(I showed up for jury duty today!)
The judge came and spoke to the prospective jurors this morning, to talk about the case and the process for picking the jury. Part of her spiel covered how one could get out of jury duty by making a case for hardship (e.g. you are the sole provider for your family. and your employer won't cover your salary during jury duty, and you are caring for your infirm mother, and blood is currently gushing out of your carotid artery onto your jury summons, and you're allergic to law). The judge explained that there was a form to fill out for hardship cases. Then she said:
Ok, so I've explained the next steps and how to apply for a hardship exemption. At this point I'll answer any questions you may have about the jury selection process. I will NOT, however, respond to any questions about the hardship process. Just fill out the form if you believe you qualify for the exemption. For some reason, even after I give this speech and tell people not to ask hardship questions, I still always get questions like, "Does THIS count as a hardship?". DON'T ASK ME THOSE QUESTIONS. I repeat, do not ask any questions about the hardship exemption. Just fill out the form. Alright, any questions?
Dumbass 1: I've got to be out of town on Fri...
Judge: That's a hardship question. Just fill out the form.
Dumbass 2: My child's day care closes at 3:00pm...
Judge: STOP! You're asking me about your hardship circumstances. Don't.
Dumbass 3: What if I have a boat that is difficult?....
This went on for about 10 minutes. It was really remarkable that the judge could give that speech and then still get inundated with questions about what constitutes a hardship. It's even more amazing that this apparently happens every time.
For the most part I'm surrounded by smart people. My family is smart, my friends are smart, and my coworkers are smart. So, going to jury duty is one of those rare times when I interact with Joe Q. Dumbass. At least I hope he's Joe Q. Dumbass and not Joe Q. Average. Same deal with going to the DMV or traffic school.
Turns out that this trial will take about six weeks. My boss and I are hoping that I don't get selected. Six weeks is too damn long to listen to lawyers. I think I'm safe though. I can't imagine that either side is going to want an opinionated and surly bastard on the jury. My unpleasant demeanor really works in my favor at times like this.