Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I had jury duty for this month. I was one of those rare people who was looking forward to the day I would get to serve on a jury. There are probably many reasons for this linked to my personality, but the biggest reasons are probably because I have a writers mind, I have a journalist's curiosity, and because I love our jury system.

I didn't even know how our system worked here in Rutherford County. Now I do. First, I got a notice in the mail that I was chosen for jury duty. In the same envelope, was a paper I could have filled out to get excused. I didn't fill that out. There was also a form with a lot of pretty basic background questions, pretty surface questions about job background, wrecks, past involvement with the court system and that was pretty much it. There was instruction that we were supposed to fill out the form and bring it with us for the assigned date.

I had no idea how the rest would go and thought some readers might find the process interesting.

We were assigned a court room and time to arrive for our first day. Mine was Aug. 3.

There were a lot of people there. I would say at least 200. The courtroom was set up so awkwardly. The gallery was where the bulk of the people were sitting, but the screen for the orientation film was situated so that it would face that jury which was at a right angle to the gallery. Whoever thought this bit of brilliance up, wasn't firing on all cylinders.

We were told to be there at 10am and the judge walked in promptly at 10am. He introduced his staff, told us a little about the orientation film, and then we started watching the boring orientation film. I was shocked at the number of people who showed up late.

After the film, we single filed out of the room, handing in our questionnaire forms we filled out beforehand. Those who wanted to be excused told the clerks that bit of information. We were handed a card as we went by the clerks.

We were instructed to call the number on the card each evening after 4:30 to see if we were called for service the following day.

I called that first evening and was instructed to call again on Friday the 7th. I called Friday and was told to report for criminal court on Monday at 9 for a jury that was being seated for a case.

I would love to be able to fill in the rest of the blanks, but I can't because my health got in the way of me being able to serve.

So, I learProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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d that people are called up about every three years. You serve for a month and are expected to follow through to find out if you are going to be questioned for a jury. You can either be notified that you will be on civil or criminal jury duty or you can get a notice to serve on a grand jury.


I haven't been feeling great for the last several days. I feel like I am getting a cold. Summer colds are the worst.

Earlier in the year, right after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I developed an allergic reaction to something. We have tried to rid me of this since early May. It drives me crazy. I have had a couple of rounds of shots, the usual pregnizone, and taken about 5 boxes of benadryl.

About 3 weeks ago I had another round of the usual and thought I was rid of this forever. I'm not.

It reared its ugly head Sunday night and I knew there would be no way I could serve on the jury Monday because the medicine that gets it under control also puts me out like a light. This worried me sick! I hated feeling like something was getting in the way of serving, but it couldn't be helped. So, I talked with the clerk and was excused from service.

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