My great adventure in the judicial system is over. Turns out this week is perhaps the best week in the year to be called for jury duty. We pulled one jury panel out of our pool, and that was yesterday. Nada today. The powers that be (apparently) looked at the calendar, said, “Nobody’s gonna start a trial on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving,” and told us all we could go home, our obligations fulfilled. Saved the county our (minimal) pay. Happy hint: If you want to make a group of people very happy, hold them confined for two days, then let them go unexpectedly.
Here’s a cute feature – there are two ways of responding to a jury summons in these parts. You can report physically, as I and the others in our pool did, and sit around for a week waiting for your name to be called. Or… you can call in before the first day and asked to be placed on the “call list.” If you’re on the call list, all you have to do is call the courthouse the day before and ask if you’ll be needed the next day. If they tell you no, you’re free for the day.
Ah, but there’s a catch. A diabolical one, worthy of a Democratic Party county.
The term of service is two weeks. The people who turn up corporeally sit around for a week (if not empaneled) and usually get to go home after that first week.
On the second week, they summon the call-in people. Who therefore have to come in after all.
And next week the docket will be choked with cases they postponed for the holiday this week.
I chose… wisely.
I completed my first day of jury duty, and have survived to tell you about it. It was a day of much adventure – not in the task itself, which was a yawner, but in a peripheral matter, transportation.
Minneapolis has made a conscious decision to discourage automobiles. So I figured I’d take the bus. There was a time when I rode buses a lot – but that was in another age. I found that today they’re discouraging buses as much as cars – there are very few bus shelters with schedules posted downtown. What the Oligarchs want, I think, is for the masses to rise up and demand more light rail. They love light rail in Minneapolis – unsurpassed opportunities for graft.
It’s been a long time since I stood at a bus stop on a chilly street in Minneapolis, watching for a bus that might come in a minute or an hour – who knows?
But that was later. I had gone online and planned my trip into town. That trip went fine, except that I got off the bus too soon and had to walk a few blocks to get to the Hennepin County Government Center, which towers like a vertical peanut butter sandwich over downtown.
My day in the juror pool is quickly described. Mostly nothing. We sat in the assembly room, a large carpeted room full of circular tables. After a while a judge gave us a greeting. Then we waited some more. Then the jury manager gave us an orientation talk and showed us a film. Continue reading Day one in the belly of the beast
More pulse-pounding excitement in my larger-than-life life, today. I got a summons for jury service. It starts on a date next month.
This is a pretty mundane thing, of course, but what struck me as I read the notice was that, if I were writing a novel about my life (not a project I’d recommend), this is precisely where I’d stick in a spot of jury duty. A new experience, outside my ordinary routine, just when things were getting dull and I had no particular commitments.
As if there were a Guiding Hand in the universe, or something.
Actually, I did jury duty once before, when I was living in Florida. I got called in, sat through a voir dire (is that how you spell it?) got rejected for the jury (it was a child abuse case, and I’ve been abused). I was told, along with the rest of the pool, at the end of the day (I think it was the third) that our services would no longer be required.
I expect doing it in the gritty metropolis of Minneapolis will be somewhat different.
But hey! Ten bucks a day!