Tuesday, June 21

Jury Duty

I started jury duty yesterday. The first court room I was assigned to was for a murder trial, and I thought that would be exciting. We took a break for lunch before anything happened and when we returned the judge said our presence scared the defendant into accepting a plea bargain of life in prison. If a "life sentence" represented a plea bargain I have to wonder what his punishment would have been if we went to trial!

Since my services were no longer needed we were instructed to return to the jury assembly room, where I was immediately assigned to another court room, this time in the civil courthouse. Civil isn't near as exciting as criminal, though, and I am at a trial over a car accident where there was no damage but the complainant says she suffered injuries. We spent yesterday answering questions from the lawyers about whether any of us had been in an accident before or whether we'd ever been involved in a lawsuit. There's 48 of us and that has to be whittled down to 12, so the odds are I won't be on this jury, either. But, they did ask one question about whether anyone was insured by a particular insurer and several people raised their hand, so that might rule out some of the jurors.

For my service I am paid $10 a day and $.05 per mile. The mileage is insulting since there's no way it covers anyone's actual transportation costs.

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