And sit in one of these:
Three and a half years ago, I took an oath in a box similar to this, an oath to be as fair and impartial as I possibly could. I came back to this box every day for three more (full) days and reached a verdict with 11 other people on the fate of an alleged domestic abuser.
Living in Los Angeles, going to jury duty (or running marathons!) is pretty interesting. The court houses are located in Downtown LA, near Union Station and Olvera Streets, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown. When in Downtown, you see just about as much diversity as one could see in one area -- ethnically, age-wise, and socioeconomically.
I like being able to walk around Downtown so much that I didn't mind my last jury service.
But that's when I was paid (by my company) to go.
Nowadays, I don't get paid for any time that I am away from work (except holidays, thank goodness!). So I'm a lot like a freelance worker with no benefits, which includes this jury service. Knowing this, I spoke before a judge to try to get excused from a potentially long trial that would cut my monthly earning by 25%. Ouch, when you don't make much and need to pay for your own health insurance and just paid for your student loans, dog's neutering and cat's teeth cleaning.
Anyway, the judge was not very sympathetic, so I decided to stick around. Immediately, I was pulled into a court room and spent the rest of the day (!) involved in voir dire, the jury selection process.
Thankfully, just 15 minutes before the day ended, I guess the defense attorneys didn't like something I said and gave me the boot. Another few minutes and I would have been on this trial. No offense taken to this booting. Honestly, I don't think I would have been able to be a fair/impartial juror given that the case involved white supremicst groups (this was a Federal court).
|Picture taken around the time I last served (2008). |
Ten points if you can guess where this was taken!
So, if I had to summarize some pros and cons about serving, here they are:
1. Fulfilling civic duty
2. Wi-Fi available in the jury assembly room
3. If you're paid by your work, you're being paid to sit around and listen!
4. You learn a lot about the justice system
5. Lots of interesting people
6. Day ends much earlier than the work day
7. Long lunch breaks
8. Lots of places to eat lunch due to all the surrounding ethnic communities (see #7)
9. Not having to worry about being called in for at least another year
10. Free Downtown LA parking!
1. Airport-style security scan (minus the liquids limit)
2. No pay if your company doesn't provide it (sometimes you get paid to serve, but sometimes not for the first day, and usually between $15-$40 + mileage)
3. Tough to tote food around, so likely have to buy lunch (see #2)
4. "Healthy" lunch options are lacking, so salad it is (see #3)
5. Besdies the assembly room, Internet access = nil
6. No turned-on electronics allowed in the court room
7. Downtown LA, for all its cool-factor, is sometimes scary
8. Being a juror is NOT easy... someone(s)'s fate is literally in your hands!
9. Downtown LA traffic
10. Lots of "interesting" people
What do you think about jury duty? Have you ever been a juror?