Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Are there really people who enjoy jury duty?
Today I did my civic duty and sat for jury duty -- sat being the operative word.
The day began with me racing to get out the door, only to sit in rush hour traffic for over 35 minutes. Then sitting in the courthouse for over 30 minutes for my fellow jurors to saunter in. Then watching a repetitive video that anyone who has ever watched a courtroom drama, done jury duty before, studied American history or jurisprudence, or had more than an ounce of common sense did not need to see.
Only to have the jury instructions repeated, nearly verbatim, with a few anecdotes thrown in, moments later by a judge who had clearly never seen the video. A judge who solemnly informed us that every juror he ever spoke with after a case assured him that being on a jury was one of the most "fascinating" or "interesting" experiences he ever had -- with at least one overwhelmed juror telling the judge that "he could now cross 'jury duty' off his bucket list."
Seriously? Someone had "jury duty" on his bucket list? Maybe if that jury was on the set of The Good Wife. But for reals? Isn't that setting the bar kind of low?
Or maybe I just don't find people suing each other that exciting. Though the first time I ever sat (sat being the operative word) for jury duty back in New York, when I had just graduated from college, Phil Donohue sat practically next to me. This was back when you had to show up for jury duty for two whole weeks. And Phil Donohue was a big deal. (I told this to the mother of a toddler sitting next to me and she just shuddered -- about the serving for two weeks, not Phil Donohue. Though I'm guessing she had no idea who Phil Donohue was.)
Before any of you lay into me for disparaging jury duty, or lecture me on the importance of the jury system and my civic duty, stop. I get it. And I would be happy, well, maybe not happy, but totally okay with sitting on a jury for a day or two if I knew that right after I walked in I would actually be part of a jury, that morning, and be on my way that afternoon. Or the next day.
Seriously, you would think after hundreds of years, someone would have figured out a way to make jury duty more efficient, instead of wasting people's time. (I also didn't and wouldn't be paid or reimbursed as I am self-employed. I know: So much for my civic pride.)
But enough of me complaining. What do you all think of jury duty? Do you enjoy it? Do any of you have "serving on a jury" on your bucket list? Do tell.