Monday, June 15, 2009

Jury Duty II

As I thought it would be the jury parking lot was full so I had to park in one of the city lots. I didn’t have a clue whether I would be reimbursed or not. Anyway I was on time to the fifth floor, department 40. The hall was packed with the other jurors in the pool. We waited and waited and finally had to be cleared away from the pass through because a prisoner was going to be taken from the secure area across our waiting area to another secure area. He was finally brought through (in chains). Shortly thereafter we watched one juror after another go into the court room and then come out (for private meetings with the judge we were not told). After this went on for the better part of an hour we went into the room and 12 of the pool were seated in the jury “box.”

The judge asked the defense counsel to begin his questioning. Each of the jurors in the box was asked about the questionnaire we completed on Wednesday last. The sticking points to the defense was whether jurors could bypass relatives who were in law enforcement, jobs that they had wanted that were in law enforcement or any other activity that would predispose them to lean toward the prosecution.

After an hour and a half we got a ten minute break (bladder nearly bursting) and when we came back the same routine was started again. With each juror’s dismissal (excused was the word used) a new juror was asked by the judge whether he or she understood all the questions and comments that had been made during the previous juror’s interrogation. With positive answers the questions began again. At the end of each juror’s interrogation they were asked whether there was anything over the weekend that they wanted to mention.

Just before the lunch break the judge asked whether any in the audience had anything they wanted to bring up based on a weekend’s reflection. He was flabbergasted at the number of jurors he had to excuse based on their inability to set aside various prejudices (against murder, against violence, etc.) commenting on whether he should have even asked the audience that question.

We got an hour and a half for lunch (coffee and a power bar with my son Thomas). After lunch the final jurors were accepted as were two alternates. After that the judge excused the rest of us and we went back to the jury pool to get our day in court recorded so that we wouldn’t be called for another year. 

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