The Wheels on the Justice System Go Round and Round

Guess who’s got jury duty?

Time for an interesting fact about me: counting today, I’ve been called down to the courthouse for jury selection exactly three times in my life.

I am in the process of serving on my third jury.

And so, this is why there is a brief pause in my usual offering of vaguely snarky media commentary and book reviews. Fret not, that’s all coming back as soon as I can 1) catch up on the shows I’ve been missing and 2) finish reading a damned book for once.

Something about yours truly must either really appeal to attorneys or just fail to offend them enough to send me on my way. I’ve joked to my friends that I have some kind of weird curse/blessing. It’s as if my fairy godparent came down and stood over my crib, then decided that instead of a more useful blessing, they decided to curse/gift me with having to serve on every single jury that I would ever possibly be considered for. Least useful blessing ever, or possibly the lamest curse in the history.

I jest, but I genuinely don’t mind doing this. Trial by jury is an integral part of the legal process. I am, however, in the really odd position of being able to compare various courts and the accommodations that are made for jurors.

In Texas, for example, the court ordered lunch for the jurors, as that trial was of such a sensitive nature that the judge didn’t want us leaving during our breaks (that trial lasted for about a week) on the off-chance that we might not get back in time. We were allowed to go home at night, but we were sequestered after our first day of deliberation stretched until late into the night with no end in sight. To be fair, the hotel that I stayed in that night served a particularly nice breakfast the next day. So that was a plus.

On the other hand, the chairs in that jury box were so damned uncomfortable that I invested in a cushion, and I STILL ended up with a bruised tailbone.

This time, there are comfortable chairs, and entirely too many Dunkin’ Donuts. Seriously. It’s even become a sort of running joke with the bailiff and the jury. While I’m generally a Krispy Kreme fan when I have no better options, I have to admit that I did quite enjoy the maple-frosted ring that I sampled today.

I reside in a small town that is directly adjacent to a small city, so we don’t have a huge courthouse. The jury box is directly beneath the judge’s bench, which means that we’re staring straight out at the courtroom. It’s a really odd feeling that I am both uncomfortable with and completely understand. It feels a little like the jury box was added as an afterthought, but it emphasizes that we are the ones that are tasked with coming to a decision here. The judge even emphasized the importance of the role of the jury, and explained that this is why the court stood for the entrance and exit of the jury (as a sign of respect).

By the time you read this, I’ll be installed in the jury box once more, going through the second (and hopefully final) day of the trial. After this, I expect to be returning to our regularly scheduled programming of book reviews and television commentary. I haven’t even BEGUN to talk about this season of Riverdale. And I adore this whack-a-doodle show so much.

You had me at creepy monster with sticks for arms, Riverdale.

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