What better way to head into the weekend before Independence Day than to be tapped for a jury pool.



When I got the notice I was like, shoot, that’s a Friday and I’m usually pretty busy putting together a newspaper and writing this column, etc. My intern had a dentist the appointment the day before for a pretty serious procedure and I wasn’t sure if she would make it in Friday to help. I thought about contacting the court asking to be excused and then I changed my mind. I was going to do it. It is my civic duty and everything will work out. The paper will go out on time — it always does.







I arrive at the courthouse 15 minutes before the scheduled time and learn I have to fill out a questionnaire. I vaguely remember receiving one in mail, filling it out and then promptly losing it in the myriad of paperwork that has overtaken my kitchen since my mother-in-law’s passing.



We were called to enter the courtroom and I noticed the first eight were seated in the jury box and the rest of us were in the gallery.



The process was explained and the judge went through a list of questions and we raised our hands when appropriate and then the attorneys got their go at everyone. Each side got to strike the jurors they wanted and we replaced them as they left. I was fourth up and I took my seat.



The defendant’s lawyer asked about my job and if I covered court news, etc. He then asked me if he thought the other jurors would be swayed by my opinion because of my position at the newspaper. What?!? How would I know that? What I do know for sure, is that no one really listens to me! Not my husband, not my child, not my dog! No one!



Then I got the axe.



I know I shouldn’t take it personally but as I left the jury box, I was thinking why me? What’s wrong with me? I can be impartial. I’m a good listener. I know how to follow directions. Nonetheless, I was out.



On Thursday I had my fingers and toes crossed that when I called the service after 6 p.m. that I would be told the case was settled and I wasn’t needed. Now I was being dismissed and I didn’t like it. Not. One. Bit.



As I texted my co-workers and told them they would see me quite a bit sooner than expected, I thought about the whole situation. Perhaps the defendant didn’t like me because I worked at a newspaper and saw all kinds of awful things we do to each other, etc., and I would be biased to the law because I put a lot of court and police news in and I would not hear the case with an open mind. Maybe I wore the wrong shirt.



What they might not understand is that I know the system isn’t perfect. Mistakes are made. I can listen to statements and make rational judgments. I don’t think that just because someone is in a courtroom on the defense’s side that they are guilty or wrong.



I’ll probably never know how the case ended and that’s fine with me. The day and my life will go on and now I am the bottom of the list when jury pools will be formed. Perhaps in another 10-20 years I’ll get my chance to sit in that jury box again and do my civic duty.



Fingers and toes crossed!