A couple of weeks ago, I had to report for federal jury duty. This being my first experience as a potential juror, I was pretty excited! I had no idea what to expect, but soon after we were seated in the jury assembly room, the court representative informed us that our panel would go to one of two courtrooms--one with two cases to try, and the other with a single case, and that they didn't expect us to be there for more than three or four days.
I kept wondering . . . "Will they strike me?" I had to wait to find out.
Fortunately, a friend had advised me to take along a book. I also had a snack in my purse. There was a fair amount of waiting around for the rest of the jurors to check in, but with a snack and a book, I'm pretty content. (There isn't nearly enough courtroom humor in the courtrooms these days.) Reading, snacking, reading, snacking . . . finally, we were escorted up to our courtroom. My group was assigned to the judge with only one case to try--yeah!
The judge informed us that this was a cocaine trafficking case, and he introduced the attorneys and the defendant, the latter looking so completely at ease that I thought if you had stuck a tie on him, he could have passed as one of the lawyers. "I get the feeling that he's been here before . . . a lot," I thought to myself, just after having sworn that I could be completely objective and unbiased. Well, shoot, being objective doesn't mean you can't read body language, does it?
While we sat through all the juror questions, I quietly chatted with a nice lady accountant seated next to me, and finally, the lawyers and the judge huddled at the front of the courtroom for a few minutes, and then they called out the names of the selected jurors, who then got to move up to the comfortable chairs in the front.
Well, they didn't select me nor my accountant friend, and they dismissed us a little before noon. We escaped out into the gorgeous spring weather, happy that we had (sorta) done our civic duty that day.