Monday, June 06, 2005

My two-and-a-half hours as a potential juror

Today I got to experience the joys of civil service! A month ago, I got a summons to appear in a jury panel, to which I thought, "Oh, now I die happy. That's the last thing on my life's to do list. Right after 'Put salt in the water softener.'"

But anyway, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. My dad was in a jury panel in Brampton, and it took them five days to decide that he would not be selected as a potential juror. I had only booked off today, so I was really hoping that the whole thing wouldn't stretch too long. In fact, we spent more time on breaks than actually in the courtroom.

Everything started at about 9:45, when we were told what would happen and how long the trial should go for. Then we were sent for a 45 minute break while the judge had to figure out how many juries they would actually need (they knew they needed at least three, but there were three other trials being worked on that might require juries).

After we got back from break, the jury was selected (six jurors plus two alternates), including two people who were challenged. We then went on a half-hour lunch break, while the judge tried to find out if a criminal case that just came up would need a jury. We got back from that break, only to find out that there wouldn't be more than one jury required, but two of the jurors had informed the judge that they would be unable to serve. So, now we had to find two more jurors:

First selection - Challenged
Second selection - Accepted
Third selection - Excused
Fourth selection - Excused
Fifth selection - Challenged
Sixth selection - Excused
Seventh selection - Excused
Eighth selection - Excused
Ninth selection - Accepted

When the final juror was finally accepted, the place erupted. I was just waiting for the standing ovation.

So that was my two-plus hours of jury service. I got my fair share of walking in during the breaks, and got to see an interesting cross-section of Orangeville - 100 (give or take) people, half men, half women, all but one white (the one non-white person was an Asian guy that I knew from Blockbuster who was challenged in the first selection), many wearing trucker caps.

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