Duty Calls

2216852825_civic_duty_answer_1_xlargeI recently had the pleasure of being Summoned for Federal Jury. Yes, pleasure. 

I’m not going to lie, going in I was torn between wanting to be sequestered and not wanting to go at all.

Since I do not know another soul in my inner circle that has been called for such a special duty, off I went.  Not sure how I hit this lottery, but I’m glad I did.

As you know, Federal Courthouses have very intense security systems in place. I thought this was due to things like terrorism, however, now I’m not so sure. It’s all about the power of the wand.

On day one I put my belongings into the designated bucket, walked through the metal detector, and  heard the Marshall say, “Whoa I was 57879578expecting sparks when you came through!” Of course, I thought he was referring to my dazzling personality …. he was not.

You’re required to serve for two days, so on day two I wore less dazzle.

This time, I was given the once over with the wand, instructed to sit in a chair, and had my boots felt up so thoroughly I felt dirty, weirdly satisfied and craving a cigarette. No dinner. No number.

Federal jury duty is indeed the country club of Civic Duty. There was a spread of food, drinks, carpeting on the floor, comfortable chairs, and cozy sitting areas. White collar crime is where it’s at!! 

First up was the premier of a 5 Star video on the importance of our service. It was narrated by a local news anchor, along with words of wisdom from some senior judges. Oscar worthy … really.

Next, Carol the court clerk explained all the details of being paid for our time. We would be reimbursed for everything under the sun and then some in addition to our guaranteed $45.00 per day. Cha-ching!

I did not get selected on day one which meant I sat, waited and was bored out of my mind. I should have brought a bigger book!

What’s a bored girl to do? Walk the halls of course.

wrsp_cov_weThis is where I came across the FBI’s list of the 10 Most Wanted criminals in the country. FYI: The longer you look at these photos the more you will think “I know him!” 

As I was standing there trying to determine if #6 was actually the guy who lives down the street, I heard “Hey are you looking to wrangle some of them in?” 

Me: “That depends on what you mean by wrangle.” 

We both laughed and I spent way too long wondering if this guy always used words like “wrangled.”

A small group gathered in one of the sitting areas. We introduced ourselves and became fast friends. It was like a cocktail party without the cocktails on the government’s dime.

Our group was a very mixed crew coming as far as 2 hours away to Philadelphia locals like myself. My absolute favorite juror was a woman from a wealthy Philadelphia suburb named Nina. Interesting and unintentionally hilarious were her traits.

It was about 12:45 or so when she realized we hadn’t had lunch. This is when she revealed she informed Carol the court clerk earlier that she is accustomed to eating lunch at 11:30. I burst into laughter assuming she was kidding … she was not.

After my awkward “oh I thought you were kidding apology ” I gracefully informed her that Carol is wearing a cow neck and a hair mane from the 80’s … she doesn’t care when you eat. Nina was not having it.

We all watched as Nina marched right over to remind Carol that it was long past her lunch time.  This is when belief met disbelief…I’m still  laughing.

The only one in our group to be chosen to serve was Tom a/k/a #79. He was a “survivalist” from a small town in upstate Pennsylvania. Think Rambo.

He wore head to toe camouflage gear both days, was able to profess love for his grand babies and describe how to break a neck without missing a beat. Intrigued is an understatement.

As for the rest of us a/k/a #’s 31, 43, 77, & 92, well, we went to a much needed lunch, exchanged emails and hugged our goodbyes.

Time served!

Good energy is contagious  Enjoy the Ride! 

 

19 responses

  1. Not at all like my experience which was three decades ago. Of course there was no security to speak of then. The word terrorist hadn’t yet been invented. There was no food only a cracker and soda vending machine which required money. Tour of duty was two weeks. I served on one case for a day and a half. The rest of the time I went out of my mind. There were occasional two hour lunches because if there wasn’t a jury being selected soon they would extend the lunchtime. Of course WHEN I was on the jury there was also a two hour lunch. That may sound great but once you have walked around to see the sights, two hours is a long time. Oh yes, I had a two hour train ride one way each day. Hated every minute of it. I’ve been called locally several times but they never selected me. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “fry the bastard” when I entered the room.

    1. Hahahaha! I worked in this building 30 years ago. We were probably there at the same time. You are right, it was much different. I do remember a few mob cases at that time.

      1. That is funny. On my very last afternoon the were selected for a sequestered mob racketeering case. I was terrified that I would get picked for that but I wasn’t. One of the guys I rode the train with was picked. The sheriffs scooped him up and drove him home to get clothes. Sequestering started Friday afternoon. Trial to start Monday for 3 weeks. Bummer.

  2. Fascinating! Thanks for the insight into where some of our tax money goes!!

    1. Spending it like a kid in a candy store. I was stunned considering the city only give you 9.00. 9? Why 9? Why not 5 or 10? It cost me a fortune to travel or park!

  3. Lisa, you have made many hours of tried patience sound much more interesting than it was. From being boot frisked to wrangling outlaws to be overlooked to select a survivalist, you had an interesting day. I am sure exasperated Nina will be more melodramatic on her retelling of how she was denied an early lunch. Well, you have $90 to buy a new pair of friskable boots . Keith

    1. I always have to find the good Keith. The fact that I had such a good time just proves I am very easily entertained…lol

  4. Count me as one of those people who actually likes jury duty. Not the security lines or the sitting around for sure, but I enjoy the feeling of doing my civic duty. Too many try to get out of it and the jury pool that is left often doesn’t appear to reflect a good cross section of society. I hope to never be on the other side of the courtroom, but, if I ever am, I want my jury to be made up of smart people with good critical thinking skills. Good for you for serving!

    1. Exactly!! I always go to my county jury duty as well. One look around the room prevents me from committing crimes. It’s sad that people take this freedom so lightly. It is a very very important part of the democratic process.

  5. You had my adventure!!! I got a notice in the mail saying I had been called, but to check the night before. So I didn’t actually have to turn up to fulfill my civic duty. Damn I’m good!

    I kind of want to do it, and kind of don’t. And since my job in part is to pull apart legal arguments, I’m pretty sure I won’t ever be called!

  6. I’ve gone to county court a couple of times, but was never chosen. It seems like if nothing else, there’s some good blog fodder there (at least you make it seem so).

    1. I have never gotten chosen either. I always have a conflict. Having a nephew who is a police officer has it’s perks.

      1. Nephew who’s a cop?! I might try that one…or maybe my other one, a cousin who did time.

  7. The last time I was called, I was only an alternate. Thankfully I wasn’t needed, because after a week of deliberation, they ended as a hung jury.

  8. Sequestered? Oh hell no. Since I do have family members who were/are cops they usually won’t pick me. Even for normal jury duty.

    It’s been a great blogging year! Looking forward to reading more in 2016. Happy New Year!

  9. I was a first-day juror recently. I was also torn between wanting to serve and wanting to get out of there. I served once and it was interesting. Just don’t like the ‘voir dire’ part on the first day where you’re grilled by cranky lawyers. Oh well, wasn’t selected this time but got the wonderful ‘you’re done’ letter. Case closed.

  10. I barely escaped my brush with jury duty years ago.
    They reached their quota with the person ahead of me.
    I was amazed by how many people contrived any excuse to escape their civic duty.

  11. A couple of years ago, I was summoned to two courts… two as in one week here and and the next week there… I was going out of town, so I didn’t even have to go… I once got to sit in the jurors’ box, but, alas, the trial was going to last several weeks and I had appointments I could not cancel, so I was let go… but it was fun to sit in the seat for a minute!

  12. Dang. Was hoping you’d be picked, quarantined, and witness to a hung jury. No, not that kind of hung! Cheers —

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