Yep, last week was my week. It was the first time I have been called to criminal court, so it was quite an experience. Civil court cases tend to be 6 months long, so I could never serve them and serve my clients and survive in business, but criminal cases tend to be shorter, so off I went.
The clerk of the court was Gus, a Filipino man with a charming smile and adorable accent. He said something on the second day that really resonated with me. He said that jury duty is a great honor, one of the only ways we can serve our great country without bearing arms, or putting ourselves in mortal danger. Interesting thoughts in this time of a war that just drags on… So I decided I wanted to serve. The process was slow, the young lawyers were diligent to their cause, and some of the prospective jurors were better than characters on a reality tv show. I wished for my camera, even though it is illegal to photograph in there, because it would have been interesting to document the “show.” It came down to the very last wire. I thought I was “safe” sitting in the gallery with the rest of the anxious seat fillers as they seated the twelve, swore them in, and then to my surprise, called six more so they could choose 2 alternates. Whew, made it through the first round of that. Oh no, was that my name he just called? I go up and take seat 14. There are six of us in the hot seats now. Questions, answers, lawyers meeting with the judge, and then the “verdict” for us… they have chosen #17 and #18 to be the alternates, and the rest of us are free to go! I was happy despite being interested in the process. After all, I didn’t want to miss Josh’s birthday by being in court.