Serving my Civic Duty

I promised I’d stop blathering on about Iron Girl and so I’m going to write about something I’ve been meaning to write about for the last 2 weeks… my worst nightare, jury duty.  Wow – that was quite a run-on sentence, huh?

I live in Baltimore City.  While they city claims that they don’t just pull people for jury duty based on voter registration – I call shenanigans on that because the week I changed my voter registration was when I received my jury duty notice.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I’m not sure why I dreaded jury duty so much.  I love courtroom drama shows.  Jeremy is going to school to be a lawyer and as much as I don’t enjoy hearing about 80% of his schoolwork, every so often a case intrigues me.

Plus – I have an opinion on everything.  I love judging people.  Its what I do best.  Clearly – jury duty was something that was right up my alley.

But still – I dreaded it.  It just seemed like such a hassle.

Anywho – I ended up going 2 weeks ago and loved it.  While I’ll agree that the majority of time is spent sitting around in a waiting room – if you actually get called into a case for jury selection… its really quite fascinating.  And talk about some great people watching! 

I’ll try to keep this brief.  I spent the morning reading David Sedaris’ “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” (I recommend it) and half watching “Meet the Parents”.  I later learned that they play “Meet the Parents” everyday and felt very very sorry for the employees of the courthouse.  Its a funny movie and all… but every day?  Ugh.

Anywho – to make this a quick read, I’ll just list the highlights of my jury duty experience.  And no, sadly I was not selected for the jury. 

1.  They pay you $15!  In cash!  And okay – that basically covers the cost of lunch.  But I got to eat lunch with Jeremy since he works so close to the courthouse and we ate a Suzy Soba and that place is like crack cocaine if I knew what that stuff was really like but I imagine that its addicting because its usually the reason people end up on intervention.  Anyways…

2.  I got to finish my book.

3.  I got a paid day off of work.

4.  The people watching is top notch in a courthouse.  Its amazing to see what some people deem appropriate courtroom attire.  I saw people in t-shirts, cutoffs and flip-flops to stripper-wear to a man wearing ALL WHITE (no joke… he must have thought he was Diddy). 

5.  Watching people do everything in their power to avoid being selected for a jury is entertaining too.  One woman kept rambling on and on about her cataracts despite the judge instructing everyone to hold their explanations until called to his… judge’s table?  I don’t know what that’s called.

6.  The judge asks the potential jurors a series of questions that you are supposed to stand for if your answer is yes.  When the questions are done, he’ll call you up individually so you can explain your story.  I stood up for, “Have you ever been the victim of a crime?”

Well yes – yes, I have.  I was held up at gunpoint about 6 years ago in Baltimore.  No biggie.  But the judge – I almost heard his heartbreak.  His apology was so sincere that I actually responded, “Its okay.  I’m okay.”

7.  Did I mention Diddy was there?

When all was said and done, the jury was filled before they even reached my number.  I was bummed.  The judge kept referring to the case as a “fascinating” and “interesting” case.  I really wanted to be a part of that!  But alas – the prosecutor and defending attorney had used all their “strikes” (something I was familiar with from Runaway Jury!  haha – I love movies and tv) before they got to me.

So there you have it.  This isn’t my best post but I said I’d blog about something other than Iron Girl and I’ve been meaning to write about jury duty for quite some time. 

Poop!  (sorry – had to throw that in there)

6 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

6 responses to “Serving my Civic Duty

  1. I have to say that I’ve always thought it would be interesting to serve. Of course not at a time when it’s totally inconvenient. And I’m going to go knock wood, because it’s totally inconvenient right now.

    I’m sorry you were held up at gunpoint too. That must have been terrifying.

    I think the timing of jury duty actually worked out for me (strangely enough). Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it?

    As for the gun point story – that might make for a good blog post. And while it should have been terrifying, it really wasn’t. It was more annoying than anything else…

  2. Held up at gun point? I know that wasn’t the crux of this post, but what the hell? You’re so nonchalant about it. May I suggest a blog post?

    Also, I’m one of the few people who actually WANT to do jury duty. And have I ever been called? Never. What the hell?

    I think because it happened so long ago, I don’t think much about the mugging. Too funny… I really should blog about it.

    My advice for getting called to jury duty is to turn it into your worst nightmare. Don’t WANT to be called. Then they’ll call you. Its just how life works out sometimes.

  3. hey there – so glad I found your blog. this post was RIGHT ON because I had baltimore city jury duty a few months ago. It was the BEST people watching. congrats on completing iron girl! and good luck training for baltimore half and philly full. I am doing both of those too.

    I’m using your blog as a motivator to keep me running!

  4. The think the judge’s desk is called The Bench.

    If I got called and asked if I was a victim of crime I’d say “This mo-fo ash-hole came up with his chrome 45 tryin’ to get all up in my business, said he was going to give me the beat down unless I gave him all my she-it!” Do they discourage rampant profanity?

    Haha! No – I think rampant profanity is a given in Baltimore. :-)

  5. I don’t mind jury duty. I had to serve on a jury for a drunk driving case when I was 19, and it was a very interesting experience. That said, it is more of a hassle the older I get, as it’s more difficult to get off work – but hey! They let you bring your computer where I go, and there’s free wireless!

    Wireless is free in California? Its definitely NOT free in Baltimore! I didn’t bring my laptop but I overheard a woman complaining that she had to pay for internet.

  6. Jury “duty” may be some sort of civic duty, but the greater duty is to stand up for individual freedom. The government should not be able to force its citizens into service. Jury duty is basically a temporary job that pays ridiculously-low, slave wages.

    Everyone should refuse involuntary jury duty. If the government needs jurors, let them hire people voluntarily full-time or part-time, like a normal job, and pay a decent wage (at least minimum wage) as well.

    I don’t care what the “law” says about jury “duty”. The law is wrong.

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