Jury Duty: Expectation v. Reality

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In honor of Independence Day tomorrow here is a post on my personal experience this past Monday as a prospective juror. If you have been on jury duty before you could relate to what you are about to read. If you have not, and are wondering why no one enjoys jury duty then stay here because I’m about to tell you.

A little over a month ago I received in the mail my summons to report to court as a juror and I was stoked. I immediately told my boss and did all the necessary paperwork my job requested of me to be off. I told my family, boyfriend, and friends. I was happy I was given the honor to report to jury duty. (Yes, I just used the word honor because it is!)

Here is a list of what I expected versus the reality I faced, maybe we share the same thoughts.


Expectation: I will most likely be picked as a juror as there were probably 50 to 100 more people summoned for all trials that week.

✔️ Reality: The likelihood of that happening is very slim. I was in a room with close to 1,000 individuals who had also been summoned. Each panel for a trial consisted of about 35 individuals and that number was quickly narrowed down to about 6 to 12 individuals depending on the case.

Expectation: If I am not picked I will probably go home early.

✔️ Reality: Prepare to spend a full 8 hour shift at the court. See, no one told me this beforehand. rolling my eyes I was called to report at 8:00 AM and I was there at around 7:15 AM. I was not called to report to panel until 2:30 PM and didn’t leave court until 4:30 PM. Now, we had a lunch break but that was it. Until you are called you will sit in a room waiting, so bring your charger and a book.

Expectation: I thought the questions would be based on laws.

✔️ Reality: Honestly, I would’ve googled this or asked around but I didn’t want to spoil my experience. I was terrified the questioning will revolve around laws as they pertained to the case. I don’t know lawyer talk! That’s not the case. Questioning varies on the type of case. I was picked for a criminal case therefore I was asked questions about any crimes I might have been a victim of, any injuries, our feelings toward law enforcement and how those would affect our ability to judge the case.

Expectation: Again, I will be picked because I am as unbiased as they come.

✔️ Reality: I was unbiased but you don’t really know what they are looking for. I did notice that lawyers were asking question pertaining to the case. For example, if the victim had a concussion they would like someone who had experience one before. Makes sense, but I was under the impression that the most dissociated I was with the events the higher my chances of becoming a juror in this case. Wrong!

Expectation: This case will probably take weeks in court and if picked I will have to put my whole life on hold.

✔️ Reality: The likelihood of this happening is so slim! It could happen but most of these cases have been set to be tried the same week you were summoned only. In my case it was only 1 day and it was on Tuesday.


Lastly!

  • show up
  • have a positive attitude – no one else wants to be there
  • don’t try to biased
  • don’t be rude in panel
  • dress presentable

HAPPY FOURTH! 🇺🇸

Best,
Jenniffer