My Experience of Jury Duty

January 14, 2015 Vicki

Back in the middle of December of 2014, I got a notice in the mail that I was summoned for Jury Duty. This was my third time since I turned 18 being called. The first time I got out of it because I was a student and the second time I tried to, but wasn’t excused, and I did try, but they wouldn’t excuse me, but was never selected as a juror. Now its my third time being called, and I fill out my paper work and mail it in. I was summoned for January 6, 2015. I called the day before to see if I’m needed and I was. I was standby juror #384. I got to the jury assembly room around 7:45, and they finally got things started there about 10am. While at the jury assembly room, they have us fill out these forms asking us questions.  That gets done and then they tell us there are 4 cases today, all of which are criminal, someone told me that if you’re summoned for Jury Duty on a Tuesday, that means criminal. They call out names for a first group of people which are 60 people, and my name isn’t called. Then they call out names for the second group of people which are 60 names as well, I was the 10th person called for that group. Even though I was standby juror number 384, I now have become juror #10. Anyway, we all got into a single file line outside the room, and I learned that adults don’t know how to stay  in a single file line, and people seem to go missing.  I said to the girl in front of me how I really don’t understand how adults can seem to follow instructions that a 5 year old could follow. Anyway, we finally get to the room where they have the jury selection, and the ADA and the defense attorneys, along with the defendant are there. While we are walking in, the defense attorneys start crossing people out who they didn’t want as a juror. I’m not sure if the ADA was doing that also. Let me tell you it was scary walking in and having them stare at you. I sort of felt like they were talking about me before I even got there, ha ha.

We all sit down and the judge tells us what the defendant is being charged with and she ask us if we are familiar with the case at all. Only a small handful people stood. She also ask if we knew any of the attorneys, and if we knew any of the witnesses. They said witnesses names who may or may not be testifying. A few people stood for that. So after they’re done asking us questions, they begin to call people up to be interviewed by the judge and attorneys. I was never called up at all so I thought they weren’t picking me. Anyway, it took them about two hours to pick 12 jurors and two alternates.  They basically pick you from looking at you, and your answers from your questions you were asked.  The court commissioner stands up and calls us up. She calls juror #10 which is me and tells me I now am juror #3. We go and sit in the jurors box, and they dismiss all the others who were not picked.

We all go to the jurors room where they take our phones away from us and we stay there for about 20 minutes or so. They bring us back into the courtroom where the ADA and the defense attorney give their opening statements which lasted about maybe 10 minutes from each of them. We then go back to the jurors room, and they tell us to where our juror pin at all times around the courthouse and we leave for the day.

Its now day #2, and we all have to go to this room, and they check us in and they take away our phone and any newspapers we may have. They knock on our door to tell us its our two minute warning its almost time to go into the courtroom. . We go in and listen to witnesses and then we end the day around 4:30. I was there from about 9am that day till about 4:30 with about an hour lunch break.  They do give your cell phones back to you on lunch and when you go home. The judge tells you not to discuss the case with anyone or not to go to the crime scene to conduct your own observations.

It’s now day #3, I get there around 9am and check in  and they take my phone.  The equipment in the courtroom isn’t working so we go to lunch around 10:30am. We get back around from lunch at about 11:30. We start hearing testimony and we finally get done for the day around 6pm.

It’s now day #4, I get there around 9am and check in and they take my phone.  We go got into the courtroom and listen to one witness, and the defense attorney and ADA makes their closing arguments.

We then go to deliberating, and it takes us 3 hours to reach a verdict. I learned this, even if you’re both jurors you are NOT allowed to talk about the case until deliberations. So after we reach the verdict, we head back to the courtroom and we give them our verdict and then head back to the jurors room. The judge thanks us and gives us our certificates and then I got a check in the mail for $65.00.

Now, thanks for reading this if you did. I appreciate it. If you’re ever summoned for jury duty, I would try to go. I left feeling proud I did. I now will no longer get mad at a jurors for their  verdicts. You  don’t know the evidence they have, and how the state defines crimes.  If you’re one of those types of people who often get mad about verdicts, go and be an actual juror and you may  see things differently šŸ™‚

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