So I sat in a courtroom today for eight hours, only to be dismissed before I was even interviewed.
Some notes on my experience:
*Don't try to take knitting needles through the metal detector. It won't work. Apparently you just never know when some crazy knitting lady will go all psycho in the Jury Commissioner's office and stab everyone with 6 inch dpn's. (Note: Arguing with the security officer on this matter will not help your cause.)
*The benches in the court room aren't comfortable. If you sit on one of them for eight hours, your butt will fall asleep.
*Don't have jury duty on a day when a pipe breaks in the judicial building. They'll close the bathrooms and not think twice about only giving you one break at lunch time in which to relieve yourself of the four cups of coffee you drank before you got there.
*You can't smoke in restaurants, bars, or city parks, but you can smoke inside the court house, of all places. (No, I'm no longer a smoker. But I found this little tidbit fascinating.)
*If you really don't want to serve on the jury, tell the DA you absolutely think convicted felons ought to be allowed to own guns. They'll dismiss you promptly. (This isn't my trick. But it worked for the guy who tried it.)
*Court rooms are open to the public. If you have kids who are older than mine (and who are capable of sitting still) it would make a very cool homeschool field trip.
*It became clear to me why they call them "public pretenders". That poor girl might have just graduated law school yesterday, I couldn't be sure. I was kind of embarrassed for her. And sort of pitied the defendant, who clearly didn't have a chance as long as she was speaking on his behalf. Definitely don't get accused of a crime if you can't afford better representation than that.
All in all? A court room isn't the kind of place I'd like to spend any more time than necessary, no matter which seat I was sitting in. But at least I can say it was an interesting experience. Happily, I was able to retrieve my children from my mother at the end of the day and prove to my oldest that Mommy was not going to court because she was going to jail. I think she was actually a little bit worried about that. I think it's time for our first civics lesson.