jury duty – it’s your duty!

Today I had the distinct pleasure of going down to City Hall and serving as a potential juror. Last night I called the selection commission’s number in the hopes that my instructions had changed and I did not have to appear. No such luck.

The time I had to appear was 8:15, which is actually an obnoxious time. If I take the 7:52 train, there was the chance I would be late, and in contempt of court. If I take the (next earlier) 7:24 train, I would be there at 7:40 and have to wander around a section of Philadelphia I do not particularly like to frequent just to “kill” time. I ended up taking the 7:40 train, getting a pretzel at 7-11, sitting under a tree and watching an individual get arrested for assaulting a woman. I had better not get selected as a witness in some other case…

At 8:15 I went into the Criminal Justice Center and handed in my summons. After swearing I was not a city employee, I went to a rather large room with flat panel television screens to wait. As I waited I had to ask myself how much of my city wage tax went to fitting that room with seven 42-inch flat panel tv sets. We were all given a questionnaire for both criminal and civil trials. The questionnaire contained such questions as “are you more likely to believe a police officer because of their job,” or “have you or anyone close to you ever been sued.” After answering a bunch of the questions I was convinced that no defence attorney would ever want me on their trial. THEN the selection commision shows a video about how to anwer the questionnaire, for those I presume could not read or did not know what YES and NO really meant.

Shorthly thereafter, two judges came into the room, one of which gave a brief history lesson on our branches of government and how the Judicial Branch, and namely the jury system was the only way we as American citizens can truely affect how we are governed. According to him everyone in the Executive branch was corrupt. (Should they really have had him say that?!?!) Then another judge came in and said basically the same thing.

Next we were all assigned to a case and given a juror number. I was number 39/40. That could have either been good (they already picked all 12 before they got to me) or bad (they didn’t have 12 yet and I was going to be on it no matter what.) My case was a civil trial and I was told that they were considering settling.

After what seemed like forever, they came in to tell us that our case had settled and we were “free to go.” Apparently I was being held against my will…

At least I have one year to NOT worry about getting called again.

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