Friday, May 22, 2009

A jury room with a view

So I've got jury duty. Not a bad thing really, apart from them asking me to be there at 8:30 am. Let's be clear, I am not a morning person. So I spent most of the past couple days sitting in the jury assembly room, not in a courtroom, with many other potential jurors. I have a few observations.

1. It is amazing how many adults don't cover their mouths when they cough. Really. I don't even want to think about their hand washing if they're this lazy about spreading disease.

2. The Seattle hipster look is only successful in about 1 of 3 people. If you don't pull it off, you look like a tool. Really, go wash your hair already.

3. In the pool of people who end up sitting in jury assembly rooms, about 20% are difficult to identify as either man or woman.

4. People who run the jury process use the same vocal intonation and speech affectations as high school administrators. It made the whole day feel like freshman orientation, except that the freshmen were all really old (for freshmen at least).

5. Seattle is pretty freakin' nice to their jurors. Free wifi, free coffee, comfortable chairs, computers for those who didn't bring laptops, craploads of magazines, cable tv, floor to ceiling windows, roof terrace and a quiet room for those who require even more silence than the already pretty quiet jury assembly main room. But they won't let you make a new pot of coffee when it runs out because they claim to have special tricks to make the coffee tasty so you have to ask them to make a new pot and then they snap at you when you do ask. I'm pretty sure not providing fresh coffee is illegal in Seattle, but I have to confirm that.

6. The acoustics in some rooms make very private cell phone conversations held in one corner of the room audible to everyone else in that room. I now know way more about one of the other potential juror's digestive issues than I think I should. She either didn't know we could hear her, or she has big issues with over-sharing.

7. In a city the size of Seattle, even if you only stay in your little corner of the city, you can still walk into a courtroom and know the prosecuting attorney. And it won't necessarily disqualify you from being on the jury.

8. Pretty much anyone can become a lawyer. Really, anyone. You don't even seem to need to know how to formulate a coherent question.

9. More than a few people have a real problem making logical conclusions based on how they answer questions. "I agreed that if everyone on the jury had a clear bias like mine the accused would not get a fair trial. What I don't get is why he excused me from the jury." Uh, duh!

10. Some judges are really cranky. Just like on TV. I'm just hoping if I end up on a jury that the cops are hot like they are on TV (Detective Mike Logan, please take the stand)


Anonymous said...

I know one former legal secretary who can second the motion for #8. When looking for a lawyer, interview their secretary.


Draft Queen said...

Hm. Free wifi and computers provided? My boss had jury duty today and he said he wasn't allowed to even take his laptop, iPod, or cell phone into the courthouse. And I'm sure there wasn't free coffee (and even if there was, I'll put money on it that it was terrible.)

Beth said...

"look like a tool" - I love that line!

Maybe the lady on the cell phone learned how to whisper in a Def Leppard concert. It could happen.

Corina - Down to Earth Mama said...

It is amazing the observations one could make about society from a jury pool. Although, makes you wonder what a "jury of your peers" actually means. A non-hairwashing, open coughing, loud talker with digestive issues.... hmmmmmm. Peer?

Kaza said...

This is funny. It also makes me miss Seattle coffee. I haven't had a great cup since leaving in '94. No, that's not true. I forgot that I went to Italy after that.

No wonder you were cranky the other night! A week of this would make anyone irritable, even if they do treat you well.

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