About a month ago, I finishing up my campaign for city council and I’m checking the mail and lo and behold I get a summons for Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court for jury duty. What!?! You got to be kidding me!! Jury Duty!! I’m almost 40 years old and have been voting since I was 18 and as soon as I run for a public office, I get jury duty. It’s a conspiracy! After the shock wore off, I counted the days until my summons date, so I could get this over with.
I get up that morning still not happy about spending a week with a bunch of other people who, like myself, can find a million other things to do other than sitting around waiting for our names to be called. As I line up to sign in, I run into a friend from college. We grab a bite to eat and start shooting the breeze, then they started to call names and his name was called. So I was left to wait and wait and wait. Around eleven o’clock I got called, just as I was about to fall back asleep mind you, and they took us upstairs and we again waited in a jury deliberation room for about three hours. The judge finally came in and thanks us for our service. It seems that the cases he was to oversee all settled and we were not needed anymore. Our presence was enough to give the defendants something to think about. We were sent back downstairs and to our luck, they let us go home for the day.
My second day was better, I found more old fiends who worked in the courts and also who where picked for jury duty. I was having a good time and as fate would have it my name was called again. This time we didn’t wait in any room, we were taken right into the court room. I was in the first group and sat in the jury box and the attorney’s began their questioning to select the jurors. It was at this point I began to see how important our service was. The time waiting didn’t seem so bad, and I begin to understand that jury duty is one of the most important services that we can offer or country. To my dismay, five o’clock came around and we had to finish selection the next day.
They called us upstairs the next day and as soon I was getting excited, they sent us back down because of a delay in the case. Well that delay took all day, we sat in the jury pool and conversed, slept, played cards and ran the batteries down on our Blackberry’s. Side note…no Wi-Fi in the jury pool, well no good Wi-Fi. Three o’clock comes around and we get called again, this time they asked us to bring our belongings with us. They tell us the defendant pled and was sentenced so there was no longer need for us and…since it was the middle of the week and a new group of potential jurors can in that morning, they let us go for the rest of the week, duty served.
I left feeling a little different about my duty to sever on a jury if called. We are to get a jury of our peers. The man that would have been on trial really didn’t have that. Even if it looked like it on the outside, he had people with the same mindset I first had, “this is an inconvenience to me.” And that thought process doesn’t give the defendant a fair attempt to be proven not guilty.
I loved my jury duty experience as a whole. It is a service to my country and a service I would gladly report to again.