Jury Duty

It sure seems like we’ve had a lot going on here lately. So, we’ve been here all of a year and 5 months now, and I get a jury summons about 1 1/2 weeks prior to when I’m supposed to show. I don’t know how I get these "random" summons when Stephen never gets them. I’ve been summoned twice since we’ve been married (once in Houston, and once here), and him…not once! It must be something about the "JJ" initials that makes my name shoot out. Anyway, my boss was thrilled to say the least when I told her about my summons, especially since I had full clinics already scheduled for Monday through Wednesday of this week. So, they scurry to reschedule my patients and shuffle them around to other providers, all the while encouraging me to be prejudiced and racist, etc, so I don’t get chosen. Never in any other situation would that be considered funny.

So, I show up this Monday along with a ton of other people for this outing. So, I figure out of this many people, there is no way my name will get called. Well, they inform us that there are 4 different trials that they will be selecting jurors for, one of which was starting on Monday, and the others at different times throughout the week. Lovely. So, my name gets called for "Panel X" which is to show up the NEXT DAY in another court building! WHAT?! Not only do I mess up my Monday morning, I have to go again the next day somewhere else. Once again, my boss was thrilled. But, what can you do?

So, I show up with 19 other people the next day to another court. We are there for voir dire or jury selection. Big words, I know. So, they explain how voir dire works, and that we have to be fair and impartial and if we are selected, we have to follow the law, whether or not we agree with the law in our personal beliefs, etc. Out of us 20 people, they will be selecting 6 for that particular trial. Anyway, they go through all this talk before they get to what the case is about. My heart started pounding as I heard the attorney say, "Would anybody here not be able to be fair and impartial for a case on Driving While Intoxicated?" They still hadn’t given any details about the specific case. As I felt my body get hot and my heart pounding even more, I raised my hand. As the attorney quickly tried to figure out my name from his seating chart (I also happen to know that I was potential juror "8X"), he asked me why. For those that know me really well, you will know why, but for the others, I will clue you in. So, in front of everyone, I say "My father was killed by a drunk driver." The attorney was like…oh. But, he continued with, "I’m sorry for your loss. Was this recently?" DOES IT MATTER!? I told him no, it was when I was 2. So, he continues with the questioning, "So you don’t feel you could be fair and impartial on this case?" Hello?! I replied, "Uhhh…probably not." To which he said, "We need a yes or no please." WHO’S ON TRIAL HERE?? He continues with rephrasing the question several different ways, as if I’m going to suddenly change my answer! After a few attempts at trying that, the judge finally says, "Please approach the bench." Man, oh man. So, I walk up to the judge along with the attorneys. Here, the other attorney verifies that it’s the nature of the crime, and the personal nature of such a crime, that would prohibit me from being fair and impartial, and that in a different case, I might be ok. DUH!? Is it that difficult to understand?  So, after that was verified, the judge thanked me for coming to the courts and taking time to do so, and said I was excused, and ended with "Sorry for your loss." I thought that was an interesting tag that the attorney and the judge used, but I guess their intentions were good.

So, anyway, that was the beginning of my week. I was the first potential juror let go. 8X was marked off their list! So, I would like to continue further in the voir dire in the future and even possibly be on a jury, but I don’t know what kind of case I would be suited for. DWI is certainly not the one for me. Of course, one side might have liked to have me on the jury! It sure might have made the jury deliberations interesting…."Hang ’em. Shoot ’em." haha.

Maybe I’ll be off the jury circuit for a little while. We’ll see. I want Stephen to be summoned sometime! Anyway, that’s all for this post.

—jen Smile 

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