I showed up at the Oakland County courthouse today to serve as a juror. In the summons I received, it said to arrive by 8:30 am. So I skipped my morning coffee (to be replaced by a poor excuse for coffee from a vendor in the courthouse) and rode my bike around the lake to the building.
Once there, I was herded into a room with approximately 80 other residents of Alameda County. We waited until 9:15 when we were told that the first group of 35 or so would be selected randomly at 9:30 to go into the courtroom and the second group would have to come back at 1pm for the afternoon session. We waited. The wait was made worse by the fact that the wireless was $6.00/hour (so I didn’t pay) and I had forgotten my book so I was distracted by the TVs blaring Good Morning America in my ear.
I watched the clock move on to 10, then 11 then 11:45, we finally were told that the courtroom was ready for prospective jurors and they were going to assign people to their groups. They would assign both groups at once and those that weren’t assigned were done for the year and could go. I ended up not being assigned and left around 12:00.
I went through a series of feelings and reactions about this whole event. First, when I got the jury summons, I was annoyed about how this was disruptive to my life, and how as a sole proprietor, that if I am not at work, I receive no income…blah…blah.
Then I became excited about being a part of the justice system and actually went to the ccourthouse kind of hoping I would get picked and be able to be a contributing factor in the justice system and help the world be a better place. Maybe bring some logic and good common sense to the proceedings.
Then I was waiting in the jury room past 11 and still didn’t know what was happening. I was feeling like I was wasting my time, I felt anger towards the bureaucracy that leads to such inefficiencies.
Now, looking back, I feel a little guilty for not ever having truly served my community by being a juror. Maybe next year…
Have you ever served on a jury? What have been your experiences? What part do we all play in our civic consciousness? Do most people end up feeling resistance and annoyance when they receive their jury summons? How many people have applied to be a Grand Juror?