Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A day on jury duty

Had to go in for jury duty the other day. They bring in maybe 100 people and put them all in a waiting room until a judge asks for a group (anywhere from a dozen to 30) for a jury pool. My name never got called. Went in at 8, got dismissed at 4:30, the check (12 bucks!) is in the mail.

Three things you might not know about Mecklenburg County jury duty:

-- They show movies! On two big-screen TVs! The day I was there featured a battling-with-mental-illness twin bill: "A Beautiful Mind" and "Radio."

-- If you're still there in the afternoon, you get free popcorn to go along with the movie.

-- If you'd rather skip the flicks, there's a quiet room where you can read, knit, doze, etc. That's where I spent most of the day.

At one point, somebody in one of the movies let out a horrifying scream that we could hear all the way in the quiet room.

There was silence for a moment. Then a guy one row behind me said: "Oh, no. They killed a juror."

Jury-duty humor. You can't beat it.

Add your tales of jury service, civic duty and long hours in waiting rooms below.

19 comments:

Mike said...

And then they wonder why people go out of their way to avoid jury duty?

It might be a tad different if they applied the minimum wage law to sitting around all day, but, come on! $12 a day?

Government intelligence is killing us!

DebJ said...

I made two necklaces during jury duty!

BTW, did you see Steve Blow's colum in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday?

jjw901 said...

They must have a very small video library. 'Radio' was showing when I went well over 2 years ago.

Sorry to see that you 'had to go'. I felt then and I feel now that it's everyone's civic duty. Your tone, Tommy, comes off that you saw it as a nuisance.

YouEnjoyMyself said...

It is freaking nuisance!

marcusclarkus said...

I've never made the cut for jury duty. I like the idea of movies and popcorn. I live in Iredell County, so it probably a campfire and smores up here.

Anonymous said...

convict the sucker so we can go...
I hope I never need an advocate on a jury!

Anonymous said...

I had jury duty over a month ago, and I got to see two full movies and eat popcorn if that gives you any indication of how it went. I know it's your "civic duty" but come on, if you aren't picked by 2 you should get to go home. Although as a bonus I got to use the 12 bucks to take my fiancee out to dinner!

Evan M. Thomas said...

We all have our horror stories. Mine has to do with the fact that I’m visually impaired and use a cane. I could have used my disability to get out of jury duty but I didn’t because I felt it was my civic duty.

So I made the (expensive) effort of taking a cab to jury duty that day. Soon enough I was called back and placed in the Jury box. The DA grilled me with several leading questions about my eye sight, ending with the question, “do you think you can be a full juror given your visual impairment?”

To which I obviously only had one answer or I wouldn’t have bothered to show up, “Yes, sir.”

The DA pointed his finger at me and said, “Judge I want him off the jury!”

Thus my lesson in civics. Next time I’ll just stay home. And I thought justice was supposed to be blind.

Anonymous said...

I was 2 months pregnant when I got called. I was suffering from morning sickness, which was not a valid excuse to be dismissed in their opinion (I disagree). I was called in some time after lunch but was not picked to be on the jury (thank goodness). I did get to see Signs and The Village (horror movie day I suspect). No popcorm for us...how did I miss out?

Anonymous said...

How do you know that someone pointed their finger at you if you're blind? Maybe they wanted you out of the juror box because you're a big fat lier...

Anonymous said...

Last time I went was before they showed movies. They had a TV that stayed on 'Lifetime' all day, where they showed TV movies about battered women in court against their evil husbands. Not a good choice for prospective jurors.

Anonymous said...

at least you get $12 for your time. where i moved from (NJ), we only got $5 i think.

Anonymous said...

You need make sure you have adequate cause to call someone a liar. The individual said they are visually impaired. Being legally blind does not mean one sees what we do when we close our eyes tightly. I used to have a music teacher that was legally blind. He had to hold music with he nose almost touching the paper. Why is it that every time there is a space to make comments some dim bulb has to get mean. Maybe that is what the thinking impaired do in their free time.

Anonymous said...

It never fails..I get called every 4 years like clockwork. And then, to make things worse, they never let me sit on the jury because my husband and father are police officers. It is such a waste of my day. And believe me, I really do want to sit on one, but it is a waste of my day because I know my "connections" will have the defense dismissing me quickly.

Anonymous said...

I got called in about a year ago during a very busy time in my life, just moved into a new house and tons of work at the office, my boss actually asked me who he could call to get me out of there. I ended up getting picked for a trial early in the morning and had to sit in it a whole week so I didn't get to see any movies, just some Erkel at lunch time. We ended up being a hung jury.

Amanda E. said...

I WISH I could get jury duty. What a great experience and a break from the "norm". Where is everyone's sense of adventure? If you have a real job they'll pay your wages minus the $12.

Anonymous said...

I'm supposed to show up tomorrow. I'm self-employed, very busy, and very financially stressed right now. $12 a day is an insult. I'm going to lose at least $100 tomorrow if I have to sit around all day. That will be another $100 in credit card debt.

What a joke. I might as well be the one on trial, paying hundreds of dollars to a lawyer. Except I'm supposed to be the "good guy" this time...

Anonymous said...

Mecklenburg is doing a great job. Civics 101. Do your duty. But with wireless internet, lots of vending machines and a quiet room, I could work nearly the whole time. It's 1:50 now... wonder if I'll get called. This county really makes jury duty easy on its citizens. Stop complaining.

Anonymous said...

I understand that jury duty is our civic duty....however, I think that there are times in your life that it just isn't feasible. For example, I have 4 children ages 7,6,4, and 3. I stay at home,while my husband works. Needless to say, we are not in any kind of financial shape to hire a babysitter for the 2 kids that stay at home with me all day, and the 2 kids that get off the bus at 2:30. I wrote the court to let them know my situation, and they denied my request. So now we get to waste everyone's time by me going to pick up my 2 kids from school early (next thing you know I'll be chased by the truancy officer)drive 30 min with all 4 of my kids, and sit and wait in the waiting room with kids all day disturbing society. Congrats IREDELL COUNTY!!