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Several weeks ago, I had Jury Duty. Now, while many people try really hard to get out of their civil obligation to show up for jury duty when called, I did not. In fact, not only did I not try to get out of it –beyond the postponing of it several times until it was a week when it was not inconvenient — I actually was hoping secretly that I would be accepted by the court.
I don’t have little kids at home, I have a job that allows me flexibility and time off for Jury Duty, and I’m a Middle-Ager who loves to do fun things.
Of course, I didn’t tell anyone that. By “anyone” – I refer to my friends, relatives, work colleagues, acquaintances and all the people who I bragged to about jury duty. I followed the party line of jury duty goers before me, and bemoaned my obligation.
“Oh well…I have jury duty. What a bummer!”
Why not? It got me sympathy and lots of other benefits.
So since the judge told us that we can write about, talk about, and blog about the experience AFTER the case is over, here goes:
Here are 12 defenses in favor of Jury Duty – which after you will read them, you will be like me: loving it, wanting it, bragging about it, and even admitting how happy you are that you went.
1. When you go to jury duty you get to take off from work and not feel guilty for it. True, many companies don’t pay for missed days because of jury duty, but still the idea of missing work with a simple 2-word excuse (‘Jury Duty’) and receiving an understanding “Ahhh…yes….that’s fine…” is actually very encouraging.
2. When you go to jury duty, you learn to speak in double negatives. Case in point: note the first paragraph above.
3. When you go to jury duty, you get to listen to a bunch of boring speeches with half an ear. From the beginning of the process where you are in this large holding room (admittedly kind of suffocating), you have a series of speakers who orient you to the process. Most of the stuff they are telling you is common sense, repeated many times, and not that important or relevant…plus they are mildly entertaining the way they say the information, so you basically can space out.
4. When you go to jury duty, you get to take care of a lot of paper work. During the break times where you wait to wait some more, you have paper work that you have brought along with you and you feel really good to have accomplished all that paper work. You can clean out your purse, organize your folders on your laptop, and answer emails. The court even provides computers for those who did not bring their own laptops.
5. When you go to jury duty, you get to be in the same room with people from all cultures of the world. When you are not looking down at your computer or paperwork, you could find yourself staring involuntarily at people seated around you.
6. When you go to jury duty, and you are called to the court room, you get to hear many entertaining, funny and strange excuses that people give to the judge. These excuses span the exaggeration spectrum from “I am scheduled to go to Paris tomorrow,” to “I really don’t speak English very well, so I wouldn’t be good…” (spoken in perfect English).
7. When you go to jury duty, you get to have fun and talk a lot about baseball during breaks. While the judge admonishes jurors not to talk about the case with each other, he does permit the jurors (and even suggests it to them) that they talk about the Dodgers or any other baseball.
8. When you go to jury duty, you get to become less naive and realize that lying by witnesses on the stand is common.
9. When you go to jury duty, you get to deliberate and even bond with people (several of them also grandmothers and mothers-in-law!) who you’ve never met before this case.
10. When you go to jury duty, you get to feel as if all the books and movies you’ve seen about court cases, are really the way it is. It makes you feel as if you are on a movie set.
11. When you go to jury duty, you get to exercise self-control and refrain from talking about the case with anyone outside the courtroom.
12. When you go to jury duty, you earn $15 per day (past the first day) plus mileage. And you even get a letter from the judge on Court stationary mailed to your home, several weeks past the case.
There you have it: The 12 Defenses in Favor of Jury Duty. I guess I’ll have to wait a whole year to be called again. Oh well….
Tags: court, enjoying jury duty, getting out of jury duty, jury, jury duty