Nowadays you serve one day of jury duty and you’re done . Well , you’re not done if you’re chosen for a jury . The trial might last two or three days . When the verdict comes in , then you’re done . In the past , I’ve been called for ” a panel ” but then not chosen for the jury . That was on my first day at the courthouse , and I was done . I’ve been on several juries over the years .
It used to be that jury duty was 10 days . People didn’t want to join a jury on their ninth or tenth day . That would extend their service , most likely , for a few more days . You could spot the short-timers as the jury was being picked . They were the ones telling the judge why they shouldn’t be chosen for this jury . None of them said : because it’s my last day or two , though . Honesty may or may not have worked .
I just ended jury duty . My one day stretched , somehow , into fourteen . Three guys on trial . Three defense lawyers , one for each defendant . Ninety of us were called for a panel . Ninety . Usually it’s thirty . It took three days to pick a jury . I was almost in the clear . A jury of twelve had been chosen and approved. Now the alternates . There would be four alternates . I was called up to the jury box , but I was seventh or eighth in line . I went home that day wondering . 50-50 chance I figured .
The guy before me , as it turned out , was a lawyer . He’s be kicked off , I thought , and I was right . The half-crazy old man who was potential alternate juror number three was also rejected . That was a given . No way he’d make the jury . Then , another possible alternate was shooed away . I was moving up . By the end of it I became alternate juror number three .
The three defendants had barged into a Nordstrom Rack department store soon after closing time , had forced the fourteen employees to strip down to their underwear and to stand against the wall in the employee restroom , had managed to steal about $15,000 from the store safe , and had escaped as the police were arriving at the location .
I think the jury were all seriously trying to do their best to listen to the testimony and to reach the right verdicts . It was a tough trial . We all went through a security check upon entering the courthouse , and another security check on the floor , only on our floor , where the trial was taking place . ” High profile cases ” one of the deputies told me . But what does that mean ? The deputy was vague on that reply . Meanwhile , take off your belt and empty your pockets .
If you really don’t want to be on a jury and have a moral code pretty loose with the truth , I realized how easy it would be to be eliminated . ” I think that , when the police arrest someone , that person is definitely , beyond a doubt , guilty ,” is all you’d have to say . The judge would then ask : ” Do you think that will interfere with you weighing the evidence and giving a fair verdict ? ” You say , Hell , Yeah , and leave it at that . The defense attorney might then ask : ” So , despite your feeling , do you think that you can be fair in this case ?
There were a few people who clearly didn’t want to be chosen for the jury in this trail . Each one was honest , I’m sure , and offered his/her best explanation , pleading with the judge . The judge rejected every excuse . In the old days , during the 10-day jury duty times , I saw a short-timer , after the jury panel was asked by the judge why anyone thought they should not be on the jury , point to someone at the defense table and say : ” He’s guilty ! ” The judge then pointed out that that guy’s not the defendant . ” Then , he’s guilty ! ” the jury panel person said , moving his accusing finger over to someone else . He was kicked off of that jury . Ah ! The good old days !