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All Rise

If the prosecutor had asked me directly the question he asked several other people, I might never have got on the jury at all. He wanted to know how they could tell if someone was lying. Most people said something about eye contact, or evasion, or consistency. I would have said that I often have no idea when someone is lying. I'm so inclined to believe you are telling the truth that you could look me in the eye (or not, even) and say something that makes no sense, and I'd probably believe you.

Maybe I should have spoken up, but I didn't want to get sent to another courtroom and a trial that could have lasted longer. This one, a misdemeanor vandalism case, was supposed to be over in three days. That sounded like a good way to get out of jury duty while still serving the cause. I'm all for doing my duty, as long as the inconvenience is mitigated.

If I'd known I'd have to walk through a driving rainstorm from the parking lot to the courthouse, I would have tried to postpone my jury service. I'd already put it off from November to March, hoping to avoid bad weather. As it turned out, we had a mild, dry winter which ended on the day I was scheduled to report, and by that time it was too late to get out of it.

The next thing you hope, if you're me, is that you get to sit in the courtroom and watch them go through the other fifty people in the jury pool and never get called to sit in the hot seat. If they find a jury quickly enough, you get to go home for a year. That didn't happen this time. I was the fifth one called. I was The Juror in Seat Number Five. And there I stayed, while many others came and went, excused by the judge or the lawyers.

That was the worst part of the process, for me. It was tedious listening to the same questions being asked over and over for almost two full days. And when I say "full days," I mean that court was in session for three hours in the afternoon, period. They seemed like full days, though, in that setting. It was physically exhausting and emotionally draining, and the chairs in the jury box are made for squirming. It's a good thing we had a twenty-minute break in the middle of our three-hour session.


By the time the trial itself started, I was ready for some action. And then zoom! In three days it was over, and we were left thinking, "Is that it?" Some of us wished we could have asked the witnesses a few questions of our own, just to clarify. But that was it, and I'll let you know more in the next entry. (This is your chance to bail, if you're already regretting I ever got called for jury duty.)

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