

Then the Judge came in and told us they were going to select the jury and that when the jury was selected the trial would begin. He suspected the trial would only last one day. Yep. ONE DAY!! At this point, I'm crossing my fingers and my toes hoping I do finally get to serve.

The judge asked us basic questions, and then each of us was ushered one by one into the judge's chambers to answer a few more questions.

When we returned to the court room, the judged asked eight of us to stand and dismissed the rest. I was one of them!! He then swore us in and the trial began.

The charges were drug possession and resisting arrest. The entire arguments and trials took about 4 hours with breaks for lunch and snacks.

Once closing arguments were over, we received very thorough instructions from the judge.

And then we met as a jury to deliberate. It took us about an hour, and we didn't agree all at once. We talked and talked and talked through one of the charges and at first we were divided right down the middle. But as we reviewed the state's case and the laws they had to prove we all came to the same conclusion.

The court read our verdicts for each of the charges and we were dimissed.

Something I had been so worried about turned out to be fascinating! The accused could have settled or taken a guilty plea but decided to be judged by a jury of his/her peers. It was amazing to watch the process. And I was pleased to see how seriously each of us took the law and the evidence and the testimonies. We wanted to make sure that we made the right judgment on each of the charges.

I will be taken out of the jury pool for now. But when and "if" I get the chance to serve again, I will have a greater understanding of the importance of my service. What an amazing experience!

2 comments:

  1. What a cool experience! I have yet to be called in for jury duty, but I think it will so interesting if I ever get the chance. :) Thank heavens it wasn't one of those that went on for days. ;) Have a great day!

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  2. I always dread to see that letter on the doorstep. I'm always afraid that I will end up on some big murder case and be accepted as a juror and then be intimidated by the 'bad guys' etc.... yes, I watch too much CSI and Law and Order ;-). I also worry about who will look after the kids if it is a high profile case and goes on for weeks.

    Have you guessed yet that I am a worrier with a capital W? LOL. SO glad that you had a short one, Jen. I hope it will be a while before they call you again!

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