February 15, 2006

Duty of a Jurist

So, I may be impaneled on a jury tomorrow.

Not a convenient time, but I can’t think of a time in the last year when I could have said “yeah, this is a convenient time.” We’ve been flat out. After a “short” phone meeting on Sunday that turned into a 4-hour affair, some flu-like virus I’ve been fighting off for a while finally caught up with me. That sucker put me out of commission for a day and a half with various symptoms you don’t want catalogued. Believe me, I was pathetic. Still, I’ve survived much worse.

And I’m better just in time to find out my “Standby” juror status is not so “standby.”

Juries are important. They’re a necessary part of our judicial system. Jury duty is a civic duty, just as they say.


I just don’t do well in “institutional” situations. I can adjust, but I like to stay away from any situation where I have to rely on other people to tell me what the hell is going to happen next. Among other things. Last time I was on a jury, it was a three day trial and I had a big, fat, cluster-headache every day. I had to listen to a guy who had some stupid chip on his shoulder who felt the need to argue ridiculously that the murder victim bore a lot of responsibility for his own beating death because he crossed the street to argue with a couple of guys (I guess he was asking to be beat to death). I can’t wait to meet whatever new incarnation of this person will randomly be chosen to spend some time with me.

Anyhow, this poor reaction to institutional situations is worse when I’m recovering from an illness. Maggie can attest, when I’m sick I want to crawl into a shell until I’m back up to around 80%. Well, it just puts me further out of my little comfort zone. And that makes me cranky, disagreeable, withdrawn and anxious.

I’ll get through it. Thanks for listening to me gripe.

I’m a good boy. I read the Juror’s Handbook. One thing that struck me was this passage under the “A Few Things To Know About Jury Duty”:

“Once released from your juror service, especially if early in the day, you are strongly advised to return to your normal daily routine.”

As opposed to what? Spending the rest of the day in a bar? Going cruising? Maggie says this means returning to work. But it cracks me up that the state wants to screw up my day and my production schedule by interrupting it, and then feels it ought to scold me back to work once it’s done with me. I strongly advise the state to mind its own business.

I’m bringing a book with me and I’m going to at least try to get some good reading in. Tough decision what to bring, though. Right now it’s between some guilty pleasure Patricia Cornwell or Dawkins’ “The Blind Watchmaker.”

Time to get some sleep. I still feel leftover-crappy.

Posted by James at February 15, 2006 12:05 AM
Create Social Bookmark Links

Oy, been there done that. Not fun. Hope you get sent home early!

Posted by: Karen at February 15, 2006 10:52 AM

Having just been on a 2-1/2 week murder trial jury I can definately fel for you. i must say I found the process interesting. the only dull part was the selection process. For this case they interviewed >130 individuals for the jury pool. Then slowly narrowed us down to 14. Took all damn day.

As far as returning to work. I just think they want to try to be business friendly since they are taking people away from their jobs for potentially extended periods. I think the 1st time we ended at noon I came to work afterwards. After that I just kept up on my email from home. I found that being on a jury was just too draining to do much after getting out and I was absolutely exhausted after 2+ weeks of sitting in that box every day.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at February 15, 2006 10:58 AM

I've yet to be on one. I came close this last time around, but the trial was to be one month plus and work wouldn't hear of it.

Posted by: briwei at February 15, 2006 2:26 PM

I think that work would have had a nervous breakdown if I had been gone for more than a day or so. Especially since I was out sick on Mon.

Posted by: James at February 15, 2006 2:29 PM

Copyright © 1999-2007 James P. Burke. All Rights Reserved