Saturday, February 1, 2014

JURY DUTY



     For the past two weeks I've been involved in the process of jury duty. Since no cameras or cell phones are allowed in the courtroom, I have no pictures to accompany this post. One of my fellow jurors took  a picture from the top of the federal building in Juneau, but I can't make it work right now, because I'm on a computer in the hotel lobby.  Like many of my fellow citizens, I wasn't overly enamored with the idea of being picked for jury duty. Frankly, I didn't really expect it to happen. I was one of 100 people who were summoned to show up for jury selection. That means I had a one percent chance of being chosen. Imagine my surprise when I was. Go figure. It doesn't make much sense to me to be taken, given the expense of having to  house me in a hotel, give me per diem for food and provide an allowance for transportation. It becomes a pretty spendy ordeal. I can't say I'm enamored with the whole process of being away from home and eating frozen food or dining at the local restaurants. The way it works is that I have to foot the bill for everything and then I'll be reimbursed later- like two to three weeks after the trial. If I don't lose the receipts.  I'm making a whopping $40.00 a day as a juror plus the per diem. To make matters worse, I'm going to be taxed on any money I get. Hallelujah! It's no wonder people don't line up to do this. However, as it's pointed out, if you were charged with something, you would like to enjoy a trial with twelve of your peers who hopefully are unbiased. I'm not sure how the trial system works in the rest of the world, but I would feel safe in assuming that our system is probably one of the best in the world. While I can't comment on the case until it has been decided, I have to say, it's been an education. I've had the good fortune of serving with thirteen other folks who all seem to have a pretty good re pore. While it's true that there are only twelve people who make up the jury, there are two alternates. I guess that's in case someone is unable to complete their service for some reason. Once the closing arguments are finished and the jury retires to the room to discuss the case, two people will be randomly chosen to leave, so there's always a chance that I won't finish up my service. If that happens, I may be disappointed on the one hand, but I will be so glad to get back to my normal life. With the longer days and extra sunlight, I'm starting to get anxious to start work on the boat. I still need to finish up tax papers and I really miss Jan and the dog. Hotels and restaurant food are fine for awhile, but nothing beats your own bed and a home cooked meal. I'm not sure when I will be able to update this post again, but as soon as I can I will. In the interim, please stay out of trouble so that you won't be burdening you fellow citizens with jury duty. Thanks.

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