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Monday, January 21, 2008

Jury Update

I didn't realize so many people were waiting for the outcome of my jury status...Oddly enough, I received a few comments, and emails asking about it. So, here's the story. (Sorry Christyn, you've heard all of this already...)

Yes, I got there on time...technically. Jury duty began at 8am, and I was parked in the jury specified lot by 7:54am (irritated already that it took me 15 minutes to be able to turn left onto the street to take me to the lot...not a good intersection - no stop sign or light, and plenty of traffic going straight!). I had to walk a block or two to get to the courthouse and then remembered the security issue (you know, when I saw the two very slow moving lines that ended with the metal detector right inside the doors). Luckily, I was not even close to the only juror still standing in line to get in. There were quite a few of us out there, clutching our little summonses and complaining about the traffic near the parking lot.

Once in, I found the jury assembly room, which was much larger than I had expected and kind of reminded me of a lecture hall from college (only with a much more current color scheme, and a section to the side with tables and chairs). It was pretty packed, but I found a seat before the welcome talk began and continued reading the book that Moriah's mom had given me on vacation (Four to Score, by Janet Evanovich).

Good thing I brought it along, because it was a few hours before the judge came in to discuss what case the jury selection was for, and how she was handling the selection. Instead of hauling us all into the courtroom to begin calling up groups of jurors, we had to either file a hardship for the judge to review or fill out a questionnaire if we were not going to try to get out of it. Those that filled out the questionnaire were dismissed, but told to come back on Tuesday morning for the actual jury selection. But, since it was this case, it hit a bit close to home for me, so I filled out the hardship questionnaire. I didn't think I could handle it, because of my sister's fatal accident years ago, and didn't think I could be impartial. So, that's what I said (with a bit more detail for the judge).

It took a few more hours for the judge to review all of the hardship requests (which was most of the prospective jurors that had reported that morning), but finally someone came in and started making the announcements of who was dismissed, and handing out the letters for our employers. Mine was one of the last 20 names called, after a psyche-out from the lady reading off the names. (She put down her last sheet of paper and announced that was it for the hardships, then said she was just joking...not funny!)

So, I went to work afterwards, but really didn't get anything done, since everyone was asking me about it, and I'm a bit of a talker...this included at least a half hour (if not more) spent discussing jury/trial stuff with my boss.

Anyway, I don't have to go for the selection tomorrow, which is a relief. I really was worried that I'd be called for it, and have to sit through 4 weeks of trial (which is the estimated length of the trial) and look at photographic evidence of the crash scene and victim's families' testimony. Just thinking about it brings up too many memories and emotions of my sister's crash, and knowing what my family went through, I'd probably be in constant tears in the jury box. Which leaves little sympathy for the defendant, though his defense is stating he is developmentally delayed and had a seizure causing him to lose control of his car. (From the article, it doesn't sound like there's a really a delay, but rather a seizure disorder of some sort...that was not diagnosed until after the crash - very odd...)

Anyway, I'm glad the decision for this one is not on my shoulders. I'd hate for this trial to end in a hung jury again, since it has previously, and this is the re-trial.


kerri said...

Interesting. Glad you didn't get picked for sure. And you? A talker? Never. :)

christyn said...

Yeah, and those 30 minutes w/the boss talking, was at my desk, and before that was another 20-30minutes of her talking to just me. LOL! =) It was not a productive day.

Kristin said...

Glad you were able to get out of it.
Tami a talker. ??? I have no idea how Shannon blocks us out like he does.

Joie said...

Glad you brought a book. Deadly dull, isn't it??
I'm glad things worked out the way they did. I can see how difficult being picked for this case would have been. That court lady's joke was very BAD.... :(

Calamity Jen said...

Oh Tami, how awful that you even had to THINK about being a juror for this case. I'm very glad that you were excused.

Dagny said...

If you had not been eliminated when you were, you probably would have after voir dire -- when the attorneys ask the prospective jurors questions. Glad to hear that you didn't have to sit through that case.