Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dissed and dismissed - Jury Doodie Update

Well THAT was rude. After weeks of build up and anticipation, I was called up to the big leagues for 4 hours and then sent home. I won't lie you guys, it stung.

See, remember when I got the notice about Jury Duty? Well, my citizen-ly duty of serving on a jury has officially come and gone so I can finally dish on the patriotic experience.

Here's one thing I will say about the process: No one is in a hurry to do anything. Except give me a parking ticket for parking in the wrong lot at the government center. See, I was "on call" for a full WEEK before being called in. Every night, I'd have to call this phone number and find out if I'd have to take a shower a put on pants the next day to go serve on a jury. It was an impossibly slow and tedious process. And it was nerve-wracking. For five stupid days, I'd get all ramped up to hear my number called, and it never happened.

But then it happened. I got a call-back to be on jury duty. It was like what I imagine American Idol is like. I was excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. What if it was a murder case? A rape trial? A kangaroo court? (Whatever that is.) On the morning of my first day, I left a full 50 minutes before the government center even opened because I didn't want to be late. (Meanwhile, everything in Rochester is 11 minutes away. EVERYTHING.) And I started off my heroic journey into judicial stardom by parking in the wrong lot and sitting in my car for 35 minutes browsing Reddit. Then I went in to the courthouse to change lives.

Serving on jury duty is boring. I sat with a bunch of strangers who had no desire to talk to me, even though I had my "conversation-starter Nordic leggings" on. Everyone just sat and ignored everything until some dude came in to explain the process and tell us not to worry about the 50 police officers that we may see near the courtroom. Then we were herded up to the courtroom where we sat again and just waited. My God, this is slow...

Finally, the judge started talking and we "met" the dude facing charges and two lawyers with a billion stacks of papers in front of them. (Um, wouldn't it be more efficient/earth-friendly to keep all that stuff in a Word doc?'s called a computer, people.)

Then they started asking us a bunch of questions. How we felt about that, what we think about this. Are we pro- or anti-violence? Pro- or anti-nutjobs? Could we make rational decisions, or were we insane? Blah blah blah. I thought I nailed all the questions. Even when one of the lawyers called me out individually to ask how I felt about the criminal justice system, I really thought I blew them away with a super valuable response.

Other people sounded pissed to be there. They gave these nasty, impatient answers and didn't smile back at the charming attorney. RUDE. No one likes rude people, right?!

WRONG. People LOVE rude people, apparently. After about 2 hours of playing a judicial version of Hot or Not, the lawyers picked their teams. And NO ONE PICKED ME.

At the beginning of the process, the judge told us not to take it personally if we were not chosen to be on the jury. But I couldn't help it. It was the high school Homecoming Court all over again. I had been passed over by my peers and never really understood why. "You're free to leave," the judge said to all of us rejects, while all the super rude folks got comfy in the jury box.

I left the courthouse and got in my illegally-parked car. I didn't know where to go. I had planned to be changing lives and passing judgement all day, so now that I'd been dismissed, I didn't know what to do. It was all so...disappointing.

I was ready to be a hero. To be the voice of reason. To make an impassioned plea to my fellow jurors against a powerful song scored by John Williams. It was all going to be so epic. And then it wasn't. Because no one liked me OR my charming leggings.

So, the moral of the story is that I'm not fit for a jury, even though the government basically hunted me down the second I changed my address to this county so that I could be called in. Oh well. Their loss. I'm crazy-good at pretending to listen and then making a snap judgement. Amurrrica!

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