Jury duty

August 4, 2009

My first time being called for jury duty and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was up for the adventure!

The day began when I arrived at court at 8:30 am, went through security, signed in and received my $10.  I then was told to go into the court room and sit in the one of the last three rows.  After a few moments the bailiff came in and let us know the procedure of how things would be happening, they still were however waiting on 14 no shows.  

Lucky for me I had brought a book (like Val told me to), so while waiting I began reading "Into the wild" - so the wait wasn't so bad...

When they called your name to get in order I couldn't help but notice the gentlemen's name who sat next to me, I asked him how it was spelled and it turned out was exactly the same way my last name would have been had it not been changed (long, but fun story), Wojciechowski was our shared last name, though of no relation... at least that we knew of. 

The bailiff returned again and put us in order of the "lottery" on which our names were drawn (I was lucky 7), so into the first row I went.  In a short time the lawyers would begin asking a series of question to decide if we would be a juror on the case.

Of the two possible cases that would go to trial both had out of state witnesses.  When the judge entered and court was in session.  There were three cases, and as it turned out all 3 pleaded no contest.  The judge encouraged this when at all possible.

Once all the court procedures were done and all the parties left the judge sat down and discussed with us each of the cases and why he had expected them to go to trial and how he worked with the lawyers in both the cases to try and avoid a trial if possible.

Each case was explained to us. The judge felt we deserved to understand what we had spent the morning waiting on.  There were several enlightening conversations on cases over his many years of being a judge.  From a defendant biting a police officer, too one even biting the police dog (he said the dog bit him back), having his life threatened several times and marrying one of the first transgender couples.

It was a very educational and entertaining way to spend my morning and earn 10 bucks :) - but honestly it felt good to be a part of the judicial system, even in a small way.

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