Doing My Civic Duty

I can't believe it, but I'm actually sitting in the downtown Los Angeles Courthouse waiting to find out if I'm going to be assigned to a trial or not.

Yes, I've been called for jury duty.

Every night this week, I've called the 800 number on my jury summons to see if I needed to report for jury duty. And every night, the automated voice said that I hadn't been called for the following day.

Last night, I forgot to call. I woke up at 6:30 this morning and remembered that I should probably call. I figured I'd hear that voice telling me that I was free to go about my regularly scheduled business.

No such luck. The voice said I needed to report at 7:30 a.m.

So now I'm in a room that sure as heck looks a lot different from those rooms on Law and Order. There's wood paneling but there are some really bright fluorescent lights overhead. I just finished juror orientation. During orientation, I learned that LA has the largest court system in the world, with over 6,000 trials. Over 5 million people intersect with the court system out here each year. Wow. I had no idea.

The guy giving the orientation, Jose, had jokes for days. He told us about how we got a raise for jury pay. It used to be $5 and now it's $15. He told us about jurors that will answer their cell phones while they're in the jury box. He told us we can't talk to the media, but he said, "If, after your service, you want to speak to the media, write a book, make a movie, that's up to you. But don't talk to the media now." Oh yes, I definitely live in LA.

I was hoping to be excused right away but Jose said we'll be here till 4 or 5 this afternoon. Thank goodness for wireless. Now I just need to find a plug for when my laptop battery dies.

We'll see if I get assigned to a case. It's a good hair day so maybe some lawyer will pick me.


Anonymous said…
Oh no!!! Good luck Liz!!! I suffered through a long day of waiting back in February ... and my name wasn't called once! So, happily I sat in the very boring room reading a great book and walked around downtown during my 1.5-hour lunch. It actually ended up not being a terrible way to spend the day after all!

West said…
I've never been called, thank goodness.

As far as getting through the day, thank goodness for the latest Treo, since it allows me to leave my laptop at home more.
Liz Dwyer said…
It's a very long day of waiting, but the plaza outside the courthouse is lovely. Those purple flowering trees are everywhere and it smells amazing out there. Plus, I don't know when the last time I took such a long lunch was! I agree, not so bad at all.

If you saw some of the odd-balls up in here, you'd wish you'd been called and that you got to serve! It's a little scary to think that some of these folks decide innocence or guilt.

You are loving your Treo aren't you! :) I have a hard time typing on really small keyboards though. My thumbs just don't move that quickly.
Good luck, Liz. I've auditioned for many juries, but never gotten the role.

I hope it goes whichever way you want it to.

The purple flowering trees are probably Jacarandas.
none said…
I've dodged jury duty all my adult life and now that I can serve nobody calls me.

Oh well...hang em high :)
Liz Dwyer said…
Well, they sent us all home around 4 in the afternoon and I didn't get assigned to a trial. They called a bunch of folks for a 3 week criminal trial and that would have felt a little long to have to serve. But, if it happened, I wouldn't have minded. Alas, it wasn't meant to be! And yes, Jacaranda's! I never knew what they are officially called, but they are absolutely beautiful right now. The smell is just heavenly.

This was the first time I've ever received a summons and I didn't have any legit reason to not do it. You can get a summons every 12 months out here, but who knows, maybe I'll never get another one again.
the last noel said…
I put mine off till June or July. I get called like clockwork. Then there are people like West who don't get called at all. What gives?
Jameil said…
i'm 24. been called 3xs. sat for a case but it was such bs that they dismissed it before the end. but... i kind of like jury duty. did you get picked?
Liz Dwyer said…
I thought about trying to postpone, but I could get called right in the middle of my summer trip to Chicago or something. Plus it was a Friday...I was hoping it would be a slow day.

Are you serious? Three times? Wowzer! You need to find out West's secret for never being called.

So nope, I didn't get picked. I didn't even get moved out of the general jury waiting room. My butt definitely got a good workout on the "couches".

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