I was chosen for Jury Duty for Maricopa County and today was the day to show up. Like Washington, DC – Maricopa County has a one day, one trial jury process meaning you can serve one trial or one day waiting to get picked and you’ve fulfilled your obligation to the government. Mostly you sit around all day watching videos of why jury duty is important (it seems to me these types of commercials might be better served in the general public, not where people have already shown up for the service).
The process for selecting a juror for a particular case is called voir dire – which is Latin for “to speak the truth”. All day I couldn’t remember what it was called and I kept thinking boudoir, but that’s a different animal all together – well maybe not. Both of these things expose a little bit of us to others. The voir dire process is in front of a hundred other people and suddenly they get to know more about you in a day then you want most people to know about you in a year (I’m a private person with an internet blog… go figure).
Juries are chosen from a random selection of people of all ages, races and backgrounds to provide a jury of your peers. Yet somehow two special education teachers from different sides of the valley are sitting next to one another – jurors number 22 and 23 and two mothers whose sons died after being hit by drunk drivers are jurors 33 and 36. You could see the people look at one another with an understanding and a connection. (No other Clerk of the Works were present, I did listen just in case). The defendants were two black men and there was a significant lack of black people in the jury pool so I’m not sure a real “Jury of your peers” was going to be present. They did try to ask questions of all of us to see how we could relate, what would be our roadblocks and how would we sway – given a certain set of circumstances.
It brought back certain memories to be asked such questions – “did you ever serve as a witness in a civil or criminal case” … well yes… “Have you been the victim of a crime?” well, yes… my precious bowling ball is still missing, having been stolen a few years ago from the back seat of my car. “Do you know anyone – a close friend or relative that has been convicted of a crime – DUI’s count” and at the point I wondered how far anonymity with Alcoholics Anonymous goes…. I know many a fine upstanding citizen in AA who has had a DUI… or seven, and now are productive members of society… so I didn’t raise my hand at that one.
It is a great opportunity to people watch. There was one young woman with purple hair – she seemed more of a loner than I she would just stand in the middle of the room looking lost and unsure where she should sit. Plenty of open seats not next to anyone were available, yet she just sat there, sometimes chewing on a nail or just looking pitiful.
Many sexy bearish types and some handsome silver daddies were present as well, but they all had that golden ring on their finger marking them off limits, but a little eye candy never hurt a good voir dire, actually helps to make the day go by faster.
It was a long day and I would have rather been at work, but it wasn’t bad. The worst part, like most things, was the waiting. I had brought an audio book, a sketch pad and colored pencils and also listened to my new favorite band: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats… just loving this sound and Nathaniel is sexy as fuck and he’s from Denver, which isn’t terribly far away I guess.
Jury duty is at an end for now. In DC you would get called every two years, no matter what. I hear it’s not that often here, we’ll see.