I experienced today, for the first time, being a member of a jury pool. I had some expectations going into the process and most of them turned out to be true. There was a lot sitting and a lot of waiting. First there was the pre-jury-selection phase which involved me and the other 30 or more people sitting awkwardly in silence reading our juror booklets provided by the bailiff. I found the material in the booklet to be pretty interesting, most of the material wasn’t something that was covered in my high school government class. It’s odd how we just accept things as common place and lose sight of our truly special privileges, like trials by jury.
After a while out in the foyer it was time to enter the courtroom where we were shown a nicely produced video covering much of the same information in the booklet. Once that was over we were ushered back into the hallway. A few minutes later the bailiff came back out and started calling people by name. The jury selection process had begun.
Long story short I never even got to sit in one of the seats for prospective jurors. I remained on the sidelines, hoping that my chance to respond to the counsel’s questions would come, it never did. It was however, very interesting to hear the questions the attorneys asked as they sought to determine whether or not the prospective jurors would be suitable for the jury. After each attorney had their chance to question the potential jurors they would meet with the judge and determine which jurors needed to be excused, once they were excused, names of people in the pool were called to fill the now vacant seats.
Three and a half hours later a final jury was chosen and I was excused, back in the car and back home to work. It’s interesting, I went into the experience with a bad attitude, not too happy that I was missing a partial day of work. However, not long after the jury selection began I was really hoping to be able to do my duty as a citizen of this county; committed to taking the duty seriously, as I would want a potential jury member to do were I the person sitting on trial.