Not that I'm against doing my civic duty, but when you work on commission any day out of the office is just like an unpaid vacation. I'd write a letter stating I was self-employed and would subsequently be told that I didn't need to serve.
This time was different. I'm no longer self-employed so I informed my employer and prepared for my day in court.
There were a couple of surprises in store for me on January 5th, the day I reported.
Surprise 1 - No phones with cameras allowed in the courtroom
The sheriff had just enacted a new "law" for the building on the first of the year and managed to NOT alert anyone that he was doing it. Therefore, each and every potential juror showed up with a phone in either their pocket or their purse. As the 50 of us that were called to jury duty went through the security checkpoint, each and every person had to return to their car and leave their cell phone behind.
|The Jitterbug is the only phone produced in the last ten years without a camera.|
Find someone with a car and leave it there.Since I was the only person in line behind the guy, can you guess who he asked? I had no problem with it, but I asked him what we would do if one of us had to stay and the other was allowed to leave. Neither of us had an answer, but since he had no other option, he put the phone in my car and we went back in.
It's a nice phone. I was in the market for a new one, so it'll come in handy as soon as I get my contacts switched over. Hopefully, with the money he's saving on gas by riding the bus, he'll be able to get a new phone soon. And once I switch the number out I imagine he'll be forced to stop calling and leaving those annoying "Can I get my phone back?" messages on his old phone.
Surprise 2 - It was Grand Jury duty, not just regular jury duty
What is the difference? I was asking the same thing.
Regular jury duty requires you to show up and serve, if selected, on one case until the jury determines if the accused is innocent or guilty. Typically, this lasts three or four days.
Grand Jury duty means you will hear cases every Thursday for four months. You are not deciding guilt or innocence. Rather, you are determining if there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
16 weeks of service. That means 16 full days out of the office. Sounds wonderful, but what it actually means is for the next 16 weeks I would be doing five days worth of work in just four days.
|Google apparently thought this was what I had in mind when I searched for grand jury images.|
You might be wondering why that is a surprise. As I sat there without access to the outside world, I could only imagine the number of emails and voicemails piling up. My mind tends to race to the worst case scenario, so I could see myself every Friday for the next four months holed up in my office playing catch up. I just knew I would be called.
It would have been interesting to hear the cases, and I would have served willingly, but I have to admit I was relieved not to have to do so.
Luckily (for the guy who stashed his phone in my car) he wasn't picked either. I tried to race to the car and leave with my new phone, but he was waiting for me when I arrived.
No grand jury duty. No new phone.
At least I had the rest of the day to hang out with my ladies.