Jury Duty

In 31 years, I’d never received a certain piece of mail. A jury duty summons. Until about a month ago. Honestly, I laughed when I got it. I tweeted & was assured as a nursing/pumping working mom, I’d easily get out of it. I threw May 13th jury duty on my work calendar & kinda forgot about it.

Until last Friday afternoon when I called the jury duty line & heard my juror number was one of the ones who had to report to the courthouse at 830a. I {still laughing} told my boss I’d be in late & left my desk as is at 5p.

When I arrived at Wake Co courthouse Monday morning, I told the jury clerk I needed to pump {& that my 11 mo old was throwing up}. She said {nicely} sorry your son’s sick & let me know when you need to pump as my office/copy room is also the pump room. So much for quickly & easily escaping my civil service.

Thankfully I’d brought a book {Defending Jacob which will have it’s own post soon} & I spent from 830-11a reading surrounded by 198 others in slightly comfy chairs. At 11, she called out 44 names to report to a courtroom needing a jury. Mine was called. I texted the husband who was home taking care of sick Zach that I wouldn’t be home soon but would be in touch.

As our elevator got off on the 3rd floor & I read that was the criminal courtrooms, I got a little nervous. Then we filed in & the judge advised us potential jurors that this was a first degree murder trial with media coverage {I wasn’t familiar with the 2 year old crime} & I got more nervous.

From here on, I received a lesson in jury selection as done by the NC court system. Twelve potential jurors were called up, interviewed individually & as a group & dismissed by either the DA or the defense attorney. After jurors were dismissed, at random, those of us remaining in the pews were called. My name continued to not be called Monday & since the selection wasn’t complete at 5p, I had to report back to the courthouse Tues morning.

Tuesday was more of the same, sitting in a wooden bench with knots in my stomach waiting to be called. I was unsure whether or not I wanted to hear my name. If I did, I could {finally} tell them I was a nursing mom who needed to pump more often than the 930a & 2p that I did Monday & hopefully be let go. If I never did, I’d be dismissed once all parties were satisfied with the jury. The latter is what finally happened Tuesday around lunch time.

I left downtown with a sigh of relief, a lot more knowledge & respect for our court system, & knowing they’ll be a $32 check for my two days coming soon. And knowing I can’t be called upon to serve again for two years.

Any of y’all had jury duty?

5 comments

  1. YES!!! I almost had to sit on the jury of a pretty high profile murder case about 2 years ago. I had to go two days in a row, like you, & they sat they last juror right before they got to my name. As I was walking out, I looked at the defendant sitting there & he locked eyes with me…it was pretty terrifying, really.
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  2. Crysi says:

    I got called 3 times in 3 years. The first time I was 14w pg with my oldest daughter & tried not to puke the entire morning while needing to pee constantly. We were sent home at lunch, thankfully. The second time, my twins were less than a month old. I filled out the form requesting an exemption, explaining I had newborn twins & a 2yo. I was their sole caregiver & still nursing at that point. I was exempted. The 3rd time was just a couple months later. I sent back the form explaining they’d just exempted me & that things hadn’t really changed since. I was surprised I didn’t get an apology letter. I still think it was weird that it happened like that.

  3. Harmskills says:

    Sounds similar to my experience in NYC- ironic that you are reading defending Jacob at the cout house! Interested to read your post on that

  4. [...] the fact that I was detained in the county courthouse for potential jury duty last Monday & Tuesday meant my 3 workdays last week were beyond hectic as I tried to squeeze 40 [...]

  5. [...] cow! I read Defending Jacob by William Landay quick. Sitting for hours awaiting potential jury duty helped me finish it & proved a great background for reading about a murder [...]

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