Wednesday, 23 July, 2003

Jury duty

Monday morning I reported to the Williamson County Court for my first ever experience with jury duty.  It's a mystery to me how I've managed to miss out on this uniquely American experience for so many years.  We went through all the preliminaries, including being paid a whopping $6.00 for my effort, and I was assigned to the District Court for a felony trial that was to start after lunch.  But the case was settled over lunch (the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison), and I was re-assigned to the County Court with instructions to report back today.

I got another $6.00 this morning, and 18 of us were ushered into the court room, given instructions by the judge, and introduced to the attorneys who each were given 30 minutes to interview us.  I found the entire process somewhat amusing.  The attorneys say they're looking for people who are open-minded and can form their own opinions, but then they ask questions that are intended (both in content and delivery) to identify the prospective jurors who can most easily be lead by the nose.  After a 15 minute recess, they called us all back and selected the six who were to sit on the jury.  It's just as well that I wasn't selected, I guess.  I have a low tolerance for the kind of crap the defendant's attorney was trying to shove down my throat.