|The Jury by John Morgan - 1861 painting of a British jury (Source)|
The jury pool.
The letter said that I "might get picked," no guarantees, don't call us, we'll call you.
Now I've been there, done that, a long time ago. Shortly after moving to Little Rhody. Sat in the jury room for three days, bored stiff, started a small revolution regarding "smoker's rights" (for in those days I was one of those heinous sinners, a tobacco user. Damn that Sir Walter Raleigh!).
So I guess I was about due. Rhode Island only has a million or so people, mostly around Providence I think, and as my county has no court house, no hospital, and no shopping malls we must needs be go elsewhere for the little things in life.
In early July I received another official looking missive. This one requested my presence at the court house in Providence on the 18th of July.
So Monday, bright and early, I saddle up and head on up to Providence. I find the free parking area with little trouble (bless Google Maps for the overheads and the street views) and find that the shuttle bus to the court house has departed. But don't fret, another will be along shortly.
Well, actually it was the same bus, making multiple trips back and forth. The lady driver knows her stuff and is also rather a humorist in her own right. When the second load was all in, there was a single chap left standing forlornly on the sidewalk, gazing wistfully at the full up conveyance before him. The driver said, "I'll be right back. Or you can start walking and I'll meet you half way. Hahahaha!"
The fellow looked somewhat put out so she cried out, "Just kidding honey, I won't be long."
(Women of a certain age in Rhode Island call all men "honey." Not sure why that is, it's meant to be nice so I take it that way. Only poopie heads and shoe clerks take offense at such a thing. As I am neither, I'm okay with it.)
We get to the court house where we go upstairs and turn over our jury summonses and are then issued badges.
Yes, it was tempting to do that scene. But as I do value my freedom, I refrained.
Then, equipped with (ahem) badges, we enter the "jury lounge" which has been much improved since my last sojourn there some fifteen years ago. It's actually three rooms, one is called "the library," which is meant to be quiet. The other two have televisions. The room I sat in, on the far right, don't read anything into that, has a flat screen TV. This is known as the "talk really loud because I can't hear you on account of the TV" room. Not really, but there is always "that guy" who assumes that everything he says is important and must be shared with the world.
Anyhoo. Shortly after we get comfortable the Jury Commissioner arrives and ("please Sarge, stop calling me The Commish") gives us the low down on what we were there for. I guessed "jury duty" and DING DING DING DING DING...
I was right.
Then we all get herded upstairs to an actual courtroom. Where another guy explains what The Commish already explained. Only in more words. Then we watch a video of why it's important to take this business seriously and pretty much everything the first two guys had already said. But it had interviews with actual jurors. All of whom said they really enjoyed the experience. (I'll bet the ones who answered "it sucked," wound up on the cutting room floor. Just a guess, I mean come on, not everybody is that civic minded. Am I right?)
Somewhere in there we swore (or affirmed) an oath to pay attention and do the job honestly. Then a real judge came in and (again) told us how important all this was. And we swore another oath, essentially to pay attention to the evidence, don't talk about the trial (should we get picked) etc., etc. It was all kind of cool and I was starting to get into it.
Then it was back to the "lounge." Where the second guy came in and said to pay attention and if our badge number was called (badges?) then we were to go out in the hallway. As my number was really, really large, I figured I wouldn't get called.
Wrong. Out to the hallway with you Sarge. You and 75 of your new colleagues.
We were actually now, officially, in the pool for an actual trial. Woo-hoo.
"We need you to fill out this eleven page questionnaire..."
"Then you can go home and come back tomorrow."
The questionnaire was standard stuff that the judge and the lawyers will go over and then ask us about during voir dire. I am actually pretty excited about this. I haven't been in a courtroom since my bailiff days, about twenty years ago. (And yes, I did tell them that on the questionnaire.)
So today we get the whole voir dire experience and by the end of the day I'll be an authentic real live juror, or I get sent home to try again next time. At least three years from now.
Long story short. This is why Juvat's Monday post didn't make it to the Book of Face until noon. No signal in the court house and doing the social media thing is, quite rightly, frowned upon in those august spaces.
Now some folks got a sneak peek on Sunday night of that "Juvat Monday" post. For you see, Juvat did "a Sarge," which is what I call putting the wrong date in when one schedules a post. Don't ask. Okay, yes, I have done that before. More than once. It was Juvat's first time. No doubt his last, he's a fighter pilot, they know not to make the same mistake twice.
Me, I'm a maintainer, we're supposed to know better.
Anyhoo, it's off to the legal world I go. It's exciting as I may get more posts out of this experience.
Yup, anything for a post!