Jury duty day...
Published: June 9, 2008 at 9:13 PM
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.