Jury Duty (long & irrelevant)
About 20 months ago, I recieved a notice saying my name was among those potentially to be chosen for jury duty at some point in the next 2 years. I'd almost forgotten about it when (6 weeks ago) I get the formal notice that my name was drawn. It was all rather interesting (I've been called twice for state but this was the first time for federal); one fills out an info form online, and then beginning on a set date [for a 2-week period] one calls an automated telephone to find out whether or not to report in person to court on the next working date. I didn't have to report the first week, but did the second week.
Parking had been promised to be scant with strong recommendations to use the Metro subway and walk the 6 blocks to the courthouse. My nearest Metro station is the same one that is closest to the court, so that was of no use to me. As it happened, a parking garage less than two blocks from the courthouse had plenty of spaces for a mere $10 daily fee. One goes through a tight security check upon entering the building. The woman in front of me had to provide ID, go through electronic scanning and her bag was carefully searched. The guards just smiled at me and waved me through (I'd never seen any of them before). I can't help but wonder if there is a prejudice favoring innocent-looking old ladies, and if so, they really shouldn't. Narrow escalators up to the floor with the check-in room. 50 people checked in on time; 3 came scooting in late; 2 were no-shows. No-shows for federal duty???! In the midst of checking in (showing ID; agreeing -or not- roundtrip distance based on which a small fee will be paid; showing parking ticket to be refunded) the judge's clerk calls and advises he wants potential jurors asap... about 40 minutes earlier than usual.
We go up to the proper floor; are guided into a small courtroom and eventually things get underway. Instead of each juror being questioned individually, the judge asked a series of questions to the whole group. Sometimes the question required individual responses, so those folk stood up as the judge called on them, giving the required details. For instance, when asked if anyone was [or was married to or had a close relative] in law enforcement, about 20 raised a hand. In turn, each person detailed the answer. When asked if anyone did *not* use a computer at home and/or at work; the judge formally stated that the silence indicated everyone knew at least the basics on using a computer. ... This part of the process took almost three hours; yep, lots of questions. There was also a period during which the judge heard individual reasons for possibly being excused from duty -- I think only one qualified and she looked to be about 8 months pregnant.
Then random numbers were drawn by a machine (we each had a number according to our alphabetical place on the check-in). THEN those people filed into the jury box. A checklist was given in turn to the prosecuting and defendent attorneys who indicated either accepting or not accepting certain jurors (that took longer to write than to see done); those not accepted returned to the group area and an equal number of replacements were randomly drawn. Repeat; repeat; repeat; repeat - I lost count but I think 40 to 42 of the potential jurors took seat for a final actual jury of 14.
I was in the first lot drawn but, along with 9 others, was declined for duty. I'm partly relieved and partly sorry... in the attorneys' area there were maybe 70 large file boxes of hardcopy evidence. Hmmm, a case involving computers...