Last week for the first time in my life, I was called to jury duty. I've always wondered what it would be like to serve on a jury, and when I got my summons in the back of my mind I kind of wanted to be picked for the jury. I know, it's an inconvenience for work, etc., but it seemed like it would be a fascinating experience.
So, I went last Wednesday morning to the Jury Pool, and there were about 115 people who showed up. We waited for around 45 minutes, and they randomly eliminated all but 20 of us. It just so happened that I was one of the 20 left at this point.
Next, the remaining 20 of us went as a group to the courthouse. Here we were sent to a courtroom, where we were numbered off and sat down in rows. For the next several hours both the defense lawyer and the prosecuting lawyers took turns presenting a few facts about the case, and asking us how we feel about particular issues.
Because it was a misdemeanor trial, there needed to be a jury of 6. Each side was allowed 3 people to eliminate without any questions asked (a total of 6 people). This left 14. Out of this 14, the judge determined about 3 of these people that he felt would be biased because of life circumstances that he ruled out. This left 11. Like I said, we were each given a juror number, so what they did next was take the first 6 people by number of the remaining 11. And I happened to be one of them! (So, the chances of you actually getting picked to be on a jury are pretty slim and pretty random.)
The trial was a DWI case. For two days last week (Wednesday and Thursday), I was doing jury selection and at the trial. The defendant did not take the stand or say a word in defense - which he doesn't have to. The most humorous part of the trial was a 30 minute video from the backseat of the cop's car, where the defendant was arrested and from the minute he was shoved in the backseat of the car he was falling asleep during the entire 30 minute video... Hmmm... The humorous part of it was that they showed the video right after lunch, and everyone in courtroom was about to fall asleep, watching this silent video of a drunk guy falling asleep in the back of the cop car. I almost giggled out loud when I saw the judge and the police office who testified nodding off.
It took about 5 minutes for all 6 of us to unanimously agree - he was GUILTY!!! Stalled out in the middle of the road, slurred speech, can't walk straight, a cooler with beers in the floor of the truck, a partially empty and cold beer on the floorboard of the truck, and passing out in the back of the cop car...
It was certainly every bit the fascinating experience I expected it to be! And, I felt after it like I was able to play a role in serving justice.