Monday, February 15, 2016

jury duty is not glamorous

Sorry for the radio silence over here, life has been pretty crazy lately. And by crazy, I mean that I have been commuting to Baltimore (62 miles one way) every day for federal jury duty. We have off today because of the federal holiday but we'll be back at it tomorrow. I had always looked at jury duty with rose colored glasses on. I have no doubt that this comes from watching entirely too much Law & Order. I always felt a pang of jealousy when friends and family members got their summons. I would have sold my left leg to get to be juror #1 and read the verdict and, if on a really great case, make it into the courtroom sketch done that the different media outlets show on the news. Yep, I was dreaming big.


Never again. I was to report for jury duty at 8:30 on a Monday morning. I should have known on the first day when it took almost two and a half hours to get there and then I had to pay $30 for parking that this was going to be hell. The first day was simply jury selection. Our pool of 60 potential jurors was called down to what would be our courtroom around 10 in the morning.  We were quickly informed that this was going to potentially be a three week trial. [Insert blank stare emoji here.] Fabulous. After hours of the voir dire process, where I gave the judge approximately 68 reasons not to pick me, I was selected. Not as juror #1 but as alternate #4. Yep, fourth loser. I was literally the last person that they wanted on the jury. I left the courthouse at 10 minutes to 6pm feeling quite defeated. This was not at all how I had pictured this process going. Civic duty sucks.

We're now 9 days into the trial and it has been quite an interesting, eye-opening, experience and I am not in any way referring to the trial itself. I have come to a few realizations that I will share with you now. I have learned that the creepiest parking garages in Baltimore are the cheapest parking garages in Baltimore and paying $12/day to park hurts far less than $30/day even if you live in fear that your car may be gone when you get back.  I have learned that the best way to get out of jury duty is to eat the food served in the courthouse cafeteria. We lost a juror that way - lucky wench; however, I am not willing to take that gamble. I have learned decided that character witnesses are actually the worst thing you can do for yourself and I would really have to think long and hard about who would look the least crazy of the people I know if I am ever in need of a character witness. And finally, I have learned that it's funny scary the things people feel the need to share with you when you're forced to spend eight hours with them in a small room with no windows... 

On the upside, we'll be hearing closing arguments tomorrow. You know, if the snow and freezing rain doesn't close the courthouse for a second time during this process. Jury duty in the winter is the pits. Rumor has it though that the alternates don't have to stay for deliberation. I'll keep my fingers crossed but I will hold off on my celebratory dance until I know this for a fact...