Doing your civil duty

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, I was called to jury duty. I had been called to serve when I lived in NY but did not have to go because I was in college a few hours away and was excused. This time was different. I called the night before and my number had been called to report the next day. I had no idea what to expect and everyone kept telling me to say different things, but it was part of being a grown up and I knew I had to go and if I was needed I’d serve.

Arriving bright and early I filed into a room and sat there. And sat there, and sat there. Every 90 minutes we got a 15 minute ‘break’. As if sitting there wasn’t enough of a break! We were released for an hour and a half lunch at which point I returned to my car so that I could charge my phone, because I’d drained much of my battery sitting there the first 4 hours in the morning. While on lunch there was a bailiff behind me who said that there was a murder trial going on and boy was I glad that I hadn’t been called last week and serve on that jury.

Returning after lunch we sat there some more, chatting with the people around me, everyone came from varying backgrounds, a stay-at-home mom, career mom, career husband, and a variety of other people. Finally at about 3 o’clock they called back about half of the people in the room and everyone around me had to go but I was left in the room to hurry-up and wait.

The murder trial mentioned earlier reported a verdict at 3:45, which turned out to be lucky for me because if theyhad finished earlier we probably would have been called into that courtroom for the next case.

Finally at 4:15 we were released for the day. Bored and $12 richer, I served my duties of reporting for jury duty and thankfully don’t have to go again for 2 more years. Just another step in adult life.

Have you had to report to jury duty? Did you have to serve on a jury or did you luck out like I did?

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3 Responses to Doing your civil duty

  1. Rick says:

    I hear complaints from friends about being called all the time, but I’m in my 40s, and have only been called once — and, like you, it didn’t go to trial, and I got $6. I actually would have liked to do it, just for the experience… but I’m probably just weird that way.

  2. You have served your country. Jury service is one of the chief ways of serving the country as envisaged by your country’s founding fathers.

    (Please don’t get the wrong idea with my remark. I’m not saying that joining the military is any less of serving your country. It’s just that most people anywhere in the world are apt to think that ‘serving the country’ is about serving in the armed forces. All in all, you have done the best thing possible for your country and your folks by having done jury service.)

    Here in Hong Kong, as an ex-British colony, our jury service is a little warped than the rest of the world. We get paid (“recompensed” is how we describe it here) about at least 10 times more than what you got. The reason is that the Hong Kong government (which is completely separate from the Chinese government) imposes many qualifiers on potential jury selectees: a high ability in English language to follow and understand English law (!) and legal proceedings being a key requirement. Because 99% of Hongkongers are Cantonese (Chinese) speakers, those who are found suitable often find themselves on the jury merry-go-round, often serving several times in a year.

    • Rick says:

      Ooo… I could find a new line of work as a HK juror. Interesting. šŸ™‚

      And yeah, English Common Law (which our American law is based on) is very different from mainland Chinese law. I didn’t realize it was still in effect in HK. Also interesting.

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