Jury Duty – The Unchosen One

Jury duty is always interesting to me. Instead of trying to get out of it as many people I know do, I serve. In the county I live, the service is one day if you are not chosen out of the pool.  Most trials are a day long, but some can last longer depending on the issue or deliberation time.  In other areas around us, service is 6 weeks.  Each Monday, you have to call the jury hotline.  At that time, you may or may not have to report for the week.  If you are selected, you have a week of being in the pool unless you get on a trial.  A single day seems like a small price to pay to be part of the judiciary process.

After the hour long orientation Wednesday morning, I was called in the second pool for a criminal trial.  It involved DUII – driving under the influence of intoxicants…..in other words, drugs were involved.  While we didn’t hear a lot about this case, it was alcohol and pot.  Given the questions being asked, I conjectured it was a guy with a medical marijuana card who drank and got pulled over.  After answering the basic questions at the start of selection (name, education, profession, area of residency in the city, friends & family in law enforcement, victim of crime, can you drive, ever been part of a court case), they asked follow up questions about DUI laws in the state.  Do you have experience with DUI? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear DUI?

To be honest, the first thing that came to mind was a friend of mine from high school who lost both of her parents after a drunk driver caused an accident killing them both.  She has a 2 year old, she’s the oldest, and she lost her parents in the blink of an eye.  Given the recent holidays where she and her sister talked a lot about them, I think of her pain. Her family was incredibly close-knit. The second thing that came to mind was an ex-boyfriend who is now a canine cop who is continually reminding people on Facebook that they will get picked up and prosecuted if they are drinking and driving.  He talks about his commitment to making sure that the roads are safe.  Then I thought of my dad coming across an accident when I was very young – a multicar accident in rural Iowa – he tried to save a woman who was badly injured.  She died while her kids were in the back of the car crying. My dad tried to comfort them as their mom died and rescuers worked to free them from the wreckage.  Or my friend whose dad drove drunk with them in the car all the time. (He is an alcoholic.)  When she was DJ’s age, her dad was arrested for DUI.  She and her sisters were also taken into custody and waited for their mom to come and get them at the police station.

I don’t even take the risk driving after drinking.  Why? A car is an awfully big weapon in the hands of impaired. Example after example has been given to me over the years.  Not just stories, but people who have been affected in various ways.

So, when asked how I feel about it, I told them. While I think the laws are fair, I hold myself to higher standards based on my experience with family and friends. This comment led the defense to ask a whole series of questions where everyone was asked if they felt like I did.  About 6 people out of the 30 raised their hands. Each was questioned – several admitted they would not drive even if they had a beer and food and two hours. Some had similar stories. The people that were chosen had all admitted to the fact had driven drunk themselves.  That – and they smoked pot themselves.  Not surprising that I was dismissed. I knew I would.  Each time the defense attorney asked a question – I was her example. Oh, well.

I got chosen for the jury on a fun case…..more on that AFTER we decide the verdict.  Keep your fingers crossed that it is done early Friday. It was a long first day.

We are going out of town this weekend. We’re going to the beach with our friends. This means no Internet all weekend…. all 3-day weekend. I don’t know what I will do. Might go through withdrawals.  Oh, yeah….and cell coverage is pretty nil too. I’ll be twitching by the end of the weekend.  I will be taking pictures all weekend, but won’t post them for the 365Project until I get back. Assuming I don’t sneak away and find a coffee shop with wireless which is always a possibility.

Have a great weekend everyone!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Just me... says:

    You know, the rest of the possible jurors were just glad that you were talking!! Ever notice how half the people in the pool look like deer caught in headlights? 🙂

  2. I got on a really big case one time and I was the only one that saved someone from a 200k lawsuit. Everyone else just wanted to give in and get it over with. A few weeks later I found out that I was right and the lady was lying. I am so glad I held out.

    If people like us don’t get on the jury then all that is left is a bunch of morons. It’s our duty. I agree.

    I had a good friend killed by a drunk driver last year. I would hang the person up by their balls.

  3. Maggie says:

    I’ve only been chosen for one jury so far, it was a rape case and the lawyers’ eyes lit up when they saw me, a college-aged female with a health background sitting there. They thought they’d struck juror gold. 🙂

    It was a rough case, the guy was the ex of the relatively young victim and the victim hedged a lot (“well maybe he didn’t hear me say no? maybe he just didn’t hear me? I was crying and saying no, but maybe…”). It had been an abusive relationship, hence why he was an EX at the time of the rape. Totally heartbreaking to see. They finally let him plea because neither side was sure of what we’d do given her testimony. I’ll never forget the look on her face, though. 🙁

  4. Joker_SATX says:

    Jury duty for me is a pain in the ass. Not because of the cases involved, its because just getting to the courthouse is a pain in the ass.

    I have been called…but have not yet served.

  5. Vixen says:

    We used to live in a small community and I was called in for Jury Duty all the time but it was always cancelled the night before I was supposed to come in.

    Hope you have a good wkend!

  6. Hope you have a great weekend 🙂

  7. Ms Scarlett says:

    Have a great weekend!!

  8. I have been called to jury duty before a few times but was excused each time because (in my past life either myself or my boyfriend at the time worked in law enforcement) so that scrapped that deal.

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