Jury Duty

This week, a friend Tweeted, “Little known fact: I have never had jury duty.”

When I replied to her, I realized we’ve never blogged this story.

When I turned 18 in the fall of my Senior year, the first thing I did was register to vote. I wanted to hedge all bets that I’d get selected for Jury Duty and would get to spend a day away from high school doing something far more interesting. It would have been one of the only valid reasons–in the eyes of my teacher-parents–to miss school. I never got called.

I lived in Miami for 5 years, volunteered with some non-profits where there were a few political overlaps, and was never called. I probably didn’t “serve time” in Orlando long enough–a year and a half. When I made the move back to Texas, I updated everything immediately: car registration & plates, insurance, drivers license, voter registration, etc. I still wanted to be called. I worked that horrible job with that insane man [1] for an entire year; I could have used a legally-mandated break from his choo-choo train through crazy town. I got one postcard and didn’t have to report. #boggle!

Now, when I moved in with E, things began to change. Perhaps Brazos County filters out some apartments and other addresses known to rent to students? That would make sense since they are ~all exempt anyway….but I didn’t think they could do that.

In ~2003, E got called and selected for Grand Jury. Brazos County only has two grand juries. The other GJ was hearing evidence on the Parson’s Mounted Cavalry hazing case from Texas A&M. E’s GJ was given Every. Other. Case. in Brazos County. They set a bunch of records for things like the most indictments in one day. (94, if I remember correctly). It was a busy and crazy time for the little county’s legal system.

A few weeks later, I got a postcard. I called and voilĂ  had to appear for selections. I appreciated the break from our nice-at-first-but-found-her-own-train-to-crazy-town boss [2], took the baby-blanket-of-the-moment that I was working hard to finish by the shower date, and waited patiently for them to ask the “is there any other [weird] reason why…” question. I knew I was not qualified to be on the jury, but this was a child-abuse case and they were being very methodical with selections. I had fantasized that they’d work us through lunch and let us out at ~1:30, making it a bit unreasonable for me to get lunch, drive to campus, park, walk, get to work, and leave at my usual time of 4:30. Hey, I said it was a fantasy! I gave up on having a couple of hours of free time at home between selections and the start of our evening.

Finally, at about 5pm they asked, “Is there any other reason not covered today why any one else should be excused?”

I had been waiting for hours and my line was well-rehearsed: “L Luza, #368. Though he upheld his oath and never revealed any case details to me, it’s not possible that my husband did NOT indict this case.” [3]

The previously-nodding-off attorneys (for both sides; it had been a long day) suddenly perked up. “What number were you again?”

So, I got the day off from work, but didn’t get picked, didn’t get to see the legal process like I had hoped, and didn’t even get an hour or two of free time like most jury candidates get.

I’m so over it, now. Now, it would be a burden and a hassle. Knock-on-wood that our apartment address [4] will continue to keep me off the radar. What are the odds I’d get this far in life (one could argue 70%) and not be on a jury? Again, I’m no longer complaining.

[1] No, I have no idea why I’m feeling nice enough to leave both expletives and his name out of this story. He should count his lucky stars.

[2] She had a rough year with several major life-changing events….and never “came back” to sanity. Too bad, too. She really was nice before life threw her more balls than she could juggle. Passive-aggressive was not a good look for her.

[3] Yes, I know, double negatives are terrible…but this was the only way I could come up with to really drive home the point.

[4] Coupled with other stuff like: E recently worked for Travis County; I used to work for a Police Academy; we are not registered to vote (a blog post for another day); etc.

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