I felt judged when family, friends, and my probation officer objected to me serving on jury duty advising me to get a fabricated excuse. I say fabricated because I am physically healthy, had no prepaid summer vacation plans, and none of my mental conditions have been diagnosed. Yet.
Despite their pleas, I felt superior as I drove to the judicial center on my appointed date. I was well prepared having memorized my instructions and my number: 109.
I understood the parking rules, that cell phones were forbidden in the courtroom, and I searched my purse frantically before going through security to make sure I wasn’t sequestering a Glock.
I admit I was nervous when I entered room 204 and faced a roomful of disparate souls all identified by number. I could pick out the extroverts immediately, laughing and forming bonds. I could identify the cagey ones who had brought a book, a crossword puzzle and a flask.
My instructions didn’t address how to handle boredom, but luckily the State bailed us out by supplying a Thomas Kinkade 1000 piece puzzle depicting a Victorian Christmas. When I tired of finding pieces to an ideal holiday, I escaped into the world of celebrity lives reading People Magazine, circa 2012.
When at last the court officer interrupted our reverie and announced it was time to file into the courtroom, we began the arduous process of jury selection.
In my expert opinion, while criminals and attorneys steal the spotlight, jury members are the true foundation of due process. These civic-minded individuals don’t earn sentences, but I believe their dedication warrants some well-deserved awards.
Most popular: #95. How can one guy know the defendants and witnesses on both sides of every case?
Most likely to need his own jury someday: #43. After repeated warnings about cellphones, he defied authority sitting in the front row checking Facebook.
Most annoying: #89. We get it. You have a sinus condition. But may I make an appeal that decongestants could help all of us get through this without any damages?
Most relaxed: #27. You may wonder if this claim is hearsay, but for the record, even the court reporter was distracted by his snoring.
Most likely to solicit giggles when announcing his number: #69
Most proud of his number: #69
Most likely to be eliminated as a juror: #38. The judge instructed us to answer questions directly with one word when possible. When asked if her relationship with a potential witness was personal or professional she quipped: “He was my fifth-grade teacher, gave me detention and I never got over it.” Pshaw! Everyone knows they won’t choose you if they know you completed fifth grade.
Most likely to be chosen as a juror: #54. I’m not sure if it was his body art or his nose ring that made him captivating.
Most likely to be arrested during jury selection: #109. When the judge didn’t release us until 2PM for lunch, I assaulted a diabetic and stole her glucose tablets. In my defense, I was temporarily insane due to hypoglycemia.
Final summation: My number was randomly chosen a couple of times, giving me hope I’d earn a seat in the jury box, but alas I didn’t make the final cut. I suppose it is just as well, since I’m busy completing my community service.
What’s the verdict? Have you ever been on jury duty? What was your experience?