Five-and-a-half hours later, all 150+ of us were still waiting. Ugh!
Finally, around 2:00 p.m. they rounded up 45 potential jurors, me among them. We were counted, re-counted, then marched into a courtroom to be “voir dire-d.” Okay, maybe it’s voir dit? But whatever. (It essentially means “they wanted to get the truth out of us.”) We were questioned by the judge and attorneys for 2-1/2 hours, and during that time I became aware of several distinct potential juror personalities.
THE DRAMA QUEEN (OR KING)
The life situations of these potential jurors are simply too traumatic, rendering them incapable of ever delivering a fair verdict.
“I take care of a police officer’s daughter at my daycare, and even though I only see the mother, if there were any police involved in this case, I can’t possibly be objective.”
“My cousin’s aunt’s friend’s sister was in an accident three weeks ago and I need to spend my days visiting her in the hospital.”
These people can summon tears--real tears--at any given moment. They can barely hold them back as they explain why they cannot possibly serve on a jury. A real estate agent sitting next to me dabbed at her eyes with a tissue while divulging the fact that she might have potential clients, whom she’d never met, coming in from Europe. And they might possibly want to buy a house, but now she’ll miss them because she’s here! *Sniff, sniff*. I noticed that the Weepers often went hand-in-hand with those exhibiting Drama Queen qualities.
To put it bluntly, these people are simply way more important than the rest of us ordinary citizens. Their jobs, income, families and lives would be way more affected by their absence during the day than the rest of ours would be.
“My daughter is signing her letter to play sports in college and I must be there. She won’t know what to do if I’m not.” (Now, that’s a scary thought. She’s planning to attend college yet can’t manage to sign her name without Daddy’s presence. Hmmm…)
THE WORLD TRAVELER
These folks have cruises, airline flights, and other trips planned and they’re leaving in a month, so they can’t possibly serve on a jury now (on a case that might last a week). When would they have time to pack?!
Not everybody tried to get out of jury duty though…
These people have watched every episode of the old T.V. show, Lie To Me and they’re anxious to put all those micro-expression and body language reading skills to work.
“Oh Judge, I am very good at studying people and reading their body language cues to see whether they’re telling the truth or not. When I watch this stuff on T.V., I can always tell who’s lying!”
When all was said and done, I officially became known as Juror #14. Next week I’ll share my three secrets of success every juror should know about.
Courtroom Humor Side Note: After hours of exhaustive questioning and playing musical juror chairs, the defense attorney consulted his notes, then asked a potential juror, “It says here you work in construction. So, what do you do?” The judge said, “He builds things.” Everyone cracked up, and I just KNEW he was holding back the line, “But that’s not important right now. And please don’t call me Shirley.” Bah, ha, ha!
Image by: Steakpinball