Monday, July 15, 2013

Federal Jury Duty

I got called last fall to jury duty and grumbled internally and externally about having to miss school and make up sub plans and stuff for the 2 months required to serve. On the off chance it would work, I put in a request for a deferral for the summer. Magically, I got the deferment, and now from July 1st - August 23rd I'm required to call in every week to see if I will serve.

The first 2 weeks this summer I again got a pass, and then I found out I'd be serving this week for a potential 3 week trial. Being nosy, I went online to see what cases were pending in our district, since I wanted to be prepared if it was some gory murder trial, and I'd have to be subjected to graphic pictures. Nope. The only potential case was a civil one. Still grumbled, like probably most people who are called.

I got there this morning, and it was very interesting. First of all, they show you a video featuring Sandra Day O'Connor and John Roberts. They made 2 good points that I hadn't thought about in all my grumbling. First was that they wanted a representative sample of the population (hello Statistics!), so that's why they didn't just call retired people or housewives. Second, they mentioned that if the potential juror was ever in a court case, they would most likely want a fair trial and a jury of their peers, not just a select segment of the population. I was convinced.

It was a fascinating morning. We were numbered, and I was in the 3rd wave of people that would be questioned to serve, and they eventually picked the 7 people from the 1st wave, so I was never questioned, and I was excused. The judge was funny and Texas-y and the questions were interesting. It was also fascinating to hear the background of the 16 people that were in the 1st wave. They DID come from all parts of society. One woman immediately was excused since she owned stock in one of the companies in the case. There was a manual laborer, a PhD, some tech-y people, housewives, retired people, educators, business people. There were White, Hispanic, Black, Asian people. There were old/young, women/men. They mentioned that they put the names into a "bingo lottery" type machine to see who was in what wave. I'm wondering if it was totally random or if there were some parameters to decided what batches to choose when.

Anyway, ironically, now I'm hoping I get called again this summer ... nothing bloody, though!


  1. Anonymous4:14 PM

    The procedure here is different. I had to call every night to see if I would serve the next day, but after one week of calling I was off the hook.

  2. It does seem that every state .. Or maybe it is every district has their own rules. The judge said it is because we have a large population in our district that we did not have a six month duty.