Fine Upstanding Citizen

City of Houston Municipal Courts

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??


14 thoughts on “Fine Upstanding Citizen

  1. You are eligible to serve 6 months after you move to GA. I got called as soon as my 6 month anniversary hit.

    I went. It was a DUI case. The guy had two priors and they asked me if I could be impartial with this knowledge. Um…huh? I told them “where there’s is smoke, there tends to be fire.”

    I got booted from the jury box so fast my head spun. Ah well. LOL

    We get $25 here and they have free wi-fi in the holding area. So it’s not all that bad. I got called a 2nd time and was also dismissed from serving.

  2. I’ve only ever been called once – right at the end of my pregnancy. I was high risk and exempted. Haven’t been called since, but I sure would love to serve. PICK ME COACH!!

  3. I got called for duty in NY while I was at school in PA. The second time I got called, the judge happened to be a good friend of my aunt (also a judge) and had sworn her in at her induction, so I got dismissed.

  4. Yep but I was only held for 2 hours before they dismissed me. Depending on the type of case they don’t want educated people (so I was told) and I was in grad school at the time. This was a small town so everything was held in the court room. i think it was an autotheft case.

    • I’ve picked juries and seen a lot of them picked, and I’ve never heard that you don’t want educated people. That’s crazy. You NEED educated people who can read and understand the jury instructions and the process and be rational thinkers. I’m not sure who told you that, but that’s just dumb.

  5. I got a summons about two years ago, but got out of it because it was for a county that I maintain residency in, but at the time was living 500+ miles away from and even now don’t live in.

    It’s coming though. I know it is. They’re gonna catch me.

  6. I must be weird because I actually like jury duty. I’ve served in NY and DC and was on a jury once in each. I’ve lived in Atlanta 5 years now and only been called once. I didn’t even have to report. They give you a number to call the night before that lets you know whether you actually need to show up.

  7. yup.. just did my deed for the first time since moving here in 2000.. and of course I was chosen for a dang criminal trial.. and I thought he was guilty BUT there wasn’t enough evidence so I sided with the evidence and found him not guilty along with my peers and just prayed that if he was guilty he would learn the error of his ways and NOT find his way to my neighborhood..

  8. When I lived in Philly I got summoned a few times. ANd the one time I was selected for a jury is the one time that I could not (would not). I pleaded with the Judge to let me go. I had arbitration for my sex/race job discrimination claim the next day. I would have had a melt down if I couldn’t make my arbitration.

  9. I received a notice once, but I checked the box that said I was pregnant… and they never contacted me otherwise. I know, I should have done my civic duty, but… oh well. It won’t be the last time. 🙂

  10. I live in DC so I get called for the DC courts every two years like clockwork, give or take a few weeks. In addition, DC residents are also the pool for the federal courts so I tend to get jury duty for federal courts in the off years. lol… it’s a hot mess.

    I’ve never been selected for a trial but I did get put on a grand jury (no trials, we just heard evidence from prosecutors, victims and witnesses and decided whether or not to indict) where I had to serve 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR 5 WEEKS. It was just as terrible as it sounds. 😦

  11. I’ve never been called.

  12. Dang they only give you six dollars? For the whole day? Those are like slave wages.

    I got a summons once but you can call in the night before and see if they need you luckily they didn’t.

  13. I’ve only been called once, and that for jury duty in Florida after I’d already moved to Minnesota. I would love to serve on a jury, i don’t understand why ppl dread it so much.

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