It's been an interesting week, and it's only Wednesday morning. Got back from vacation Sunday evening and was looking forward to easing back into work without much hassle. I knew there was a possibility I might end up at the DeKalb County Courthouse on Monday -- I'd gotten a summons for jury duty back at the beginning of June -- but I've known so many people who've been summoned but never had to serve that it never occurred to me that I'd be the exception. Besides, even if I did end up at the courthouse on Monday there's no way any attorney in his or her right mind would actually allow me to be seated on a jury.
I was wrong. I called Sunday evening, found out I did have to report to the courthouse. Got to the courthouse, and was in the first group of people called. Okay, it was still long odds for me to actually end up in a jury box: 50 people in the pool, and only 14 would end up seated. I got more and more hopeful I'd be one of the rejects as the attorneys went through the winnowing process -- I'm old, so there were a lot of questions I could answer yes to ("Do you know anyone who's been a victim of domestic violence?" "Do you ride MARTA?"[only 2 of us answered yes to that one and it's still a complete mystery as to why it was asked, unless it was to determine how comfortable we were around the unwashed masses] "Have you ever been a witness in a court case, either by giving a deposition or appearing in court?") . After asking the questions to the group as a whole (a process that ate up most of the morning), the attorneys followed up with the individuals who had given yes answers to get the details.
Maybe I shouldn't have referred to the Older Daughter's ex as an "abusive lout." It's possible the prosecutors saw this as a sign I didn't have much use for violent offenders. Still, I thought sure it would be the kiss of death when I said I'd taught sociology on the university level. Sociologists are notorious for being bleeding heart liberals and soft on crime because of our insistence on looking at context and talking about root causes. Wrong again.
So for the next few days I'll be sitting in a courtroom or a jury room from 8:30 a.m. until who knows when in the evening. We ran late Monday (the selection process took forever), we got out at a reasonable time yesterday because the judge had another court matter to take care of at 4:30, but the rest of this week is looking grim. Long, long witness list and a judge who's said the plan is for the trial to finish within its allotted time, i.e., by late Friday afternoon.
On the positive side, once this ends and it's ethical for me to discuss the case, I'm going to have a ton of material for a really long blog post. For now, I'm just going to be quietly relieved this is not a capital murder case.