Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jury Duty

I got a juror summons...months ago. It kept referring to "only one day" and I really thought that was okay. It was my first week of official grandbabysitting for Kaylee, but Liz - the other grandma - took my Thursday, and I headed off to Superior Court of Maricopa County. Parking was easy, in a special juror parking garage. I grabbed my prepacked lunch, my laptop bag, my back pack full of stuff to do, since everyone told me you just sit there and never get called...and took the shuttle bus to court. The driver was such a nice man...a smile for each of us and a handshake...both to the courthouse, and even back at the end of the day. I went in, scanned my summons, and got my badge, settled down, watched the training DVD, and set out on my computer. Group after group was called back, but not me. I was getting hopeful I would get out early...and then, I saw my name! I became Juror 27 and headed to a courtroom. There, the 59 other prospective jurors were sworn in, and came in contact with an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair...who was accused of MURDERING HIS WIFE! Yeppers...My first trial, and it was for MURDER. There were lots of questions...and I only stood when they asked if we could serve three weeks of the trial, and I said I had to watch Kaylee for one week of those three. The judge asked why Kaylee wasn't in school...thought I said 9 years...not 9 weeks. He was skeptical. I even got a laugh...unintended...when each juror had to stand and tell their job, how long they had worked in it, etc....When I said, "Grandchild Caregiver...and 1 week"...everyone chuckled...not sure about the judge, though. We were questioned on gun knowledge...on abuse in our lives...and I heard some of the saddest stories...and I even cried a time or two...people face such challenges....After hours and hours...and a lunch break and afternoon break, I was not selected. I used to think that jurors picked for a trial were real nit wits...but the people selected were really awesome people...very intelligent...wide range of ages...but very competant. I have never heard the results...since there is another very public murder trial going on that gets all the attention...but it was interesting.

Another thing that happened. Since I knew I wouldn't need my stuff, I walked down the mile to the parking garage, through downtown Phoenix, to put it in the car. I was determined that each person I met on the street, I would look in the eye and smile at. There were many homeless people along the way, and I had no money with me, but they seemed genuinely happy that I at least looked them in the eye and smiled...well, at least most of them. There was this one guy...carried a gift bag with him...and I swear I was worried that he was thinking, "The next person that smiles at me, I am going to stab." The smile for him was really quick!

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