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Location: Midwest, United States

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.


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

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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