Jury Duty

Jul 27, 2010

I walked to the King Country courthouse — about forty minutes. I could have taken a Metro bus — and in fact there are numerous routes that go downtown from Lower Queen Anne — but there was no way of being sure the bus I wanted would show up when I needed it. Or, more likely, it might be more or less on time, but would fall behind schedule in the snarl of the morning traffic, causing me undue stress wondering if I was going to be late. Not something I need to be dealing with as I perform my civic duty.

Knowing the juror drill from three years before, I entered the courthouse, registered, and found a place to sit…and…wait. Once all the draftees were gathered, we were shown a short demo film of what an actual trial might be like. (Presumably this was for people who have never in their entire lives watched television.) As was the case when I saw this the first time around, the person playing the part of the judge was again a black woman, with the defendant white. And in a new twist, the elected jury foreperson was also black and female. All this to demonstrate what a glorious, color-and-gender-blind city we live in. Really gave me goose bumps.    

After the movie, we had a brief hello from a very personable, real judge thanking us for showing up, then some general information from one of the clerks. A new feature in these sessions was a plea for us jurors to donate our ten-dollar-a-day stipend to some kind of judicial child care center down in Renton(?) so victims of domestic violence have a place to park their kids while attending court. Well gee, if this center is such a wonderful idea, then find room for it in the county budget, or put a bond issue on the ballot. People summoned to jury duty are being asked to set aside their jobs and time. Shaking them down for the pittance they are given in return is chintzy.

After the talks, we all sat around for two hours, then were let go for the day. Apparently business was a bit slow. I lingered a bit in order to speak with one of the clerks about how to handle a jury summons if I were liv-ing overseas. This will be my slant on anything new I encounter over the new few months: How do I deal with this if I’m in Thailand? 

The next day I was released from my duties and began serious prepar-ations for the Big Move.

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