So, I had JURY DUTY today.... M--- County Superior Court. It was quite an experience. Honestly, I wouldn't mind serving on a jury.... as long as it didn't conflict with the rest of my life. So I was hoping to be excused when I proclaimed that I am the mother of 3 young children and it would be a hardship for me to serve for more than one day... today.
It was nothing like you see on TV, which makes it seem very solemn. Everyone, from the woman handing out paper work and doing the orientation, to the Bailiff and court reporter, to the Judge, was cracking jokes right and left. They all seemed to really enjoy their job.
So, 55 of us sat in the court room answering lots of questions while the attorneys took tons of notes. The defendant, an African American man accused of transporting and selling drugs, looked respectable in his suit.
By lunch time, we still had a ways to go, and I hadn't been dismissed yet, even though I had made my case. I should have just answered yes to the question, "Do you think drugs should be legal for personal recreational use." The handful who did answer yes, were dismissed right after lunch.
When we got back into the courtroom after lunch, the attorneys all took a really long time coming back into the room, so the judge entertained us with stories and answering questions. (Seriously, he loves his job. He took the mandatory retirement at 70, and came back to work the next day at $15/hr. because he loves it!)
Then the attorneys came back into the court room and asked for a side-bar. They all left the room for another 5 minutes, after which the judge came back in and said, "Well, he plead guilty. You can all go home." Whew!
So, I got my "proof of service" paperwork and got on the shuttle to go back to the parking garage, along with the other people from my group.... and the public defender, who was excited to get to go home early too.
During the short ride, he told us that after the lunch break he asked his client if he still wanted to go through with it, and he said, "No way!" The reason? There was not one African American among the prospective jurors.
The judge also told us that the defendant will be sentenced to 5-9 years. He had prior convictions.