Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jury Duty

A few weeks ago, I got quite the dreaded piece of mail. Jury duty. For a lot of people, this might seem like fun, or an excuse to get out of work for a few days. In the state of Colorado the ONLY way to get out of jury duty is if you are the primary care giver of an elderly person whose life might be endangered by your absense. You are allowed one postponement a year, but I didn't want to use it and then get picked for a day where I actually had something going on.

I showed up at the courthouse at asbout 8:30 on Monday morning. They offer discount parking at the city center, which is about a 10 minute walk. I waited in line for about 10 minutes for security, and made my way to the waiting room. Several people came in an took groups of people to court rooms to pick their juries. At about 10:30 the woman told us that there were over 300 people that showed up, and we would probably all be used at some point in the day. She offered us a 15 minute break, so we scattered for coffee and bathrooms. An HOUR later, she showed back up and called another group. Then another. Then my number got called.

We entered a courtroom, and 12 of us took seats. We had to read off answers to a list of questions. I purposefully tried to distract myself, because really, who wants a juror that isn't paying attention? When I answered my information she had me repeat my age several times, making it obvious that I was at least 5 years younger than everyone else. The guy on trial was very close to my age, which I think he considered to be a good thing. When the lawyers came over to drill us with questions I picked at my nail polish, played with my shoes, made myself to appear as unabservant as possible. I guess they've seen that trick before, because I was picked.

The case was over a guy who had gotten in a fight with a security officer downtown last summer. Does stuff like this even need a jury? He was being tried with disturbing the peace, interference, assault, fighting in public, and threat. He was with his brother that night, and supposedly was threatening to kill some people. His brother had a gun. We were told that the case would be over with by the end of the afternoon, but by 6:00 we weren't even ready for closing arguements. I was very stressed out because I had a men's cutting class on Tuesday at 10 and a client at 12:00. I missed the class, but made it back to the salon in time for my client. The second day was closing arguements and deliberation. We found him guilty on 3 of the 5charges, but didn't get to stay in the courthouse long enough to find out his punishment. I haven't been able to find any info obline either.

As stressful at missing work was, it really wasn't too terrible. Everyone on our jury was super super nice. The defense lawyer was terrible, so watching him was actually really entertaining. I can't say that I would really want to be on a jury again, but it was cool to experience. And now I can say I've fulfilled my civil duty for the year.

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