on civic duty …

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Let’s just say it, “I hate jury duty!!!”

So many things I’d rather be doing than sitting here, but … What choice do we have, right? If we want our system to function, then we all have to pitch in a little bit. The thing that bums me out the most is that I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 12 years and this is the THIRD time I’ve been called for jury duty!!! Either, there is A LOT. Of crime in LA, or there are an awful lot of jury duty scofflaws that aren’t getting busted by the system and I’m one if the suckers making up the difference. Other than that big hiccup, I find that doing my civic duty isn’t all that painful. Thank goodness, though, that the court now provides wifi access in the jury assembly room!!!

Most people don’t want to be here, but I do have to say that it is nice to see 250 other Americans showing up and patiently waiting out the day to do their civic duty. With just a very few exceptions, people are pleasant and try to make the best of the situation.

I know that it is fashionable to bag on civil service employees, but I can truly say that the clerks running this assembly room do a really admirable job. I’ve watched them calmly diffuse angry folk in the jury pool who are outraged that they cannot be dismissed to live their lives that are so much more important than the rest of ours; I’ve watched them compassionately lay out options available to tearful potential jurors who cannot make ends meet should they lose the income of workdays missed due to jury service ($15.00 a day really doesn’t make up a day’s wages); I’ve watched them firmly shut down the obnoxious attorney broadcasting his anger at having do his civic responsibility in a horrendously loud cell phone conversation; and I’ve watched them very firmly inform people that showed up too late that they would have to reschedule their jury service for another week because … THEY WERE TWO HOURS LATE!!!

Our courts, though, really do need some more money to keep me going. My jury assembly room is on the eleventh floor of the court building downtown. There are ten or twelve elevators, but at least four of them are out of order. When everyone got dismissed for lunch, the wait for elevators was so long that a good chunk of us decided to walk down eleven flights of stairs rather than wait. That’s not a good thing! It was a little surreal walking down eleven flights of stairs in a huge continuos stream of jurors from all different floors heading out to lunch at the same time. We reached the bottom and found out that it was a dead end (kind of a bad plan for N emergency exit … How about a sign, guys?) only to have to back up and clog up the exit door on the second floor.

All in all, though, it is what it is. If I have to serve, I have to serve. I have a copy of my flight info showing that I will be flying out of LA on June 12th. As long as a judge is cool with me leaving on that day, I’m cool with it.

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One thought on “on civic duty …

  1. It seems like the “stipend” for jury duty has been $15/day for as long as I can remember and that’s a long time. That needs to be cranked up big-time for the sake of people whose jobs are not-here-not-paid, no matter the reason.

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