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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Jury Duty


The only association I had with jury duty as a youngster was that drag of a Monopoly card that made you lose a turn or something. Clearly, whatever jury duty was, it sucked. But as an adult, I've become increasingly more interested in serving on a jury. Partly because I'm curious about the inner workings of a trial, and partly because of all the hilarious TV portrayals out there of people trying to get on or off a jury. It's such a thing, jury duty. Liz Lemon and her Princess Leia routine as an example of someone trying to get out of it, the hilarious 3rd Rock From the Sun scene where John Lithgow's alien tries so hard to be picked.

While in jury selection this week, I found myself in the John Lithgow camp. I wanted to be picked so badly. I wanted to see what the process was like, plus it seemed so utterly depressing to be sent away. Lawyers can of course "challenge" your presence on a jury and dismiss you without one word of explanation, so passing whatever criteria they had set seemed like an accomplishment. I wanted to get on the jury. I needed to get on the jury. When the judge had me introduce myself and like an idiot I went on and on about how excited I would be to serve, I was sure one of the lawyers would pitch me for being too eager. But I got to stay, and having just wrapped the 3-day trial yesterday, I have to say, I absolutely loved the experience.

Listening intently to all the witnesses and forming my own opinion, seeing the law at work, having everyone stand each time I entered or exited the courtroom, deliberating with a roomful of other Ohioans from various walks of life, the whole experience just felt so very American. I felt proud, lucky even. And someday when I'm inevitably framed for drug possession while on an exotic vacation (I've seen Brokedown Palace), I'll hope there are folks as invested in helping as I am to sit on my jury.

My only wish is that I could have justified giving more money to the plaintiff. I believe the company he was suing is indeed taking advantage of its employees, only there was not enough evidence to confirm that. As it was, even I walked away from the trial having made more money from my three days of jury service than he was awarded in damages, and it really did make me feel sad. But that's justice, I guess. And I truly do hope I get to serve again someday. I don't understand why so many people try to get out of it...unless they are holograms. (That was for you, LL.)


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