So last week I was summoned to Jury Duty and found myself in a rather small Jury Duty pool, certainly smaller than the previous crowd I was involved in several years before.
As the morning unfolded, I was surprised by how many times and in how many ways the people operating this offered apologies for our being there. It began with their public service video that described the Jury Duty experience and what you could expect. It noted attending this was a small sacrifice to make for this great country. Yet, again and again, the message of pride was prefaced and/or followed up with profuse apologies for the disruption to our lives.
After the video was over, a lady appeared at the front and center of the room and essentially went over much of the same, including, yet again, offering profuse apologies for this disruption to our lives. When she was close to being done the first two waves of potential jurors were called in and, once they were accounted for and gone, the movie The Blind Side began on the various monitors and the remaining pool of potential jurors, including me, sat back and waited to see when/if we were called.
In my case, the call came close to 11 A.M. At that point, I kinda knew it was coming. As I said, the jury pool this time around wasn’t all that large and, after four or so groups were called in and given the small amount of potential jurors left over, I figured my odds of getting selected were high. I was right.
Thirty five of us were lined up and assigned numbers (I was 26) and taken downstairs and to the opposite end of a corridor from the trial room itself. We waited around for nearly an hour before being let in and introduced to the councils and judge.
Then, it was off to lunch with the admonition to be back in that opposite end corridor by 12:45. We were all back by then, but wound up waiting until nearly 2 P.M. before finally, finally being taken back into the chambers.
What followed was the process of council Q & A. It was there that we were given some idea of what this upcoming trail was about. Basically it went something like this: The defendant was a convicted felon allegedly found with bullets in his possession.
Not handguns. Not machine guns, not mortars. Not BB guns. The man was accused of being found in possession of bullets, obviously a no-no for a convicted felon. Reading between the lines (and making an assumption on my part), I had the feeling it wasn’t even a terribly large amount of bullets. This assumption, by the way, was based on the questions asked by both Council members.
Now, I’m not a gun nut. In fact, I feel there are way too many guns out on the street and, further, that people who quote the 2nd Amendment, including politicians and judges, too often ignore the whole “well regulated militia” statement.
Still, based on what little I heard about this case from our questioning, it was just as well I wasn’t selected to the final seven jury pool. I don’t know how I would have reacted as a juror, but in the end it seemed the entire trial was a lot of fuss made for what amounted to a relatively small matter. A matter that perhaps should have been dealt with before the trial itself.
Had the convicted felon been caught with a gun, on the other hand…
By the time I got out, it was a little before 5 P.M. I, along with 34 others, had spent the whole day there, for the most part sitting or standing around and doing not all that much. Seven of these people would now have to return the next day and perhaps the day after that for the trial itself (the judge felt the case might take 2-3 days).
Tough going. No wonder there’s so many apologies offered.