Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Doing My Duty

If you’re here expecting to read about what I’ve been stitching, then leave now because …

Today, this posting will be entirely about jury duty.


Yesterday, I sat in the Beaver County Courthouse, in a large room with about 100 other people, ready and willing to serve my country. We were told that other than serving in the military, sitting for jury duty was the most important thing that we can do for our country.

I felt pretty proud when I heard that .. until I remembered that most of us were there because we were threatened with fines and imprisonment if we didn’t show up!

I certainly don’t want to go to prison … can you imagine me, showing up in prison with all the hardened criminals? The prisoners would ask me what I was in for and I’d have to lie and make up some crime because surely they’d laugh at me if I told them that I was there because I refused to show up for jury duty.

Regardless, I did show up and I was a bit excited to be there just for the experience.

The jury waiting room was a large carpeted hall with cushioned chairs. Since I knew that I was going to possibly be sitting in the same chair all day while I waited to be selected for a jury, I was careful to select a chair with the least amount of stains.

That happened to be right next to my new best friend!

Whether she wanted to be my new best friend or not, it didn’t matter, because I sat myself down beside her and she had no choice at that point. It’s the unspoken rule that once you pick a chair, you can’t get up and move to another chair for fear that the person you’re moving away from will be offended. She was stuck with me.

Her name tag told me that her name was Donna. So Donna and I had a grand time, talking about our kids and grandkids and wishing we were in Maui right now. Maui will be my new vacation destination, so anyone reading this that happens to live there, please be my new best friend so that I may visit?

Ok, I’m getting off topic very quickly here so back to Jury Doooty.

Once everyone was seated, things got started, which means we were told where the bathrooms were, where the coffee and water was and TO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM for fear that we would find an alleged criminal to talk to about their upcoming case.

Ok! I won’t leave the room, I promise!

Shackle me to my chair if you wish, I can do it for one day, no problem!

We had a real live judge come in to speak to us. I recognized him from when Rachel used to do “Mock Trial” in high school. He was one of the toughest judges Rachel had to present her cases to.

So the judge informed us that there were 39 criminal cases that needed to select juries today. Since criminal cases generally take longer than civil cases, we should expect at least 3-4 days in a courtroom, if we are selected.

He told us, to my relief, that none of the cases were serious enough that we would have to be sequestered in a hotel. Gosh, I’m so thankful for that because I forgot to pack extra undies.

He went on to tell us that just our presence there today was intimidating enough to make most of the cases settle out of court before going to jury selection.

We just needed to sit and wait for the attorneys to call us in for their case.

Well, all of us waited and waited. From 8am to noon, we waited.


We were excused for lunch so we could finally LEAVE THE ROOM. We weren’t supposed to strike up a conversation with the alleged criminals that we saw in the hallway though. Darn, I was so looking forward to bonding with a bankrobber. Not to be.

My new best friend and I walked into town for some lunch.

On the walk back to the courthouse, some crazy lady in a car pulled off to the side of the road, rolled down her window and screamed, “have fun today!!!” and then sped off. It looked a lot like my sister. She does work in Beaver, and the car was identical to my sister’s car …. well, yeah, that crazy lady probably was my sister (casserole Carol). :) I instructed by the judge to not speak to strangers who might potentially be criminals on trial, while doing lunch, so I wisely decided that should include crazy ladies who stop at the side of the road and scream “Have fun today!”.

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, we spent the rest of the afternoon, waiting. None of us were ever called in to experience the selection process because every one of the cases settled out of court!

I was kinda disappointed to not have that experience, but I really was concerned about the babysitting issues if I were selected for a jury, so it worked out.

I served my country and all I had to do was sit in a chair for 8 hours and chat! They paid me $9 for it and I acquired a new best friend too!

Happy Day everyone!


adsgram said...

How could you possibly complain about "making $1.125 an hour" while in the service of your country? I have never been called while my husband and sister have been 3 times each! Guess they figure I am independently wealthy...ha-ha!

It actually sounds like a little adventure and now you can sleep nights knowing you are a for-sure good citizen!

Enjoy your day!

Sandi said...

I enjoyed your post. It was a good story and I loved the sister/have a good day part. I agree with Lynne's actually sounded like a little adventure. :-) Now you can go back to stitching and know you have served your country. :-)

Cat Haven Crafts said...

Have been called for jury duty many times, but only selected once. It was very interesting and exciting. Glad you had a great experience!

Linda said...

LOL.......Cath, enjoyed the "Day at the Court House" novelette very much!
Don't spend it all on floss!

Diane H said...

Oh Cath, great story! If you had skipped out and gone to prison you just might have met and fit in with a "gang of jury jumpers". They might even have been a crafty bunch. Who knows. LOL

appleberrycottage said...

I've been called to jury duty a couple times, but that was in Cook County IL. At least it wasn't criminal court in THE worst neighborhood in Chicago. They literally tell you to move your car to a certain lot, or they won't guarantee that you will have tires or a battery when you're done. Now, our county courthouse is in a nice town and close to open fields/farms. I haven't been called there - yet! Glad you can get back to stitching! :)

Lisa said...

Best way to do duty, I did it once was choosen and went back the next day and sat and sat and sat and they moved us 3 times and we sat and right before lunch they told us some evidence was not shown to both sides so it would be a while until it went back to court. It was a rape case. I tired to think oh he didn't do it. BUT apparently the evidence said he did! I was glad I didn't have to sit through it all and I got 2 days pay! Then I got my next call one week shy of 3 years so I didn't have to go again! Haven't been called again. My Mom did a murder trail. Not sent to a hotel, but not good. Sounded cool though!
Hugs, Lisa

Anonymous said...

OK This is the crazy lady speaking....
I'm taking a much needed lunch break from work and am stopped at the light by the courthouse and I see this lady with brown hair and a black trench coat that looks very familar. Well, I thought to myself, it can't be Cathy...what would she be doing walking in Beaver in the middle of the day? So I squinted to get a closer look and thought yes, that's really her!Then I remembered that she was supposed to do jury duty. So the light turns green and I make my turn so that I am close to her. I wanted to toot my horn, but, I have an old car and the horn doesn't work very well. So I kept pounding on the horn until it finally let out a long blare! The because she was too far away to have a conversation (and I was in the middle of a busy road.) I just yelled through the open window..."Have a fun day today! and waved to her. I could see her squinting to see who the crazy lady was, and I thought "You don't even recognise your own sister??? Good grief, we are both getting old.
I'm glad to know that you are safe and sound back home on "Wagner's mountain."

Casserole Carol