As you check the mail like you do every day, you come across a letter from your county, and as you open that letter the words "You are hereby summoned to serve as a Juror." Being called to your civic duty is never something us Americans look forward to. Out of 500,000+ people in your county, YOU were chosen along with 200 other people.
As you go into the courthouse at 8 a.m., you are placed in an auditorium and you watch a video that looks like it was taken in the late 80's. The bailiff gets up and starts to call numbers to take you to the courtroom. You wait in the court room and you face the judge, the state prosecutors, the defense attorney and his client. Some cases are about people not paying taxes or unpaid parking tickets, but you could be in serious cases involving drug deals, sexual assault, and even murder. As the judge dismisses the jurors that aren't considered anymore, the bailiff calls more people up. Your number is called and the attorneys approach the jury stand to ask you questions like: have you ever been charged with a crime, do you know anyone in this case, or do you have any relatives in the state or police force. At the end of the jury questioning, if they call your number then you get to go home, if not then you are chosen to stay with the jury.
Welcometo your civic duty as a citizen!
Some cases can last one day and some can last weeks. If you were on the jury for the OJ Simpson trial, you were there for a year. I have spent a week and a day in court with a case that was very hard to deliberate on. Hours upon hours of evidence and witness testimonies. As a college student, this was a different experience for me. I found this jury process to be enjoyable and a great learning experience. Most people hate jury duty because they have to miss work and not make any money. Although, they do pay you every day for your time. It's not hourly, but it's still money. If you're a person like me who doesn't have a job because its summer, then $40 a day isn't too bad. You start to make friends with your fellow jury because you're with them from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. You do get free lunch and most of the time they order take out from a pizza place or sandwich! The deliberations have to be the hardest part of the process. If one does not agree or one disagrees with the rest, you have to wait and base your vote on ONLY the evidence given. It could take hours for that person to change their mind or look into it more clearly! I was in deliberation for 12 hours. We stayed until late hours into the night.
As I said, this process was very educational and interesting to me. It is nothing like CSI and NCIS. This process actually inspired me and made me think about my future career, and I have thought about becoming a lawyer, sheriff, investigator, and a CSI expert. If you have the option to be a juror, don't think it's the most terrible thing, it actually is very enjoyable and a learning experience!