*:•..•:* Waiting *:•..•:*

As much as I intend to create a blog regarding my experience here doing my civil duty by serving in a pool of potential jurors, I find that their wifi is simply maddening and needs addressing before I can move on to the whole “Jury Duty” subject.
No wonder most of us here with laptops end up playing solitaire. No great surfing here!

So now – without further ado –

Jury Duty

The first part of my experience in this strange part of our lives as American citizens started with something I haven’t done in a great many years – riding the bus.

I don’t know why it was so difficult to figure out the route and schedule to follow. Maybe it was just fear of the unknown. It feels like it changed or got more complicated. That’s probably due to my lack of use though. Now that I’ve done it for a couple days that “fear of the unknown” has subsided. I used to catch the bus often when living as a teen in Hawaii. Things really haven’t changed all that much.

I started my trip by parking in the new(ish) downtown Auburn Transit station where you can catch either a bus or a train to just about anywhere in this part of the state, and then beyond if necessary. So I had to navigate the new parking structure and ended up picking a parking spot meant for permit parkers only. Oops! There goes the parking and gas money I saved by using the court-provided bus ticket in lieu of driving my car. Oh well, I get a whopping $10 a day for doing my civic duty and that will also just about pay that parking ticket.

Now, the actual time in the jury pool, for those of you who’ve never served. When I got to the courthouse I found the Jury Assembly room on the first floor and had to check in using that little push-out “badge” that comes on the Summons along with the aforementioned bus ticket. We were all instructed to collect a badge holder, a juror instruction sheet and a “Bio form”. This form gives generic information about us, age, sex, education, children, occupation, residence, etc. We filled out the form and awaited more instructions.

The Jury Assembly room includes plenty of seating, a small kitchen with a fridge, microwaves, sink & toaster. There are also restrooms, tables, magazines, vending machines and a separate room for computer use. They have wifi as I already mentioned but it leaves a lot to be desired. I opted to settle in the little internet room because there is no talking in here, everyone is either plugged into their laptop or their ipod. Out there people are all talking and being sociable – ick.

About an hour after we arrived a judge came in and spoke with us about what a privilege we are experiencing by doing our time in the jury pool. A short video followed reiterating basically what the judge already told us. Then one of the clerks covered some more specific instructions. Basically we wait, a judge will ask for a group of a certain size to be collected and they grab random names via the computer. Names are called, each one is assigned a number and you go to the courtroom to go through the selection process. I ended up being called as number 59 of 64 jurors needed for a civil case involving an asbestos lawsuit. We had to fill out a questionnaire and sign a form stating that we would be able to stay for as long as possibly 3 weeks. We lined up like kindergartners in the hall, took the elevator up to the 7th floor, lined up again and finally entered the courtroom. The judge spoke to us, reminding us of the rules of not speaking to anyone regarding the case or doing any independent research, etc. We were sworn in and then went to lunch. After lunch we repeated the lining up and elevator process. The judge addressed us again. The case had been settled during lunch! Back into the pool we go!

And that’s pretty much the way it went. We have to stay in the assembly room unless they allow us a break. But since everything is here anyway there’s really no reason to leave even for a break.

Today being Thursday we were just told that the chances are that they won’t be starting any more trials today and that we may actually be allowed to leave early, typically the day here ends at 4. Yesterday we were sent home at about 3. 2 days is our required time in the pool so after today, if I’m not assigned to a trial, I’m done. If I do get chosen then I serve as long as the trial continues.

Well, it’s 11:30 and one judge asked for a jury, the rest of us get to go home – woo hoo!

I think the court system has a real bargain on their hands, they get to hold us hostage for only $10 a day!

0 cats hacked up hairballs:

About Me

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.