sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

June 14, 2017

posted by soe 2:21 am

Yesterday, I had jury duty. It’s fine; it’s my fourth time being called in the 14 years I’ve lived here. D.C. has, in the grand scheme of jury duties, a relatively pain-free system, since although you almost certainly will have to report to the courthouse, unless you’re picked to serve on a trial, you’ll be dismissed to go home. There’s no need for you to remain on stand-by for a month.

My three prior jury duty sessions have ended with one criminal trial (which lasted about a week), one civil trial (which lasted a couple days), and being excused early in the afternoon.

I was in the later pool of jurors, which I appreciated because I am really not a morning person. Almost immediately after the orientation, they called out more than 50 people and took them off to be considered for a jury. Within ten minutes, they were back and took almost all of the rest of us for the voir dire process for a different trial in a courtroom down the hall.

Turns out this was going to be for a murder trial and it was going to last at least two weeks. The prosecution had a long list of witnesses they planned to call. Many of my fellow jurors answered the questions in a way that got them immediately dismissed, but my answers put me through to the end of the process. While I wanted to tell them that I am rather squeamish about graphic depictions of violence, I held my tongue. Should someone ever accuse me of murder, I’d want people to suck it up and listen to my side of things, so the Golden Rule dictates that I do the same.

However, because so many people had opted out, there were no longer enough potential jurors left for them to disqualify any of us themselves. And apparently that’s necessary. So the judge sent us home with the admonishment that we had to return again today, at which point she’d have repeated the process with a second set of jurors.

Instead of going home (or off to sit in the shade and read), I headed back to the office. If I was going to be out of work for two weeks, I decided I should let folks know, set up email and phone greetings, and get a little more work done.

Today I returned to the courthouse, where per her word, the judge had found a couple dozen more potential jurors, from whom she started filling the jury box. At this point the lawyers could start ruling people out, and they did. Of the original 14 people they sat in the jury box, probably only 3 remained by the end. And they’d made a good stab into the group of us returning from yesterday — the final person they picked was the woman sitting next to me.

But in the end, I didn’t find myself on the jury of a murder trial, and I’m really grateful for that.

And now I’m done with jury duty for at least the next two years.

Category: dc life. There is/are 8 Comments.