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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

1:32 PM - jury duty

it's one thirty in the afternoon and i just returned home from fulfilling my civic obligation of jury duty. before i get into how everything went i want to fill you in on my "jury duty history." this was my third time being called up for jury duty, which is actually a lot. you're only supposed to be summond once every three years, but something happened and my name got pulled again and i couldn't find the little slip that said i had done jury duty in the last three years so...i had to go again.

not that that was a problem for me. i really, really, really want to be on a jury! i don't know why, exactly, but i feel like it's something that is very important in our justice system, the trial by a jury of your peers, and if i was ever in court being charged for a crime, or sued, or suing someone else, then i would want a jury to hear my case...it's the least i could do for anyone else then.

the first time i got called i lived in medford and got called to a courthouse in framingham or someplace like that. it was far away and hard to find, but there were no cases that needed a jury that day so it didn't take long and we were able to go home fairly quickly. i was bummed, but also like "cool, at least it didn't take all day like i thought it would."

the second time i got called my permanent address was in beverly and i got called to a courthouse in salem. this time there actually was a case that needed a jury. we all got called into the courtroom and the judge sent some people home right away. not me though, i actually got called up to sit on the jury stand...i was so excited...then one of the lawyers kicked me off the jury for no reason, i guess they're allowed to do that. so i went home again, this time even more bummed than before because i was so close, i mean, i really thought i was going to hear the case that time, but i didn't. lose.

that brings us to today, or to about a month and a half ago when i received the summons. i was pretty excited at first because i was being called to a boston courthouse. you see, both of the other times i had gone there were only about twenty other people who had been called, so this time i thought, "surely boston will have a number of trials that will need a jury. there will probably be a few more people there, but i'll still have a pretty good chance of sitting on a jury."

well...there were a few more people in the jury pool this time...about 250 more people!!! i mean, jeez, i stood in line for ten minutes just to tell them that i was there!

we were supposed to be there at eight, so that's when i got there. i told them that i was there and was given a card that said i was on "panel #10, juror #16." there were seventeen panels in all and i don't know how many jurors were on each panel, but i guessed it had to be at least sixteen if i was the 16th in my panel. that's at least 272 people!!!

anyway, it wasn't until ten after nine that everyone had arrived and been confirmed to be there. a woman came up to the podium at the front of the room and said that a judge was going to come in and explain some things and then there would be a seventeen minute video and between the two most of our questions would be answered. the judge did come in and made some joke about how there were probably only four or five people in the room that were actually somewhat excited to be there and possibly be on a jury. that got a chuckle from everyone, i laughed in my head and contemplated throwing out my "wrecking laugh," but refrained. i guess i have some respect for hizzonor.

the judge continued by saying that it was important for us to be here and that there were seventeen other judges in the building who were at that very moment calling forward a number of trials, both criminal and civil, to determine whether or not they need a jury or if the two sides can come to an agreement without the need of the trial. after hizzonor was done the video played which basically walked us through how the jury was selected from the jury panels.

well, that ended at about nine forty-five and the woman came back up to the podium and said that they should know how many trials would need a jury by about ten thirty so we had a break until then, but we must be back in the room by then! if we weren't and our panel was called and we weren't present then we wouldn't get credit for the day of jury duty.

another thing i have to say before i continue...i worked the overnight last night, so i hadn't slept at all before going into my jury duty, even now i haven't really slept all that much since ten o'clock yesterday morning. also, before work last night i went to the red sox game with lucas (thanks, lucas!!!) and i couldn't take my bag into the park, so i had nothing to keep me occupied while waiting in the jury pool. no book, no magazine, no ipod. just my cell phone, my wallet and my keys. that being said...

i thought to myself, "forty-five minute break? aw, i'll just stay here, lean back in my chair (which were pretty comfy and reclined nicely) and close my eyes for a bit, since i'm so tired." so that's what i did.

the next announcement was made at twelve fifteen, two and a half hours later.

i slept for about eight percent of those two and a half hours. the other twenty percent i spent playing texas hold 'em on my cell phone and reading a newspaper that i bummed off of someone who had finished it. people got restless after about an hour. you could hear moans and groans every once and a while, people were up and down out of their seats, asking the court clerks (or whatever they might be called) if they had any info on when we would know what was up...

i just tried to sleep.

but then the lady got back up at the podium and announced that panels 1-6 would be alllowed to leave for a lunch break (which they had told us would be at one pm), but they had to be back in a half hour. she then said that she would have an announcement for the rest of us shortly and it was then that i knew i wouldn't be getting on a jury today.

i was right. fifteen minutes later she returned and thanked everyone for coming, but there were only six trials that needed a jury, so we weren't needed, but it was because we were there that the other trials were able to be settled without an actual trial and that she would see us all again in three years.

so i left the courthouse a little bummed out and very tired, but having learned a few things. first, the "one day or one trial" system of serving jury duty is much better than the old system of having to serve for a full thirty days consecutively, which was done nation wide up until the early seventies or some time like that (and still is done in some states, they said, though i don't know which ones. probably tennessee, alabama and/or utah). massachusetts was actually the first state to put into practice the "one day or one trial" system statewide.

and also...if i do want to be on a jury someday, it might be better for me to go to a smaller court where the jury pool is smaller. so, maybe in three years when i respond to my summons i'll ask to serve my jury duty in another county or something. or maybe it won't be three years...maybe i'll "lose" my jury duty certificate and get called up again in only one or two years! whenever it is, i'll be sure to let you know how it goes that time.

- adamov killidol, esq.

also...7-11's pre-made sandwiches are very good and i recommend them.

Posted By adamov killidol, esq. @ 1:32 PM

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