Jury Duty

Well I got called for Jury Duty. Sure, I could get out of it if I wanted. Many people have told me they just didn’t show up and nothing bad ever happened, but I have several friends with criminal convictions because their “jury of peers” was 12 people who were too dumb to get out of jury duty.

Unlike most things run by Fulton County, it actually went pretty smoothly. Due to the nature of the legal system, there’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” and a lot of sitting around. If you get called, bring something to do for the entire day to entertain yourself. I didn’t see many problems that I could offer easy solutions for. It would be nice if the shuttle to parking ran more than every 30 minutes, and I would like to have had more information prior to my day of service like “what to wear,” “what the plan was for lunch,” etc. Lunch is an hour, by the way. There is a cafeteria or you can go to Underground Atlanta’s food court.

They have a barcoded check-in system, so I spent only a minute or two in line. There are signs everywhere telling you where to go. The directions to the parking lot were pretty good. One of the streets is incorrect, but if you can’t see the big sign for parking, you’re not smart enough to drive or be on a jury. They have a video that they show when everyone gets there that explains most everything. They read a list of FAQs after the video that addresses the questions people usually still have. Only one person asked a question at the end, and they were late arriving. No one noticed that I left my social security number blank on the form. I had planned to ask them three questions all in a row (“Is providing it mandatory, what is it used for, and how are you protecting it against identity theft?”) No one really cared.

At about 12:30, they told me that they had enough jurors and that I could leave. They handed me an expense check on the way out the door ($25).

Only 1 in 4 people who get a summons will actually serve on a jury. Many civil cases get settled out of court before a decision is reached, so there’s a good chance that you will only serve one day and that you will waste your time. I brought my laptop, caught up on some reading, wrote a proposal (which was already approved by the client), watched a movie, and read several chapters from Harry Potter. I did meet a lot of people, which was interesting. The jury pool comes from the voter registration, so the average IQ was much higher than waiting in line at the DMV, and everyone was local, unlike the airport.

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