Thursday, March 11, 2010

jury duty - the waiting

having received my summons, i checked the daily law list the day before the start of my jury duty period, and found out i wasn't required on day 1! what an anti-climax. i was notified that i needed to make myself available for a 2 week period, and imagined that i would have to go through a process for many a day whereby i would check to see if i needed to turn up, and when i did turn up would go through some period of waiting and if not selected for a jury repeat the whole thing the next day. this didn't quite turn out to be the case... i was required on day 2 and at 8:45am no less. some days i could still be thinking about getting out of bed at that time of day! this is a live blog of sorts of that day, as recorded on my PDA:

Bus trip went 7:38-8:30; it was supposed to arrive in the city at 8:16 but took longer to get on the busway. Glad I took an earlier bus. The walk from home to bus stop took >10mins, walk from stop to courts 5 mins.

Not much signage at the courts, walked in abt 8:35 to see queue for security screening. Guessed this was line for jurors based on notices (summons) others were holding. After screen, faced lifts - no idea where to go. Hoped someone else did. First stop happened to be floor 3, doors opened and saw sign for "jurors assembly area" - guess this is the right place!

Bailiff calling out instructions for registering and lodgement of paperwork, then the start of waiting. As the bailiff advised, nothing moves quickly in the law courts!

09:05 sheriff making introductory announcements.

09:25 deputy sheriff's turn. 10 min informational DVD. Recognise narrator's voice as that of Bruce Paige! NB. video is very old. 80s? stream of jurors wanting to speak to deputy - most applying for excusal?

09:45 waiting... DS says not offering comfort break cos half the room will disappear, asks us to wait around and he'll address us again in 2 mins. I need to go...!

09:53 deputy sheriff confirming jurors' availability for a 10 day trial (will go past originally advised 2 week period). I originally answered "unsure" on the computer during registration, but decided to say yes when asked again.

09:58 waiting again.

10:05 deputy sheriff confirming jurors' availability for a 7 day trial - surprising number of people opt out.

10:08 waiting again.

10:12 first lot of jurors being called and taken away for a trial. 5 more trials to go for today. Girl sitting beside me moves away - maybe I smell!

10:19 back to waiting after a comfort break (gents was closod for cleaning! Thankfully the cleaner finished fairly quickly) now showing channel 9 on the TV.

10:36 trial 2 jurors being called. At least 28 jurors required each time for empanelling process - 12 per jury plus 8 each for challenges and stand bys.

10:38 waiting, TV. Starting to feel hungry. Court sessions usually run 10-1, 2:30-4:30.

10:45 some jurors (presumably from 1st lot who were not empanelled) return to waiting area.

10:50 trial 3 jurors

and it was at this point that my number was called. some 30-odd jurors were then led to a court room where the trial was just getting under way. the defendant pled not guilty, and the empanelling began...

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