Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Jury is Out!

Today, Wednesday 19 December, 2007 I did my civic duty of "jury duty". Yippie Yahooie.
Now I am no stranger to jury duty as way back about 20 years ago I served on a jury on some sort of civil dispute that had something to do with someone wanting to get some money on some injury claims from an auto accident. With that case I forget all the details but I think the jury found in favor of the defendants I think (the people who were not claiming the injuries).
Anyway back to today.

I had to report to jury duty today at 08:30 AM I got to the court house just a little before and waited in the line at the front door to pass through the metal detector, something I don't recall having to do 20 years ago. Then after getting scanned by the "wand" since the clasp part of my key chain (I had unclasped the keys and most of the chain, but not the part around my belt) set off the red light in the metal detector. So then I go to the jury lounge to sign in and await the instructions. Ok that gets done, then there is a little waiting until about 1/4 to 9:00 when they give us the official welcome and some instruction on the procedures. Then they showed a video that was about 20 minutes that gave a brief history of juries and how they relate to the court system. The let us know that at around 9:30 they would start sending us to courtrooms and assigning trials. Well at 9:30 they said they hadn't heard from the courtrooms yet, but not to worry, it sometimes happens, they run a little slow and behind, the crimal trials negotiate and set up plea bargins etc...

They informed us that there were three trials on the docket today. A little after 9:30 there still wasn't much word so they gave us an official 15 minute break (meaning that if people wanted to they could leave the lounge area, which you are confined to, to go to the cafeteria or get stuff from their cars or whatever.) Oh they also have some computers in the back of the lounge so you can internet or I guess play solitare. I didn't diddle with the computers although I probably should have to see what could be accessed (probably not much). Anyway they leave us be for a while, and the time goes on and the time goes on. No updates on when we will be called to the courtrooms...

A long time we don't hear anything, then at around 10:45 they give us more info. One thing they didn't tell us until then was that all three trials were criminal trials. Mmmmm could be bad, could mean many days instead of just the one day. Mont. County (where I live) has a 1 trial/1 day system meaning you only have to report to jury duty on one day or for the length of one trial which could be a couple of days or maybe longer. If you don't get picked to serve on a trial during the day, you have still fulfilled your duty by showing up. OK so we are ready for the bad news. Then they also inform us that in all three trials the defendants took the bargain, thus avoiding the need for a jury. So that meant that they gave us our checks sent us home and we don't need to report back for 3-5 years.


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