Jury Duty Woes

8 Dec

In  early November I received a letter in the mail that would usher in a new adult rite of passage. I had been summoned to jury duty for the first time. The letter was simple enough, explaining that I had been selected as a prospective juror in my county and that I needed to fill out and sign the attached questionnaire and juror summons and mail them back within 7 days. My final instructions were to call a special number on Friday, December 7, 2015, after 4:00 p.m. to see if my services would be needed Monday morning.

So I filled out and returned my forms and set reminders on my work calendar and phone so I wouldn’t forget to call, since that was a whole month away still! Friday afternoon I made my call, heart-pounding, palms-sweating, knees-twitching while I waited for the automated message to announce “this is a message for all potential jurors scheduled to be in Judge so-and-so’s court room A on Monday, December 7, 2015 – you are not needed on Monday. Please call again on Monday afternoon to see if your services will be needed for Tuesday.” I was so relieved I called back a second time just to make sure I’d heard the message correctly – was it really so, did they not need me?! How wonderful!

I should have started this post by mentioning that I really did not want to be on a jury. I don’t want to decide someone’s fate. I don’t want to listen to the horrible things an individual did or see evidence that could be subject matter for new nightmares. I hear enough terrible things on the radio, TV and internet, I didn’t want to come face-to-face with more in my own town. I don’t consider myself smart enough to know who’s telling the truth and who is great at lying and faking emotion in this stressful situation. I see the world in shades of gray, not clear black and white, so I don’t know how that would affect my judgement of a case.

Anyways, since I didn’t have to report on Monday, that meant I was able to enjoy my weekend in New York City (more on that in a future post I promise!) care-free! But then Monday at 4:00 p.m. came all to quickly and my luck ran out when I listened to the new recording for prospective jurors “please report to the court house on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.” My heart sank and the nerves set in quickly.

What was going to happen? What were they going to ask me? What do I say? What do I wear? How will I know where to go once I get to the courthouse? What if I’m the youngest juror there? What if I am selected as a juror and I am the only one who votes one way and everyone else votes the other? And a million other questions raced through my mind for the remainder of the night and into this morning.

After changing my mind three times, this is the outfit I settled on for my very first experience as a potential juror.


I was so nervous that I was forgetting a piece of their instructions, I called the number again this morning while I ate breakfast. Nothing had changed, I was still to report at 9:00 a.m. And so, I decided to give myself plenty of time to get there in case there was an accident or I got lost, I had my GPS, but with all the road construction going on, who knows what could have happened!

I parked my car in the courthouse parking lot at 8:35 a.m. and was in the process of gathering my purse and keys to go inside when my phone rang, a number similar to the one I had called to find out I needed to report. Hesitantly I answers and heard “this is so-and-so from the courthouse and your services are not needed today. You have been released of your duty for the rest of the week. Thank you for your service.” Click.

I sat there for a moment, keys in one hand, the other on the door handle, ready to exit my car. I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard. She was joking, right? Then the anger set in, you couldn’t have called 30 minutes ago before I left my house? Why did you suddenly change your mind 30 minutes before we all arrived this morning? What happened between 4 p.m. Monday night and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning?

Fuming I drove to work, which lucky for me was only a 10 minute drive. However, I was 40 minutes late as my day started at 8:00 a.m. And adding to my surprise, I may have to use 40 MINUTES OF MY VACATION TIME BECAUSE I WASN’T THERE AND IT’S THE COURTHOUSE’S FAULT! 

I didn’t even want to be a juror. I didn’t want to go! I didn’t choose not to show up for work. I gladly would have been there. I have plans for those 40 minutes of vacation time. Irritated I messaged my dad and he explained that the person probably entered a plea deal to avoid a trial. Well good for them, but next time, do it at 3 p.m. so you don’t waste MY time. I’m a law-abiding citizen with responsibilities and a job and I don’t appreciate having to put that on hold, only to find out minutes before I have to be at the courthouse that you’ve probably finally come to your senses and owned up to your evil deeds. Next time do us all a favor and not commit a crime – your life will be better and so will mine.

And to make my story even better, on the local news tonight, there was a breaking news story of a high profile case where the person entered a plea deal this morning. I bet you anything that would have been my case….it’s been an on-going investigation since LAST November!

End rant.


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