Well.. the day has arrived. Jury Duty. Grand Jury Duty to be exact.
I started the morning off checking in with my sub and making sure that everything was ready for the day. With my last sub's experience.. I was nervous. I knew it would be an ok day, but I still had a bit of nervousness. I made sure she was planned until after lunch, and then I thought I would be back. I also made sure that she let them know that the new Pete the Cat would be shared if they were making the best choices they could.
Off I went. To the courthouse. It is such a strange experience. I have never been in trouble with the law or do I ever foresee that happening. How do people who are in trouble, deal with this all the time. It is eye-opening. I headed upstairs to the waiting room area and it filled in pretty quickly. There were 44 people in the room. Keep in mind, I have NO idea how or what we would be doing. Would I get chosen? My chances of getting chosen were about 50/50. I chose to be on the May-June Jury list. Well... I was chosen. Next thing I know, I am off to the courtroom. I was in the first 14, so I was automatically on the grand jury. As the day went on, it became clearer that there was no 'getting out of it'. I am glad I was chosen, now, looking back. I will get into that more later.
After we were sworn in and given our directions, we were sent upstairs to the Grand Jury Room. I was still very unaware of what our job was exactly. Now I know: To hear the testimonies/witnesses of the prosecution and we vote to decide if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial(indictment). Interesting! I won't be in the courtroom at all! Anyway, the prosecutor was getting us comfortable, and gave us a brief outline of our day, "brief training, lunch, then cases to be heard". At that moment, I panicked! My sub was only prepped for 1/2 of the day. EEEK! I called her immediately and let her know I would be there all day. So, on my lunch, I rushed to the school, explained the plans, and read PETE THE CAT! (maybe it was selfish of me, but I wanted to share it with them). Grabbed a quick lunch, then headed back to the courthouse. Crisis averted.
There are 14 people chosen for the grand jury. I am number 11. Jurors 1-9 are voting members. Jurors 10-14 are alternates in case one juror is unable to cast a vote. I still have to be there to hear all of the case and I leave when they vote. The alternates do not find out which cases are indicted until Friday, when we can read it in the newspaper.
Before we could vote, we had a brief training. The Delaware County Drug Task Force came to acquaint us with the drugs that are in the county. Talk about an eye opener! Yikes! I was astonished at the technicalities of drugs and pretty bothered by how prevalent it is in the county. Then we met with a S.A.N.E nurse (for sexual assault victims). I just happen to know her! Lastly, we met with victim advocates who are there for those who are mainly in domestic violence cases. I felt a bit more prepared and knowledgable.
All in all, I love jury duty. I miss being with my kiddos, but it is a really interesting to be part of. I have learned so many things, met some cool people, and am doing my civic duty. I have jury duty every week, every Wednesday for two months. I was initially dreading it, but now I look forward to it almost.
If you get called, I urge you to take advantage of it and learn from the experience.
*I am sworn to secrecy, so no juicy details to share, SORRY*