part 2 of a multi-part series. click here for part 1
As you may have read on my previous post, I loved jury duty. Like really loved it. I picked up a lot of things along the way and wanted to share my experience with you. In today’s post, I am listing the top three things I learned about jury duty:
1. Jury selection is more complicated that I thought
I practically jumped out of my seat in excitement when the judge called my name. If you are lucky enough to be called up to the jury seats to be questioned by the judge and attorneys, it can actually be a bit intense. Pretty much everyone up there is trying to figure out how they can eliminate themselves from being selected. I had a different mentality, I wanted to be chosen. I was determined to be as neutral and non-controversial as possible so that both sides wanted me on the jury. You are sworn under oath that you will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so I wasn’t about to lie.
Once I found out that the suit was about medical malpractice… for plastic surgery, I felt like I hit the jackpot!
We were asked questions like: “Are you or someone you’re related to currently involved in a lawsuit?” A woman behind me raised her hand. What came out of her mouth next, I did NOT expect. When she was asked for what, she said that her husband was indicted for insider trading!!! It took all I could for my jaw not to drop. A few questions later they asked us: “Have you ever had plastic surgery?” That same woman raised her hand again. Keep in mind, she couldn’t have been more than 40 years old. The attorney asked her what for. She told him breast reconstruction. He then asked “Why?” She told him for breast cancer. Ok, let’s all agree that this woman has been through enough in her life and should go home and be with her kids. The questions continued for about an hour & I was fairly confident I was going to be one of the 12. The judge and lawyers went behind closed doors to discuss for a while & when they came back into the courtroom, they didn’t call my name… which meant I was SELECTED!
2. You are essentially stuck inside the courtroom all day
On day 1, we were told by the deputy that we would start each day at 9:30am, break every 45 min, have an hour and 15 min for lunch & be out by 4:30pm. By my account, that seemed like a lot of wasted time. As it turns out, the only thing that was standard was the hour and 15 minutes for lunch. Which, by the way, is the only time you are able to leave the courtroom. It’s amazing how an hour of sunlight can energize you to sit through the remainder of the day. I learned to love sidebars and the mini breaks that the judge gave us so I could check my phone or stand up for a second.
The jurors have their own room, complete with two bathrooms. One for women and the other for men. Since the entire room was the size of my former studio apartment, I had to quickly get over the fact that everyone can hear whatever goes on inside the bathroom. You have no choice, you can’t leave until lunch.
3. You can’t talk to anyone involved in the case at anytime
This seems pretty obvious and simple, I know. However, each morning when you walk into the courtroom and to the jury room, you have to pass the lawyers, plaintiff and defendant. You aren’t even allowed to say “hello” or “good morning” to them. You have to head straight to the jury room… then you can say hi to your new friends. The only time it was difficult to not exchange any words was if you were stuck in the elevator or the bathroom with the plaintiff. This woman was clearly not a rule follower and tried to grab your attention any chance she had. She went to great lengths to try and speak to us, even calling people from her phone and talking about the case in front of us. In the end, we all stood strong and didn’t engage in conversation with her.
There are many other little things that I learned throughout my time at jury duty, but these topped my list. Is jury duty something that I would like to do on a monthly basis? Nope. Yearly? Absolutely. Put it on my calendar!