The Oddities of a Jury Duty Summons

I knew it would have to happen someday. While I hope I don’t get called to serve, it is my civic duty (and good story fodder).

I had first become qualified for jury duty over twenty five years ago. From those first moments of my eighteenth year on this planet, I was well aware that this call could come at any moment. Several days ago, it finally did.

Oh I’m sure I could get out of it. After all, it wouldn’t be too hard to find someone who’d vouch for my indispensable talents or financial burdens or physical ailments. I’ve already gotten tips from friends on just how to do that.

But my conscience won’t let me.

It tells me, “Dude, your basic purpose in life is to try and get people to read stuff on the web. That’s not exactly life or death stuff.”

While I hope I don’t get called to serve—in addition to being creative fodder—it is my civic duty. Our system may not be perfect, but shunning it won’t help. I can’t rightly complain about how things work if I don’t get wound into the gears.

With that thought in mind, I will serve as summonsed and write about it.

For my first post, here is a list of some things that struck me as a little odd about the whole summoning process.

  • The last question on the form asks, “Can you read and understand the English language?” Well, shouldn’t that be the first question?
  • My summons is for a Grand Jury which—unlike standard jury duty—if called, I have to serve 1 day a week for up to 11 weeks. How is this fair or even allowed? I mean, if this happens, I am then bound to basically not leave town for vacation until after the summer is over.
  • Then there’s the odd way in which they word the time commitment, “Term of service is 1 day @ 11 weeks.” It’s been a long time since the ‘@’ symbol was used to symbolize the word ‘around’. So I kept reading it as, 1 day ‘at’ 11 weeks … and I had no idea what that meant.
  • Not replying to the summons within 10 days could result in fines or even jail time. Well, my form was sent to the wrong address and then had to be rerouted to my new address. So how could they know what day I actually received and mailed back the form?
  • The self-forming ‘envelope’ is useless if the sticky strips don’t get sticky when moistened. Try as I might, no amount of spit would hold. I just hope my use of tape and glue won’t be held against me.
  • They offer Wi-Fi so I can bring a laptop. That’s not so much weird as it is kinda cool. I hope the battery I ordered for my laptop comes in time.

OK, that’s it for now. Wish me luck…

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One Response to “The Oddities of a Jury Duty Summons”

  1. cave
    02/09/11 at 6:32 pm #

    how did it go? sheesh grand jury? i cant walk very good and i’m agorophobic so i anticipate a nervous break down if i have to do one day of jury duty. the neuroma in my feet mite have me laying on the floor. and i’m gonna wear my velcro knee braces. should i take my NETBOOK to email for an ambulance?

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