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Jury duty day...

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Published: June 9, 2008 at 9:13 PM

Sorry for the lack of posts today. I wasn't able to do my usual every-waking-moment-online routine today because I instead spent the day in downtown Los Angeles... on jury duty.

I've been called every couple years since I've been living in L.A., but this was the first time I had to report in person. Under California's system, when you are summoned by mail for jury duty, you have to call in the Sunday evening before you are scheduled to report. If they do not need you that day, you will be asked to call for the next four evenings. If they haven't called you in to report in person by Thursday night, you are done with your jury duty service and can't be summoned again for another year.

That's what I had done the last three times I was summoned. (Hint: If you don't want to have to report in person, postpone your service until the week before Christmas. Lots of teachers on break in the jury pool, and no trials, 'cause no lawyer wants to start a trial just before Christmas.) But this time, I was told to come in.

Once you get past the tedium of waiting for an assignment, and get into the courtroom, well, I found the experience a nice refresher in democracy. The lawyers and the parties stand for you as you enter the room. The judge instructs everyone in the process, and the potential jurors all learn something about due process, equal protection and civic duty in the process. As much it seems like a pain getting to that point in the courtroom, I think that's a worthy experience for all citizens to have every few years.

All that said, though, I'm off the hook. I wasn't selected for a jury on the day I reported in person, so, under California's system, I'm done. Off the hook for another year.

So... tomorrow morning, it's back to theme parks. In the meantime, chat amongst yourselves about jury duty, if you'd like.

Readers' Opinions

From Scott Thatcher on June 10, 2008 at 7:26 AM
I hear people try to avoid Jury Duty like the plague. I've been very lucky. 41 years old and never been called for Jury Duty (knock on wood)!!
From Joshua Counsil on June 10, 2008 at 9:31 AM
Court room drama is a major movie/TV seller. Theme parks should capitalize on that.

Jury Duty: Extreme Justice

From Deidre Dennis on June 10, 2008 at 9:32 AM
I had the privilege of serving jury duty on a federal extortion case once. The experience was awesome and I'm actually waiting to be called again because that was over 12 years ago.

I must be crazy...

From Rob Reynolds on June 10, 2008 at 10:05 AM
I had jury duty recently and just like most things operated by the government it's inefficient and slow. Speaking of - what's the deal with service lately at Six Flags parks? Recent feedback from friends and family seem to indicate that basic customer service is serioulsy lacking. I recently experienced this lack of service at Six Flags Over Texas. As an example, I waited in line for 30-40 minutes to be greeted by a less than pleasant food service worker who didn't seem to care whether I was there or not. Look I understand that these jobs are generally filled by younger people who probably don't care that I am standing in front of them asking for a corn dog. However, Six Flags needs to take initiative to find ways to motivate and/or train their employees regarding the concept of customer service. Not to mention the appearance of some of their employees. I felt like I was talking to gang members at times when I simply wanted to purchase a $4 coke. I just think with the high ticket and food prices at Six Flags, I should have the right to expect a fair level of customer service. Maybe I'm way off base but that's my opinion.
From LJ Warner on June 10, 2008 at 10:04 AM
I've been called twice to duty, once was not seated to a jury and the other time I had to write out an essay on why I shouldn't be placed on a jury. It was for a double murder trial, I stated in my essay that while I didn't get paid for duty I could arrange my work schedule to be able to attend the trial and still work - but did the judge really want a sleepy juror? The answer was NO and I went home after getting paid a whopping 32 cents for my milage (I walked to the courthouse) and losing a days pay
Besides Christmas week, any week with a federal or state holiday also decreases ones chances to get called for jury duty. Not that anyone was wondering.
From James Rao on June 10, 2008 at 4:01 PM
I always try to mimic Jimmy Stewart in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON whenever I have jury duty ("But yer honor, ya can't do that without the will of the people!"). It seems to scare people off and I get sent home.

If that doesn't work, I tell bad legal jokes, like this one:

You know you need a new lawyer when.... the one you have fires off a "whatever" every time the judge says "overruled."

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