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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Doing My Civic Duty

I have jury duty this week. When I’ve mentioned that fact to various friends and colleagues, a number of people have asked whether I tried to get out of it. It never occurred to me to do so, I guess because I think of it as a civic duty, like voting. I’m intelligent, reasonable, and fair-minded; if I were on trial, I’d want me on my jury. So I’m going ahead and doing my civic duty.

And so far, it has totally paid off. I was told to report to the county courthouse, which just happens to be a brisk five-block walk from my house, at 9:15 AM, about a half an hour later than I need to be at school on a normal Monday morning. After I was checked through security (just like the airport, except that I got to leave my shoes on), I read a book for a few minutes as I waited for the juror orientation to begin. An hour-long orientation, then they read the list of jurors being called today. My number was not called, and so I was essentially free for the rest of the day. It was just past 10:30 AM. “When we report your days on duty to your employer, we do not give them hours, just which days you served,” the juror-orienter told us, “so it’s between you and your conscience whether you go to work this afternoon, or go home.” Hmm. I checked with my conscience, and it seemed to be nudging me toward the home option. But just for good measure, our wonderful orienter added “Now, me? On a cold day like today, I think I’d go home and stay warm with a good book. But it’s between you and your conscience.”

My conscience is clear as I sit and enjoy an unanticipated day off. After all, as some venerated personage once pointed out, “they also serve who only stand and wait.” Why should I disappoint my afternoon sub and put to waste all my carefully laid sub plans? I’ll call the juror information number at 5:30 to see if I have a trial tomorrow, as I’ve been instructed to do. And in the meantime, I’ll just bask in the glow of doing my civic duty.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Feral Mom said...

And no jury in the world would convict you...

8:59 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I am giggling at you, feral beauty!

And yes, I say you've good 'n' earned it. I hope it was a wonderful, luxurious day!

For their sake, I hope they do select you. For yours...eh...

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. EdK said...

Hey there, de-lurking to congratulate you on your willingness (and even eagerness) to serve on a jury. Nothing peeves me more than folks who try to get out of what usually amounts to a one or two-day stint in court. Trial by jury can be a beautiful thing. Okay, I can hear the Star Spangled Banner cueing up in the background, so I'll shut up.

If you ever make it to voir dire (questioning of potential jurors), a prosecutor will probably strike you because you're in a "helping profession," and are therefore mush-headed and insufficiently punitive. If you want to be selected for a criminal trial, my advice would be to mumble something about "country club prisons."

9:14 AM  
Blogger Orange said...

In all my years, I've been summoned for jury duty just once, at Family Court. It was the first day back after a long July 4th holiday weekend, and none of the lawyers were ready. We sat around with books and overly loud TV for a few hours, and were sent off for our lunch break. After lunch, they sent us all home. Since Tuesday was free day at the Art Institute of Chicago, I wandered over that way. Sure, the office was only a few blocks farther than the museum, but...

6:55 AM  
Blogger Esereth said...

i really like reading you. nothing to add, just wanted to say that.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

I wanted to perform my civic, duty, too. Honest I did. Until I had this bad experience and now I'm just all bitter.

6:03 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Wow. That would make me bitter, too. Stories like that make me glad to be living in a quiet midwestern college town rather than a major metropole. Maybe I'll actually post regarding my jury duty, once I catch up on all the paperwork that piled up during the week I was gone from school, but for now let's just say that I never had to wait around anywhere for more than a couple of hours (and there was always a comfy chair in the jury waiting room, plus plenty of coffee and donuts), and I only had one full day of actual duties. Plus the courthouse is a ten minute walk from my house.

8:26 AM  

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