Here's the blow-by-blow from Twitter today...
I have jury duty this morning in municipal court. I've got my fingers crossed I make the panel this time so I can see what goes on in back.
Dude in front of me in jury assembly room is wearing his shirt inside-out. Are there no mirrors in his house? #juryduty
Hmmm. One of the magazines in the jury room is Garden & Gun. Maybe that's the best way to handle fire ants and mosquitos. #juryduty
Sitting here bored out of my skull waiting to get put on a panel. Rare that any trial starts before 1pm. #juryduty
Back after a lengthy lunch break waiting to be assigned to a panel. Why did we have to be here at 9am again? #juryduty
It appears that our friend with the inside-out shirt fixed it at lunch. #juryduty
Dammit. They don't have my juror appreciation certificate printed out. #juryduty
Just got dismissed. Never got on a panel. Never made it to a courtroom. Bummer. #juryduty
And, of course, it's raining. #jurydutyWas it an inconvenience to have to spend my day in the jury room at the Municipal Courthouse? Sure it was. But there is something about being on the other side of things that I find interesting. I will also say that the administrator was very personable and kept us all informed about what was going on.
The room in the back for charging your phone and laptop was a great benefit. I spent most of my time after our first break and in the afternoon back there reading a book on my phone.
My one main criticism is having jurors come in at 9 am. In the eight years I've been working in the municipal courts, I've had all of one trial in which we started voir dire before the lunch break. In reality, trials aren't getting going until about 2 pm. There are generally a handful of cases remaining unresolved when the courts break for lunch. Give a few minutes to work out the cases that can be worked out at it's at least two before you can start a trial.
So, why not just have jurors come in at noon or 1 pm? It'll give the administrator plenty of time to play the jury service video. They'd have to find time to have a judge come down and talk to the jurors about exemptions and disqualifications - but they have three judges who all serve administrative duties so it can be done.
I would have preferred to have served on a panel so I could experience what happens back in the jury room. I think it would make me a better lawyer to at least have an idea of how things happen back there. At a minimum I would have liked to have watched someone else conducting a voir dire where I didn't have to keep notes.
But at least all of us who showed up this morning allowed three defendants to try their cases in front of a jury of their peers - and that's something to be proud of.