Thursday, February 10, 2011


IMG_0531.jpgMy Monday was spent in this room.
_MG_2936.jpgI spent all day in that room doing this (photo above). I was questioned to make sure I was sane and competent enough to make rational decisions. It was an incredibly eye opening experience. Like most people when they receive a jury notice in the mail, I was a bit irked, especially because I had just gotten a notice a couple years ago. Who wants to be inconvenienced, having to find a baby sitter, or being taken away from their job? I surely didn't.

I arrived bright and early at 8 am, with a huge Starbucks in hand. I signed in along with a few hundred other people and waited. Thankfully, I brought my laptop and some magazines. They also provided wi-fi, so there wasn't anything to complain about. It was quiet and peaceful, compared to what it was like at home. Maybe I didn't mind serving jury duty after all. After about an hour of waiting (we did watch a little snippet on jury duty expectations), my name was called, along with 19 other people, and we were brought upstairs to a courtroom. (The one in the photo above.)

The case we were dealing with required a six person jury. Perfect! There are twenty of us here. Surely, I will be excused. Why would they want to keep a crazy mom with six kids around? Wrong. There are 13 chairs in the jury box. They filled us in the chairs by the computer generated, random order. I was in one of those chairs. The rest of the people remained in the pews, praying that the lawyers chose six out of the 13 already seated in the jury box. If you were one of the lucky few in the jury box, you had the pleasure of being interviewed by the judge and the lawyers present. Yippee! If you were in the pews, at the back of the room, you had the privilege of sitting and listening to everything that was said, just in case one of the thirteen had to be replaced. Are you following so far? Have I lost you yet?

Okay, moving on then. We were all read a bunch of legal stuff. Then we had to raise our right hand and take an oath not to lie. Then the questioning began. We all, one by one, had to state our first and last name, marital status, children and ages, and our occupation. Seems okay so far right? Occupations opened up a can of worms and some were then interviewed about their occupations. Me? I'm just a boring stay at home mom. Then came questions about jury and courtroom experiences. Whoa! That was a huge can of worms. Discussions about the legal system came up and how unfair the system is/was to people. Me? Nothing. I haven't really had much courtroom experience, so I had nothing to contribute.

Then came questions about domestic violence and harrassment. Oh, did I mention that this was a phone harrassment case? Yeah, so now we are getting to the nitty gritty of it all. What does domestic violence mean? Do you have any experience with domestic violence. What about harrassment? What does that mean? Have you ever been harrassed? Me? Nothing. I had nothing to contribute to any of this. This was a long part of the interview because it seemed like everyone and their grandma had some problem or experience with this.

Next, were questions about divorce and child custody battles. Me? Apparently, I'm too stable for that kind of thing, but let me tell you what. Everyone in that box, except me and one other guy, who has been married for 42 years, had something to say about this.

By now, you can probably guess, that I am looking pretty good to both sides of this case. I have no baggage and I'm a pretty boring person. Lovely. Yes, I was chosen for this six person jury. A few people in the jury box were replaced. New people were interviewed, and in the end, 14 people got to go home early and six of us had the pleasure of staying to help decide a person's fate. 

I have a confession. I am a poor, miserable sinner. Having said that, I am thankful that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I can be forgiven for them. I am thankful that I attend a wonderful church where I am able to receive forgiveness for my sins and receive the Lord's supper, the body and blood of our Lord.

From the moment I see people I make assumptions and sometimes they aren't necessarily nice assumptions. I tend to stereotype people. Call me a racist. Go ahead. A lot of times I judge people according to their race, the way they dress, and how they present themselves. I am sure that this is a bad thing, but I can't help myself and the media isn't any better about this. Do you agree? I mean come on.  Our country doesn't want any racial profiling done on people, yet they themselves want to know what race category you fall into (census). Huh? Okay, that's another topic for another day.

When we first entered the courtroom, already seated inside were the judge, the defendant and his lawyer, and two DAs, or district attorneys. Right away I picked out who I presumed to be the defendant and in my mind he was already guilty. Was that wrong of me? Probably, since one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The defendant was a young, hispanic man wearing, what I call, thug clothes. There is a stereotype about young, hispanic men. He seemed to fit that stereotype. I kept telling myself that he is innocent until I hear all the facts. This conversation went on in my head all day long. Are you still with me? If you are, you are amazing. I'll let you break for now and we'll continue at another time. :) Until next time...


Katie Fiene said...

I want to hear the rest of this story. Hurry up, woman!

Public Confessions said...

nice confession =]

-anonymous public confessions

Anonymous said...

Jan - I'm a frequent reader. Found you from Erin's site (I'm her sil). What a beautiful family you have! Anyway, I've got jury duty coming up and have never done it, so I'm enjoying this post. Thanks! Jeannette

JAN said...

Jeannette, thanks for the comment. I always love hearing from people who visit! Good luck with your jury duty. Hope this is helpful to you.

Victoria said...

For some reason, I have yet to serve. Everytime I have been called, they have been just weeks behind me with the notice. The first time, I was called from Arapahoe County...right after I had moved to Dallas. Then I was called again, right after I moved back to Colorado. I'm about to move again, so I expect I'll get called from my current county shortly after. LOL