My Civic Duty

Posted Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 at 08:05 PM

Arg.  A Jury Summons.

Everyone’s worst nightmare: Jury Duty. Actually, I didn’t mind too much to be called up. I have the blessing of having a very flexible job and could take the 2 or 3 days I needed without it causing too much trouble. So today I did my Civic duty and showed up at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court bright and early at 8:30, along with 50-60 of my fellow unlucky chumps citizens.

It was interesting to be sitting there in a room full of strangers from every age, race, and socio-economic level–some of which, we’re obviously not happy to be there!

I should’ve brought a book.

It was really exciting to walk into the courtroom. It was my first time since a field trip in junior high to be in an actual courtroom. It’s a lot smaller than on TV, the baliff’s have quite a prescence, and the judge looks very far away in his chair. The lawyers didn’t look attractive actors, the defendants didn’t look the evil looking actors, but the assistant D.A. looked a lot like Angie Harmon.

The judge gave us the details of the case: 3 men who (allegedly) robbed a bank in Aptos in 2003. Awesome–I’d love to hear this case, I thought. There was an audible gasp from my fellow prospective jurors when the judge warned that the trial was expected to be 6 weeks long!

When the judge asked those of us who would be available for these 6 weeks, about 1/3 of us stood up–mostly elderly, retired-looking folks, and women who probably were homemakers and had money-making husbands. The rest of us had to convince the judge later 1 on 1 of our “extreme hardship.” I told the judge that I was the primary income source, that I worked for a non-profit and didn’t make much money anyway, and that I had a baby. It seemed like the baby part didn’t the trick and I was excused.

Phew. I would glady sit on a jury for a case that was 3 days or even a week long, and I like Law and Order, but by-golly man, 6 weeks!?

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