Friday, February 10, 2012

Jury Duty, the Sequel

Remember when I wrote about my husband’s week of jury duty, and concluded “I know if I were ever charged with a crime, I’d want a jury that was serious and motivated to do a good job and not wishing they could be with their son at college or worried about being fired. Now that I’m retired, I could be that juror”?

Be careful what you wish for. This afternoon I received a summons to jury duty the same week my husband reserved us a cabin for an overnight stay in a state park. “You have to call right now and get them to change it,” he said, speaking of the jury duty, not the cabin.

“Can’t we just change the reservation for the cabin?” I asked.

“No, we can’t. We’ll lose our money.”

I dutifully call the court and am told I should fax them a letter saying I had already made vacation plans, and fax any proof I had that we had done so. So hubby hands me the email confirming the reservation, which clearly states that we can cancel or transfer the reservation for a $10 fee. 

“But you have to do that months ahead,” he states, erroneously. The email says 15 days. The reservation is something like three weeks away. (To be fair to hubby, he is struggling with our income tax and a little distracted.)

So I change the reservation, paying the extra $10 with my debit card. The customer service representative is apologetic, but the rules are the rules. I suspect they have had too many experiences of people making reservations and changing their minds or just not showing up.

The summons is interesting. It is a mix of archaic and modern language: “Bring this summons with you herein.  Fail not, by order of the court” preceded “No shorts, no tank tops, no flip flops, no exceptions.” Newspapers are not allowed, but cell phones and laptops are. Nobody has ever been known to read the local news on a cell phone. It's not like they have an app or anything.  I guess this means I can bring my iPad or e-reader, though.

It also says in bold print, “Any and all self defense weapons brought into the courthouse must be surrendered and WILL NOT be returned.” It’s not a self defense weapon, but I need to remember to leave my little Swiss army knife at home. I’m also not allowed to bring a camera, video camera, tape recorder, work tools, or chemical spray. That makes sense, except maybe the “work tools” part. I can understand them not wanting you to walk around the courthouse with a screwdriver or sledge hammer, but is a protractor a “work tool”?

I will have an account of my week of service when I am done. If this time goes the way the previous two did, it will be a very boring account.


  1. Newspapers are not allowed, but cell phones and laptops are.

    I’m also not allowed to bring a camera, video camera, tape recorder,

    ^ That's the part that made me go WTF, the last time I went in for jury duty. 1) on previous occasions, they've said no cell phones. 2)You'd think they'd have heard of cell phone cameras (with video capability), and voice notes.

    Also, a week? I've never done more than four days, and only when actually on a jury. If I'm not on a jury, I'm done in one day, and usually by 14:00.

    Last time was fun. I rescheduled a doctor's appointment on the off chance that I'd get stuck on a jury, then when it actually happened, it turned out that the trial wasn't starting until the following week because, wait for it, the judge had a doctor's appointment the same day as my original appointment. Oh, and I got sick the first day of the trial and to bow out.

  2. I've had jury duty twice, and never been on a jury. The first week, I had to report each day,although after the first day I was let out early. Then on that Friday, I was part of a group interviewed to be on a jury in a civil case, but the plaintiff rejected me. The second time I was called, I was in a pool of people called to be interviewed for a case on that Wednesday, but they picked a jury before they got to me. So I don't know if I will be there for the whole week, just a day or two, or for longer than a week if I get picked for a jury and the trial runs long.