Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In the Pool

I've been a registered voter for ... ever. As soon as I was old enough, I registered and voted. (Added incentive being the fact that there was a Presidential election the same year - Clinton, btw.)

Our legal system selects potential jurors from the pool of registered voters. From the Clinton footnote, I'm sure you're aware that I've been in that pool for quite some time. So long that my toes are wrinkled.

Despite all of that time, I have never been been selected as a potential juror. My girlfriend is a few years younger than I, so clearly she's not been "in the pool" for quite as long, but somehow she got picked for jury selection/jury duty.

She suffered through long, long hours, cold, cold rooms, and much, much frustration. I heard all about it - and even caught her cold (which she got because of the over-active air conditioner).

It felt strange that she went through all of this, yet I'd never even been selected for duty.

Fast-forward about a month and there I was with 150 other potential jurors:
How strange is that? Two people from the same household chosen for jury selection within a month of each other.

Anyway, my experience largely reflected hers except I wasn't held quite as long. I guess I understand why they'd have the air conditioning jacked-up, with so many bodies in an enclosed space, but within an hour or so, that place was an ice box. Luckily, I'd been warned, so I showed up with long-sleeved shirt, undershirt, leather jacket, and skull cap (gotta protect that bald head). Even with all that, I was still cold - especially my hands, feet, and face.

When my girlfriend went through this, she said the staff didn't respond well to complaints about the cold. It stayed cold. That pissed me off, so when it happened to me, I was feeding off that earlier pissivity when I griped so much that, not only did they turn the cold off, they turned the heat on.

I really appreciate a legal system that includes a "jury of our peers" and most of the staff members were incredibly kind and helpful, but I think it'd make a lot more sense if they were more respectful of the comfort concerns of the citizens who are more or less being held captive as reward for being registered voters.

That said, I learned a great deal about the value of our legal system and my own feelings about different aspects of it.

Have you ever been chosen for jury duty/selection? What was your experience like?


Liz Dwyer said...

Yeah, I got called this past spring and it was definitely a boring day but I had wireless on my laptop so I was online most of the day. Plus we had a nice long break for lunch so it was a pretty chilled out day. I was so happy to not be at work that I didn't care about the uncomfortable chairs.

Anonymous said...

I've actually received a few summons in my early registered-to-vote years, but I managed to shuck and jive my way out of 'em. I haven't registered since I've moved to NY. I guess I'll be gettin around to it soon.

Anonymous said...

Jury duty is the worst. It is a necessary evil though.

The first presidential election that I was old enough to vote in was when I pulled the lever for Gore. Then I learned that it didn't matter what the people wanted if the Electoral College didn't agree. I still vote though in every election possible including local stuff.

Anonymous said...

Love your weblog! I, too first voted in a Clinton presidential election (his first term). Ironically enough I was excused from Jury duty this week. Made it through the questionaire, and was on the hot seat to be chosen as an alternate. The judge felt that I was "too emotionally charged to be a fair and equitable juror". She was right. There was a part of me that wanted to serve, just not on this trial.