Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Due process

I got called for jury duty for the first time in my life. Actually I got called for it back in May, but they had me scheduled on a Monday during faire, and during faire I am lucky to make it to my office that is ten minutes from my house by 8:30. The summons required me to be downtown by 8:00. That was so not happening. Thankfully I was allowed three deferrals and my date was moved to July. In July I came down with a summer flu and had to defer again until yesterday.

It was a very long short day. I ended up being released by 11:30 having never left the central jury room. I mostly read my book and played sudoku on my phone. I did make some observations on the whole little adventure and thought I would share.

Notes on Jury Duty:

- I fail at properly judging time. We were supposed to report to the courthouse by no later than 8:30, I arrived at 7:04. I was not sure how long it was going to take me to get downtown considering there should be morning traffic to contend with on the highway. I expected to run into the greatly feared Dallas morning rush hour. Instead I was met by a lot of cars on the road moving at a reasonable and steady clip. Nothing I could call traffic really. Oh well, better early than late right?

- Apparently I was raised in a different world where 'church' and 'interview' attire means something different. In my world 'church' and 'interview' attire consists of nice clothes; skirts, dresses, or dress slacks and a blouse on women, and slacks and at least a nice polo if not a button down shirt and tie on men. Shoes should be dress shoes or at least not flip flops and sneakers. Now granted, it has been about 13 years since I was at church outside a wedding or funeral, but I refuse to believe standards have changed so drastically that jeans, sneakers, and a death metal t-shirt are considered acceptable. Or track suits. Seriously lady, just because you have money does not mean that it is ok to go out in public wearing a velor track suit and a snow leopard print vest, let alone to jury duty.

Even if we say I am out of the loop and this level of dress is now church appropriate, it certainly wouldn't pass for interview attire. No one would be taken seriously for a job the way half these people are dressed. I see capris, jeans, paint covered clothing, torn and shredded clothing, t-shirts, shorts, track suits, flip flops, sandals on men (with and without socks), sneakers, and one guy in scrubs that are paint splattered.

Are these people truly ignorant or are they willfully ignoring the dress code? Do they think that by not dressing to court standards they will somehow get out of service? That is crap. Don't nobody want to be here.

I suppose I am just really pissed off that I had to shave my legs for this and these people are all cheating.

- On the summons it clearly stated that you needed to fill out the form and mail it in at least two weeks prior to service or fill the form out online. It would seem that about a quarter of the people here today failed to do either of these things as they are now standing in a very long line to use a court computer to fill out their forms.

Apparently I am one of the few who read the instructions on the form and how to dress.

- Either people brought their children along or these are the youngest looking 18 year olds ever. I swear two of these girls look 14 at the oldest. I am fairly certain that the girl in the sparkly pink sneakers is here with her dad, but the girl with the hello kitty purse might actually be here for jury duty. I can at least almost forgive her for missing the dress code considering she is probably too young to have ever gone on a job interview.

- Guy walking by me with his belt undone. I can understand missing a button or having your zipper down and not noticing it, but your belt? I mean I am watching this thing flap around and physically hit him as he walks. How can he not notice that?

- I am surprised that they still use the phrase 'so help me God' when swearing people in. Is it somehow purgery if I say I do but I don't believe in the God they are talking about? I mean it means nothing to me if I lie or not at that point because I didn't swear to something I am invested in. I wonder if they assume you will just be swearing to whatever deity you do believe in. What if you are an atheist or agnostic though? What does it mean for them?

- I have to retract the statement that I read and follow instructions. Apparently in Dallas county you can be assigned to one of three courthouses for your jury duty. I went to the wrong one. I have been assured that it is very common and it was in no way a big deal. Considering I was one of nearly 100 people called up about this, I do not feel as bad.

They said we do not have to go to the other courthouse since it is already after 9, and there are a bunch of people at that courthouse that should have been here. It all evens out in the end apparently. They have given me a new juror number. I have gone from number 211 to 3005. I somehow now doubt that I will be pulled for jury consideration. I am certainly glad I brought my book.


  1. I'm sort of glad you didn't get picked because you wouldn't have been able to write about the trial - and this was probably more fun - ain't nothin' better than people watchin' :-)

  2. Yea they made a very big deal about not talking about trials if we were selected. There was a movie and everything.

    In the end the people watching was nice, and I didn't have to go back to work so I got to go have lunch with the husbeast and go home and bake a batch of molasses cookies and a giant pot of homemade spaghetti sauce. Wins all around.

  3. This is my favorite part: "I suppose I am just really pissed off that I had to shave my legs for this and these people are all cheating."

    I hate it when I follow the rules and then OTHER PEOPLE DON'T and then THEY DON'T GET IN TROUBLE FOR IT.