Hello from the 7th Circuit Court here in Flint, MI. I was summoned to appear yesterday and today, but my panel was not called yesterday. I have been called to serve jury duty twice before. In Newberry, SC I was called for Municipal Court. I was seated, and then excused because I had immediate family in law enforcement. When I lived in San Antonio, TX I spent a day sitting in the jury room, but was never called. I have always been disappointed that I haven’t been able to serve.
Today was different. They brought all of us who were in the 8am call to the courtroom. I cannot begin to express properly the shock I experienced when the charges were read. “Murder.” My smile melted away. I started to panic. “Is MI a death penalty state?” I wondered. I sucked back tears.
Then, right away, I was called as a potential juror. That’s when they started talking about how long this trial might take. “Through May 10,” said the judge.
“What?!” I thought. I can’t be out of work through May 10. I swear, I had no idea from the summons that this was more than a 2-day ordeal. I have held yesterday and today for weeks in preparation for doing my civic duty.
When the judge asked about scheduling hardships, I raised my hand. She didn’t care that I have work-related travel planned and obligations. She acted as if I should have known this could take weeks, even though she’d already asked all of us if we have served on a jury before and we all had said no. I seriously had no idea I was committing to more than two days.
At this point, I began to freak out about how I was going to get all of my work done. I don’t have the kind of job that the work goes away when I am absent. It just builds up.
I was also still reeling from the thought that I might be exposed to all the bad stuff I work so hard to avoid. I gave up news years ago. Details of a carjacking/murder are extremely high on the list of things I don’t want to think about.
The judge released a couple of jurors. One guy was dismissed after saying “I don’t like the law.” A woman who worked at a bank and had been robbed twice was dismissed.
The lawyers began their questions for the jury (voir dire). They asked a few questions and I was really starting to worry that I was going to be sitting on a jury in a murder trial. Then they started asking more sensitive questions. I was released the first time the prosecution got the chance to scratch somebody.
I left and did some Googling. I am certain that I should not have been on that jury.