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6WS – Yes, I Did My Civic Duty

March 26, 2011

Yes, I Did My Civic Duty

Yes, I did my civic duty twice so far this year. I voted for the first time in a non-presidential election, and I served as a juror. Or, rather, I served as a standby juror.

Being a standby juror is fun. Kinda stressful if you’re really hoping you don’t get called to actually serve though.

But let me explain. No, there is too much. I will sum up. (bonus points if you know what that’s from)

Here’s the deal, I would actually love to be a juror someday, I think that it would be neat to actually see what it feels like. I’ve read enough Grisham to have an idea, but that’s probably somewhat skewed towards the fantastic.

Because being a standby juror sure isn’t too exciting.

It was kinda fun going aaallll the way to the South Side to criminal court though.

And going through security and getting a wand passed over me (no groping, thank goodness, it’s a court building, not an airport) and going up to a room full of a hundred or so other people, all of whom walked in clutching their summons and the requisite reading material. Then a lady takes the summons and gives you a snazzy red sticker that says Juror. You have to wear the sticker always. Unless you’re in a public part of the building, or outside it.

Awesome.

Here’s a tip for anyone who gets called as a standby juror. Bring something to read. Dear goodness, bring something to do with your time. Because what happens is they give you a number, and during the day they will call out numbers (you’re put in a panel, so it’s not like just one number per person, it’s panel #32) as they need jurors for trials. If your number is called, you collect your belongings and walk out of the room with the rest of your panel. If your number isn’t called, then you settle back into your seat for another half hour or so.

The fun part is the feeling in the pit of your stomach every time the guy starts calling out group numbers.

Honestly, besides being creeped out at the idea of being sequestered for some huge trial, I would like to serve some day for the experience. But this week I was very happy that my prayers were answered “yes” and I wasn’t called.

So what did I do? I watched movies. Yes, I brought my little travel DVD player. The screen is smaller than an iPhone and you pretty well have to tether yourself to an outlet if you don’t let it charge for 8 hours before using it, but I love my DVD player, because I got to sit and watch movies from the time they were done explaining the whole jury duty thing, to the time I was released at 2:30 after they’d used all the jurors they could. And then for the hour ride home too. (oh, and we got a 90-minute lunch break, but there wasn’t much room in the cafeteria so I went back to the holding room and ate with my movie on.)

Of course, I had come prepared for anything. I had two books, the DVD player with 10 movies (one random comedy and three trilogies), two decks of cards, a notebook, 3 pens, a 20-oz bottle of pepsi, a water bottle, 4 granola bars, and about $10 in change for the vending machines.

Yes, I will be the best mom ever, I know. 🙂

All-in-all, I guess I have to say that if I’m going to be called for Jury Duty, being a standby juror isn’t half bad–just so long as you come prepared with a lot of stuff to do while you sit around in a room all day. On the plus side, I made $17.20. Which was pretty much the cost of my lunch and snacks.

Nice.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2011 9:01 am

    I’m impressed with your level of preparation, not to mention your pay! We only get about $11 here. I’ve been called in twice, spent my day sitting and reading, then went home without ever leaving the holding room. Also, we didn’t get a sticker, which is a major letdown.

    Thanks for playing 6WS!

    • March 27, 2011 2:42 pm

      Yeah I wasn’t expecting that much money, more like $12 or $15. Maybe they realized that no one would go to the South Side of Chicago for just $12 though. 🙂

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