The letter arrived in the mailbox last week. It was addressed to me in my maiden name. I wondered could I get away with using that as a excuse not to go. My husband said it wouldn’t work. Damn. The dreaded jury duty summons.
But I’d gotten somewhat lucky. It was to the City of Houston Municipal Courts. Traffic court. But then I got skurred all over again. In Houston, we have traffic court till 9PM at night. Lawd, I did NOT want to be in the seedier part of downtown Houston AT NIGHT. *spins, then faints*
Myron suggests I actually READ the summons. I do. I breathe a sigh of relief. Jury duty is one day and all the jury trials are during the day.
I reported downtown this morning at 9AM. Thankfully the city pays for your parking. I get to the courthouse and damn near have to strip like I am about to get on a plane, belt off, shoes off, the whole nine. I make my way to the jury assembly room…and wait. Around 9:15, the jury administrator comes out, picks up our jury summons and we watch a little video about how the court works, and ways we could possibly be exempted. I didn’t qualify for any of said exemptions.
And so we wait. Finally around 11AM, the first jury panel of 12 got called. Only 6 people get chosen to sit on a traffic court case, so I had a 50/50 chance of going home. Another panel, got called around 11:30, still no TIH. Around 11:45, we got dismissed for lunch. *deep long sigh* Gonna be an all day affair for your girl.
I go grab some lunch, wonder why it’s 79 degrees in Houston on December 15th, and get back to the jury assembly room right at the appointed 1:15PM return time. I like to live dangerously! I go to the ladies room, slide back into the church pews in the room and the administrator calls the next panel.
I’m up! Juror #2, headed to court #3. We follow the bailiff, in order mind you, like a bunch of kindergarteners to the court. They seat us in order, we hear instructions from the judge: state your occupation, location, and if you have served on a jury before. We then move right into voir dire, which means literally “to speak the truth” in Latin. It’s a speeding case so both the State’s Attorney and the Defense ask us questions about whether the jury has gotten speeding tickets before, can we be impartial, how we view the police etc. When they get to me, I mention that I got TWO speeding tickets in 2009. (Both were Myron’s fault. Hmph.) They move through the rest of the panel with their questions, go over to the judge to consult, and pass some papers to the baliff.
The bailiff calls six folks to the jury box. TIH is not one of them. I try very hard to withhold my glee! We are led back to the assembly room, get our certificates of participation and verify our address so that we can receive our hard earned juror payment of SIX WHOLE DOLLARS!!!
I roll out of the courthouse around 2:15PM. I text Myron that’s I was free and head on home.
My civic duty has been fulfilled. At least for the next two years.
Gotten a jury summons lately? Did you go? Did you get selected for trial??