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Jury Duty II

Well, it happened: I got called in for jury duty on my last day (Friday). As I described in my previous post, here in Los Angeles you are on call for jury service for one week. Here’s a little diary of my day:

8:15 AM I arrived and went through security, where they make sure you do not have any guns, knives, or anything dangerous that you are bringing into the courthouse. Then I went up to a large room with about 100 people in it. Any citizen can be called for jury duty, so it is a real cross-section (sample of all different types) of Los Angeles. Most people are reading a book or talking quietly on their cell phones as we wait for the day to begin.

8:40 AM Someone from the court comes in and gives us an orientation (an introduction to some event or activity). She tells us that we may be called at any time to go to a courtroom. Once we are in the courtroom, the judge will decide if we will be on the jury for that case (trial) or not. If we are not assigned or selected, then we must return back to the juror room and wait to see if we are needed for another case. We must wait until the end of the day, and could be called more than once to go to a courtroom. However, if we are selected, then we stay in that courtroom until the trial is over, which could be up to seven days.

9:15 AM We watch a video on jury duty and what to expect if we are called. It includes interviews with people who have served as jurors, and tells us how important our service is to our system of government. My favorite line in the video is at the beginning, when it says, “California – the greatest state in the nation!” I’m not sure everyone in the other 49 states would agree with that. Most people watch the video, although some continue reading their books or newspapers. Many – perhaps most of us – have been on jury duty before, so we have seen the video. It is sort of like the video they show you on a airplane about safety. If you have seen it several times, you don’t really pay much attention to it.

10:10 AM There is a television in the room, and someone has decided to turn it on. I find it annoying (irratating, something that you dislike), so I turn on my computer and plug in my headphones. I open iTunes and listen to some music to drown out the noise. To drown out noise means to create another sound (music, talking) so that you won’t hear what you don’t want to listen to.

10:50 AM Still sitting here in the room, waiting.

11:30 AM We are all summoned (ask to go to a certain place) back to the jury waiting room for an announcement. The two trials for that day will not require jurors, so we are officially released (excused, let go) from our duty. That’s it! We can all go home. Everyone applauds (claps their hands together), which is not I guess how we should react to something that is our duty as a citizen, but that’s what happened.

-Jeff

6 Responses to “Jury Duty II”

  1. kadir Says:

    I think it is a great experience but I do not wat to participate to a court on which you have to decide for death penalty…

  2. Grzegorz Says:

    And if they decided that you are needed, then you must spend there 7 unpaid days, separated from family? For me it looks like you are legally jailed for innocence :-D
    Ps. Is judge and barristers doing it also for free ;-)

  3. belay Says:

    It is very helpful information about the jury duty and the courthouse. Just, I was in the court yesterday for the first time. But I didn’t know anything what it done there. Even though I know that I’m innocent, I being gelty and I payed $150.because I could not explain my case and they connect me with interpreter through phone. It doesn’t worth nothing. So I wish if I was met Jeff there as jury duty!

  4. Loe Says:

    Hello,

    do you guys think this is a good system? I mean, if some racist guy should have to come and someone of the another race than it wouldn’t be fair.
    And by the way, I’m not talking about really racist like kkk or something but just a bit racist, like, someone got robbed by a black/white/Latino/Asian, well than that person will probably punish someone who looks kind of the same harder. Or at least, I think people will.
    So why do people still use this system?

    Loe

  5. emiliano Says:

    Good for you Jeff, as I think you do not like to be a jury at all, and of course I don’t like either. Alsol for me it is so odd to be separate from the family your job, everything and they do not pay
    you anything in compensation for your time.
    But I think that living there it is something you have to accept as a way of doing things that the system ask for.
    Congratulations Jeff you are free again.

  6. robert Says:

    WOW !, I mean I´m quite astonished…

    because Jeff wrote:

    “Most people are READING A BOOK or …..”

    What happened there in LA ?, what is happening ??

    100 people and most of them are reading or talking, most – means at least more than the half, so we have about 50 readers and callers, let´s say that means 25 readers out of 100 people.

    25+% !, I think I´m going to immigrate to the U.S., I want to live in a country too where this high average of the people is STILL READING BOOKS