Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Jury Duty Draft

I received the notice three months before I was to report, which is good, I suppose. It gave me just enough time to forget that I had to appear. I have a hard enough time keeping track of when the 9-year old has early dismal at school, which happens every other week. How did the court system expect me to remember something three months away that I didn’t really want to do anyway?

Now, don’t get all civil responsibility on me and start emailing me about how it’s our privilege and responsibility to help govern. I know all of that, but that doesn’t make it a fun thing to do. I hate my schedule interrupted and the fact that they don’t know if I will be needed or not is a total waste of time to me. For anyone who may not have had to serve, allow me to give a brief description of what happened the last time I had to serve. I arrived at 8 in the morning to sit in a small room in an uncomfortable chair while I waited to see if by chance they would select me to actually serve, not just show up for an afternoon of nasty coffee and staring at the other unfortunate people who were called. I was able to bring my writing with me, so it wasn’t a total loss. I sat there for three hours before they called my name along with several others. We were led two flights up, but by the time we walked up there, the criminal made a bargain and we were no longer needed. They led us back to the waiting room where we were tossed back into the pool of available jurors.

Twenty minutes later we were dismissed for an hour lunch that we had to go purchase. They could have at least furnished pizza and water, but the mere fifteen dollars they were paying us for the full eight hour waiting game probably broke the bank.

After lunch, we returned to our freezing room to continue waiting. We weren’t allowed the newspaper and could not access the Wi-Fi in case we saw something about one of the cases we could be chosen for. An hour later, my name was called again and I joined the second batch of people who were led back upstairs, asked to wait in a hallway and abandoned. Fifteen minutes passed and then we were told another deal was made to which I then realized that jurors are a mere tool in the tactics of fear used to scare a deal out of the one who broke the law. We were then led back downstairs to our room and then told to go home early and await our checks for service.

Surely there has to be a better way to accomplish this. Once the juror is placed into the waiting room, no more deals are permitted. This will keep the potential juror from wasting too much of his time. Make better use of the surveys that they send out so that lawyers can dismiss people before they are forced to arrive. This would save more time and respect the individuals who did nothing wrong but are still forced to appear in court to preside over the one who did screw up.

Recently, I received another summons to serve as juror as if the last time hadn’t been within this decade. This time, there was a survey that I had to take online, which once again revealed the abundance of redundancy in government. List your employer? Do they pay you for jury duty? Are you employed fulltime? Are you employed part time? Does your employer not pay you for jury duty? I read through them all wondering what my job had to do with jury duty. Do they not pay housewives or retired individuals? There were thirty-two questions. The thirty-first question read, “Do you understand English in written or verbal form?” Should this not have been the first question? How did they answer the first thirty questions if they couldn’t read English? If they didn’t understand English, how would they be able to serve as a juror in the first place? Wasn’t that a requirement to understanding what was happening in the courtroom? Maybe they only have cases where everything is done in a foreign language and are looking for qualified persons. Of course that led me to an entire rant on needing to press 1 for English when that should be the default and not a requested option.

I was ready to bring the gavel down and shout, “Case dismissed!” As it was, I called the night before to receive my instructions and was told I didn’t have to appear the following day. I had been released from my duties as juror. I wonder which survey question I answered wrong.

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