Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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My Butt Hurts!

The wheels of justice turn slowly, and my butt is paying the price.

I've been on jury duty for two days now, and those two days have been spent sitting on a metal folding chair, waiting for my name to be called.  It was finally called this afternoon, and I thought I would get to go up to a courtroom for a shot at sitting on a jury.  But, I (and everyone else whose name was on that particular list) was told to go back tomorrow.

This is the first time I've been called for jury duty and, I must say, it's not quite what I imagined.  I thought it would be interesting, but it's about the most boring thing I have ever done.

In the beginning, there were hopes it would be different.  On Monday, after the week's potential jurors had assembled in the jury assembly room, one of the judges came in and gave us a little pep talk.  Not only were we performing a VERY IMPORTANT SERVICE, he said, but we were here on a VERY BUSY WEEK.  He said the first few weeks of June are always busy with trials because NO trials are scheduled during July and August.  During this particular week, the judge said, seven trials (five criminal, two civil) were scheduled, so it seemed like we'd have stuff to do.  I should have realized differently when, as he was leaving, the judge said he'd be ready for a list of potential jurors in about an hour!

So, we would-be jurors (about 150, I'd say), waited.  Some of them mingled outside the assembly room; others, like me, stayed in the room, reading or chatting.  Sure enough, in about an hour, the phone rang and the court official soon read off a list of people who would go upstairs to a courtroom for jury selection.  My name was not on that list.

Not long after, the phone rang again.  Again, people were called.  Again, I was not among them.  So, after more sitting and waiting, those of us remaining in the room were allowed to leave for lunch.

The afternoon brought more waiting.  Some of the people who had been called upstairs in the morning had returned to the room.  They were not chosen to be an actual juror, so they were thrown back into the pool with the rest of us.  The only call that came in the afternoon was the one telling us we could leave for the day.

This morning, we returned to the jury assembly room.  And, once again, we waited.  And waited.  I sat on a metal chair and read some more.  I chatted with the young man sitting next to me, a Philosophy major who's off to law school in the fall.  I read some more.  I went out in the hall for a drink of water.  Finally, we were allowed to leave for lunch.

When we came back this afternoon, the court official read off a list of names - people who would be taken up to a courtroom for jury selection - when the judge was ready for us.  My name was on that list!  Then, another list of names was also read, but they also had to wait for a judge to give the word.  At last, I thought, some action!  But, that was not the case.  After about an hour, the phone rang and the people on my list were told we could leave but we have to go back in the morning.  The people on the other list were still waiting for their instructions.

So, how boring is jury duty?  In the words of one woman, "I never wanted to go to work so badly in my life!"  Yeah, I hear that.   

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