Slowly … so very slowly, do the wheels of justice turn.
Being impaneled actually changes one's outlook for the better. When you are in the jury selection phase of the trial, you are always left with the distant hope that one attorney or the other won't like the way you dress; the clothes you wear; your position on the writers' strike; or your answers to one of the interview questions so you go through this cycle of hopefulness (dismiss me …) and dispair (damn, she didn't call my juror number …). Once you know for certain that you are on the jury, you just settle in and have no choice but to see the thing through to the end.
The trial system is very plodding. We meet in the morning and they bring us all in as a group. We then hear testimony for about 50 minutes before we take a break. We gather and wait, then do it all over again. It sometimes is painfully meticulous and slow. The highlight of the day was that I finally got to hear one of the attorney's say, "I OBJECT!" I had been anticipating this for a long while so I had to concentrate not to laugh about it when it finally happened.
Another up side is that with all of those breaks and nothing to do, you do have an ample amount of time to figure out where you would like to go for lunch. The court has been giving us a very generous 1:45 minute to 2-hour lunch break! Yesterday, I drove to the Crenshaw District to see of the LA Walmart had a Guitar Hero III game for the Wii that I could pick up for my brother's kids, but unfortunately I was out of luck.
Today, I drove up to Phillippe's (home of the original French dip sandwich) for lunch. After eating, I even had a few minutes to browse through some of the stores in Chinatown before heading back to the courthouse. Tomorrow, two other jurors and I plan to hit Little Tokyo for lunch.
When you think about it, if you have the right attitude about it this jury duty thing can suck a lot more for the co-workers covering for you than for yourself (thanks Scooter Kitty). That is, if you work in a nice place which I, thankfully, do.
The other end of the extreme, though, is horrible. Yesterday, it was one of the perspective juror's birthday. He was one of the very last jurors dismissed before they settled on our panel so we all (including the judge) wished him a happy birthday as he got up to leave. As I was leaving at the end of the day, he was attempting to get back in to speak to the judge. Apparently, juror guy called his boss to let him know that he'd be back to work the next day and juror guy's boss told him that he'd been fired so all he had to do was come in and clean out his locker. Obviously, this is TOTALLY against the law, but the poor guy still has to deal with all of that and on his birthday! Think about it, even if he get's his job back, he has to work for a boss that is an asshat of the first order.
All I can say is thank goodness I have the job, the boss, and the co-workers that I do!!!