Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Jury Duty

Awoke ungodly early to get ready this morning so I could be out at the bus stop at 6:30am. I wasn't sure what to expect. I was not only taking different buses (at times when I'm definitely not used to being out and about) but I was going to Kent (KENT!) which might as well be the moon for how little I know of the place.

As we drew closer to the Regional Justice Center, a few other befuddled would-be jurists were asking the driver about where to get off, so I just followed along with them. Struck up a conversation with an older gentleman who was coming from West Seattle, while a younger hipster strode off ahead of us. We followed him and eventually ended up in the right place, was screened through the security check point and got myself all checked in without any problem. It was reassuring to me that most of the other people showing up for jury duty were as uncertain as I was. We all muddled along just fine and overhearing the conversations people were having all around, nearly every one of my jurist peers had at least one small interesting thing about them.

I was in the first group of 36 to be called up, so there was no hanging about in the room playing Cranium or using the wifi for me. I was part of a group that was potentially going to hear an felony assault case. A handful of people were excused on the basis of economic hardship off the bat, and I probably could have gotten out of it myself for that same reason, but I wouldn't have dreamed of it. Those of us who remained sat through two rounds of Q&A with the judge and the lawyers, interrupted by a lunch break. I was Jurist #29 and figured they would never get to me but it turned out that I missed serving on the jury by the skin of my teeth. The lawyers dismissed several jurists and filled the holes with the rest of us through #28. One more preemption and I would have been among the 13 chosen (though who knows if I would have lasted to the end).

Everyone had to announce their names, where they lived, what they and their families did for a living, what they did in their leisure time and where they got their news. The guy whose news sources were NPR and the internet and the guy who used FOX news ended up spending the rest of the afternoon giving each other sideways glances. I was interested by the things the lawyers focused on: anyone who had any criminal law training (we had one lawyer and one Yale law student in our group), anyone who had been the victim of a violent crime or burglary (several of those in our group, all burglaries), anyone who had issues with alcohol. The prosecutor called on me to elaborate on what kind of "publishing company" I owned, which I dreaded because I absolutely hate trying to explain what I do. I said that we published roleplaying games because if I say "games" people always, always assume it's computer games, but the woman had no idea what roleplaying games were. I tried, "You may have heard of Dungeons and Dragons? It's the most popular one," all the while cringing inside and hoping she wasn't one of those people who thinks RPGs are devil worship or cause people to act out murders or any of that utter bullshit. I lucked out, I suppose, in that she was still utterly clueless about what I did, so I tried to explain very briefly what the games involved (pretending to be superheroes or knights in shining armor, telling cooperative stories with other players, rolling dice to determine if your actions succeed or fail) while someone off to the side of me snickered audibly. I think it was the kid from Yale.

Once the jury was selected, the rest of us were freed from our obligation. We were originally told to go back to the room in case there was another trial that needed jurors but when we got there we were told that not only did they not need us for the rest of the day but we did not even need to come back tomorrow as we'd been originally told. Light case loads in August, apparently. There were no more trials we might be called for so we were free to go. I'm curious to know how the trial I was almost selected for turns out but I doubt I'll ever know.


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Blogger Gary Says:

I'm sure you'll have a chance to serve on a jury someday. Once they get your number, you're liable to be called up for service every year until they hook you onto a case. At least, that's the way it works for me.

Blogger Toren Q Atkinson Says:

Do this:


Computer games?

Exactly like computer games, but on graph paper.


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