I spent a couple hours yesterday at the court house fulfilling my civic obligation to serve as a juror. Some approximately 90 of us arrived in the court house basement by the allotted 8:15 AM check-in time. Of those 90, 8 were grand jurors with a two week stint rather than the “one day, one trial” affair for which most of us were summoned.
Turns out that 8 grand jurors isn’t enough, and after a call for volunteers still left vacancies, they started calling names. I don’t recall ever winning a raffle, but as luck would have it, I was selected as a grand juror. This duty I declined citing business and child care concerns. They agreed, and I was thrown back into the pool (or so they thought) with the rest of the “one day, one trial” folks.
The lot of us were there to serve on either one of two cases. The first was dismissed when the defendant helpfully failed to show up in court. That let 40 people, though not me, out of service. Next, a judge’s clerk from the trial up on fourth floor came down and rattled off a list of potential jurors to head up for voir dire, the process by which they empanel regular folks like you and me to decide the fate of some scumball who deserves strung up from the highest rafter. Or maybe he’s innocent. You decide.
Anyway, interestingly, I was not called as part of this set either. When Pam, the jury coordinator who acts and sounds like Lily Tomlin, looked about the room, who did she find but all the folks who, for whatever reason, couldn’t serve on the grand jury. That list of names never made it back onto the eligible list. But it was too late. The judge’s clerk had all the potential jurors she needed, so we were free to go, our obligation served for at least another two years.