Again?

I was summoned for jury duty again yesterday. It’s happened once a year like clockwork. Each time my juror number is really high (937 out of 999 yesterday), and each time I get called in.

Yesterday I sat and sat and sat. At 11am, I was called to a court room, along with 150 other people. We barely crammed in. The judge told us to go to lunch and come back at 2pm. By then it was 11:30. My hour-and-a-half lunch break was nice, but it was a rainy day, so I couldn’t walk the harbor.

Upon returning, we went through the usual process called voir dire, which everybody was pronouncing “vwa deer”. The judge started by announcing this was a homicide case and would take at least until the end of the week. He said anyone for whom this was a “painful inconvenience” should stand. At least fifty people stood. He then spoke with each of them individually about their reason for standing. It took more than an hour. I read a little, slept a little, and read a little more. He asked a few more questions, more peope stood up, more private conversations, more reading.

The judge’s last question was the one that almost had me standing. He asked this question: “Is there any question you wished I had asked you?” I almost stood so I could talk with him about my terrible experience last year and my feeling that something is broken in the Baltimore City court system, but by then it was quite late and no one wanted anyone else to stand. Plus, I was a little afraid that the judge might throw me in jail or something.

The lawyers went through at least a hundred people to get their final selection of 12 jurors and 4 alternates. I was not one of them. They were on juror number 818 when they got the final seat filled.

But it was freaky late! 6:50pm!

I was worried someone would see me taking a picture of my arm.

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9 Responses to Again?

  1. Lauren says:

    That’s such an interesting question – “Is there any question you wish I had asked you?” It seems surprisingly thoughtful for your jerky court system (and its marble-columned glory).

    • Brad says:

      The building is amazing and marbley. Maybe next year I’ll take some pictures of the interior if I can, but they might think I’m a terrorist. But getting arrested as a terrorist would be a pretty exciting post.

  2. Lloyd says:

    What were you reading? Was it other people’s minds?

    • Brad says:

      You don’t want to know what I was reading.

      Oh, okay, I’ll tell you anyway… It was Brisngr. Sorry.

      • Lloyd says:

        Before I looked that up, I first checked to make sure you fingers weren’t shifted over one key. I was going to say, “at least you didn’t waste the day” but nevermind.

  3. Beth says:

    I believe you forgot to mention the best part of the day. Mall pizza. Mmmmm…

  4. Deanne says:

    I am hating Baltimore on your behalf.

  5. Peggy says:

    Did they tell you anything about the murder? Do you suppose the killers may have just completed doing their taxes ?

  6. Karla says:

    I’ve received summons twice. The second time I was excused because I knew the prosecuting attorney. The first time I was in the pool for the very public (at least locally) trial of Katie Hall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Hall). That one nearly gave me a heart attack as I got a call at work in the middle of the week that I needed to report the following morning. I thought I had missed something in the mail! Turns out they were afraid they would run out of jurors because nearly everyone knew what was going on. That trial lasted 3 weeks before a plea bargain was reached. I’m glad I wasn’t in the jury, because that would have ticked me off!

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